After enjoying my last Spitfire so much I felt compelled to build another! This project came about whilst researching another Spitfire project. Upon reading about the siege of Malta during 1942-1943, a subject becoming ever closer to my heart, I found an interesting photograph:
This is Sqn. Ldr. John Lynch, an American serving in 249 Sqn RAF in Malta. In April 1943, he shot down Malta’s 100th Axis aircraft and was filmed in his Spitfire, a Mk.Vb on the day….
As well as the significance of this particular Spitfire I also became interested in the unusual specification of this airframe. First of all, this was a standard Mk.Vb, it was operating in a tropical environment without any tropical filter being fitted and it also had clipped wings. To add to it’s individuality, it was overpainted in Grey/Blue paint with Sky Blue/Azure Blue squadron codes and also had red wing tips and a red spinner.
What a combination! My enthusiasm growing ever stronger, I set about finding a kit to start this project! I didn’t have to look far as the Scale Model Hangar’s inventory yielded an ideal model in the form of the Hobbyboss 1/32 Spitfire Mk.Vb:
Although it is not the most popular choice in 1/32 Scale, this kit even with it’s questionable and well noted canopy faults has tons of detail in the box and fits together like a dream! Just a few modifications could transform this model into something quite special. That’s what I thought to myself, so I am going to share how I am going to achieve that aim here. With this build I will re-create this famous moment in history when Sqn. Ldr. Lynch had Malta’s 1000th victory chalked onto EP829….
So the plan is to build EP829 with Sqn. Ldr. Lynch sat in his Spitfire while an RAF airman chalks the victory markings on the port side of the aircraft. Finding figures for this would prove difficult, but not impossible!
I began with a 1/32 RAF pilot in tropical uniform from PJ Productions. By replacing the head and adding some extra hair to make it look more like Lynch I was able to come up with a reasonable facsimile of the man in the photograph:
To recreate the airman in the photograph was slightly more difficult! However after a trawl through various boxes of figures I found this figure from Dragon’s 1/35 Afrika Korps set. By slightly modifying his pose and uniform I was able to bring our RAF Airman to life.
Now I had made a start with the figure’s it was time to deal with the star of the show-our Spitfire!
After some very deep research accompanied by cold beers on a warm summer night, I began to list the modifications required…….
So here is a list of the add-ons and modifications that I will carry out on this build:
- I will add a replacement canopy from a 1/32 Tamiya Spitfire
- I will add resin replacements for the the Horizontal stabilator, Props, Spinner and wheels……
3. I will modify the kits seat as it is too low and the kits cannon barrels as they are too small.
4. I have also purchased the Top Colours booklet & decals set for references and markings:
5. I have also purchased a YUHU instrument panel for this Hobbyboss kit and I was very happy with the fit and quality of the product.
Construction moved on at a pace and before I knew it I had started construction on the cockpit:
Next up was the construction of the wing. It is good time to point out that this Hobbyboss kit allows the modeller to show the installed Guns, Cannon and ammunition inside the wing as open panels or behind the transparent panels provided in the kit.
Hobbyboss also provide the modeller with a Merlin engine and a fuel tank. It was halfway through assembling all these parts that it occurred to me that one could make a superb maintenance diorama from this kit and all that extra detail it has in the box. Mmmm…………..? I think I’m onto something here!
Never mind that now! Here is the progress on the wing:
Here you can see the machine guns and cannons installed in both wings. Another nice touch is that one can pose the landing gear indicator flaps open or closed. I have chosen to close up the panels and I will paint over the transparent parts. I fitted them as they line up perfectly inside the wing (another great example of how good the fit is!) and one can see the gun barrels inside the leading edge of the wing.
I had to modify the cannon barrels as they were too small so I added some new ones from drilled out stock plastic.
Here you can see the clipped wing edge that I have borrowed from the Hobbyboss Tropical Spitfire Mk.Vb kit. A hollowed out clear light cover is also included. I wish more kit manufacturers would add small details like that. Nice work Hobbyboss!
Although they will not be on display in this build, here is a look at the constructed kit Merlin engine and fuel tank. Whilst not the best reproduction, (al la Tamyia) with just a few tweaks it could look the part.
Thats all for now. I will be back soon with more progress on this build. Until then, take care and Happy Modelling!