I think as modellers we all have an affection for certain kits from our past or ones that just give us a feeling of comfort an familiarity.
For me, this is true with the 1/48 Hasegawa range of Spitfire’s. I just love them!
A couple of months ago, I came across this Hasegawa Spitfire in my stash just begging to be built! This Spitfire Mk.Vb “Malta island” boxing has all you need to build a Mk.V in a striking Malta paint scheme.
Upon opening the box, I was instantly re-acquainted with a much loved model kit that I had built many times before. Hasegawa’s tooling is as sharp today as when this kit was first released. With simple, elegant engineering Hasegawa’s Spitfire kits are nicely detailed and fit together well. With the inclusion of two decal options to depict RAF Spitfires of No.249 Sqn based on Malta in 1942, this really is a great value model that anyone can build out of the box and have an interesting subject to admire when completed.
Of course, I rarely build out of the box so I did make a few modifications to the kit.
My first task was to cut away the cockpit door so that it can be posed open. When I cut the door away I replaced it with a door from an Eduard kit to which I added more detail.
Next, I began work on the cockpit. The Hasegawa kit detail is ok but can certainly be enhanced. First I drilled out the lightening holes on the cockpit frame and attached the assembly to the cockpit floor.
I purchased an Eduard PE detail for this kit which is a great quick and easy way to add detail and interest to the aircraft interior. By sanding off all the the instrument panel detail I was able to replace it with Eduard’s pre/painted piece.
The rest of the cockpit was detailed and completed in short order and I quickly had an assembled airframe ready for paint.
At this point I decided to pose the tail wing elevators in the dropped position. This was easy to do, just cutting along the hinge line with a scribing tool gave me a nice clean separation and the elevators were attached in the lowered position.
Here is the Spitfire in its raw state before it’s primer coat. I primed the model in NATO Black then added a mottle coat before applying the camouflage colours. You can see the painting process in the next group of pictures.
For this paint scheme, I choose to use Mr.Hobby acrylics for the RAF Dark Earth and Middle Stone. For the Azure Blue, I mixed my own shade from Tamiya acrylics. There is often debate over what RAF Azure Blue should look like, I try to find a shade that matches my colour references and mix it by eye. I was adequately happy with the results.
After a coat of the usual clear gloss and been applied, I used the kits decals for the Spitfire’s markings. I should point out that many Malta Spitfire aficionados will tell us that 249 Sqn Spitfire Mk.V’s were overpainted in Blue once in theatre, but they were delivered to Malta in the RAF tropical scheme.
The Hasegawa decals performed flawlessly and easily settled into the recessed surfaces with the help of Micro Set and Micro Sol.
As this particular Spitfire was flying out of Malta in 1942, we know that it was flying on multiple sorties each day so west and tear on the aircraft would be evident. These are the sort of subjects I relish as I can fun with the weathering process.
I started with the painted landing gear and added a hydraulic line to each leg, then I added a dark wash to accentuate the detail.
Weathering the airframe was quite straightforward, I added a dark brown enamel wash to all of the recessed details on the airframe then I picked out scuffs and scratches to the paint with a fine tip brush and metallic aluminium paint.
I also added some heat exhaust effects to the engine exhaust stacks by applying weathering powder to them. Shades of burnt red and blue over bronze we’re finished off with off white to simulate flecks of ash. I finished the effect by airbrushing the exhaust staining on the fuselage by applying a thin mix of deck tan paint to the model. As this Spitfire was operated in sandy environment, I airbrushed a thin mix of buff around the underside of the aircraft to replicate dust.
To seal everything in I coated the completed model in clear satin, which gives a nice finish and blends everything in. I find VVS Satin clear coat is exceptionally good for this.
As with most of my work, I wanted to display the model in context so I created a blast pen for the Spitfire using reference photos from the period.
Here is a selection of images I found while researching the project. All of these photos were taken at airfields used by the RAF in Malta during 1942.
I made a simple display plinth from styrofoam. I also carved out a blast pen wall from styrofoam and I added various airfield accessories to set the scene. Just for fun, I added a resin RAF pilot and his dog. That’s when the title of this piece hit me…..
MAD DOGS AND ENGLISHMEN!
I hope you have enjoyed my little jaunt down scale modelling memory lane! This Hasegawa Spitfire really was such a pleasure to build!
Thanks for stopping by, take care and until next time, Happy Modelling!
3 thoughts on “Mad dogs and Englishmen”
Awesome work, she looks great. I always think the mkV looks a bit odd with the tropical filter stuck under its nose, not as sleek as a spit should look.
The display setting is great, superb work and detail.
That last photo looks like BBMF’s hangar, my last posting in the RAF, and I’d say that was MK 356, the mk IX, you’re stood next to?
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Thanks! I actually like the tropical filter on the Mk.Vs, it makes the Spitfire look mean and pugnacious!
Yes that is me with MK 356 in the BBMF hanger, an incredible day I will never forget.
Thanks for doing your bit to keep our RAF heritage flying.🙏🏻
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