Profile Photo
Tom Cleaver
878 articles

Hasegawa 1/32 Spitfire Vb, S/Ldr Jan Zumbach of 303 Squadron

August 10, 2013 · in Aviation · · 20 · 2K

The Vb dates to the mid-1970s. Despite having raised panel detail, with rescribing it makes up into a nice model, though I recommend picking up both the resin cockpit and the Rotol prop from Greymatter figures, both of which can help turn the kit into a show-stopper, neither of which I used here but I did later get the Rotol prop. Techmod decals were used to do the Spitfire Vb flown by Squadron Leader Jan Zumbach of 303 (Polish) Squadron in 1942 (actually one of several he flew, each with a slightly-different Donald Duck personal marking).

With a total of 250 victories scored between 7 September 1940 and 31 October 1944, 303 was the most successful of the Polish fighter squadrons in the RAF. Zumbach flew with 303 from its days in Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain, and became Squadron Leader in April 1942, ending his tour that December 1. He scored a total of 12.5 victories during the war. Returning to Poland in 1945, he ran afoul of the Communists placed in power by Stalin (as did most of the Poles who served in the West during the war), and escaped in 1947. In 1961, he formed the air force for the short-lived breakaway Republic of Katanga in the former Belgian Congo, which he led with other Polish mercenaries until 1965. He died in 1986 and is buried in Warsaw.

Reader reactions:
9  Awesome

16 additional images. Click to enlarge.

20 responses

  1. Tom...Well done as usual.

  2. As a Spitfire fanatic, I gotta say job well done on this one Tom. However, unless you are privy to information the rest of us are not, Greymatter Figures does not make a cockpit for this kit (maybe MDC). They do make a composite seat though, which I highly recommend as the kit seat is way over scale..

    • Nice camo scheme. A shame we can't see a clear image of the cockpit on this one...I believe you are correct, Seamus.

    • You're right, Seamus. I did install a Greymatter seat in this and it improves the cockpit sufficiently one could get away with just that. I think the resin cockpit I was thinking of is the one Pacific Coast Models put in their Spitfire IX, which is based on this kit so it would fit it - too bad they don't release it as a separate item.

  3. Nice Spit Tom! That's still a solid kit.

  4. Tom,
    Great model and I enjoyed the pilot side of story. Question. Overall OOB what in your opinion is the best MK VB on the market?

    • None of them are wonderful. The 1/32 kit is actually more than a bit short aft of the trailing edge of the wing. The 1/48 Hasegawa kit is "undernourished" in the fuselage, while the Tamiya kit "packs on the pounds" there. They all look like Spitfire Vbs, but we still don't have the "definitive" kit of the most-produced Spitfire. Perhaps Eduard will make that right, there is rumor they are doing a Vc.

      On general availability and buildability, the Tamiya kit is the winner right now. Hard to believe the Hasegawa and Tamiya 1/48 kits first came out 20 years ago.

    • As Tom already stated, none of the available Spitfires are perfect. If you are a "Rivet Counter", then I suggest finding another aircraft to model. However, if you are the kind of modeler who does not care if something is off by a couple of millimeters, then I suggest either the Hasegawa/Tamiya Mk.V in 1/48 or the Hasegawa/HobbyBoss in 1/32.

      • The Hobby Boss Spitfire Vb is totally awful; I can't even stand to look at one built-up, even with a great paint job, they hit me so bad. The whole model is so absolutely WRONG. The fuselage cross-section is even more botched than their Hellcats (this is because they're scaled-down Trumpeter kits and the1/24 Trumpeter V has all these faults). That "fat fuselage" just looks terrible. The wing planform is wrong too. I can live with a kit if it "looks" like the real thing if not examined too closely, but if you know the slightest bit of anything about the Spitfire the shape problems of the HB kit just pound you. Or at least they do me.

        • Dunno what to tell you , Tom. I have seen several of the HobbyBoss Spitfires built up and they don't look too bad, at least to me they don't. One thing that strikes me about the HobbyBoss Spitfire is the windscreen. While I cannot exactly put my finger on it, something about that windscreen and the way it sits just does not look right to me. I guess it just comes down to personal taste.

  5. Another great build and better story. What's next?

  6. TC, this is a loaded question,Inquiring minds want to know if you painted the seat in Bakelite Brown or a brown red color? Apparently, the plastic was a cloth or woven material impregnated with plastic. The seats were plastic and not Bakelite... SRBP to be precise. Synthetic Resin Bonded Paper. According to Edgar Brooks the seats were introduced in 14-05-40. I've seen modelers represent the seats as a single plastic seat and I've come across modelers who've represented the seat a composite of metal and plastic. The metal mounting surface being painting interior RAF Grn or what have you. I can't help but think that some later models may have also gotten some metal seats taken from earlier Marks to get the a/c into the air. So your mileage may vary due to the fog of war.

    • Having seen the two Spitfire seats we had out at Planes of Fame before Tom Friedkin took his Spitfire IX and XIV back to Texas, I paint my Spitfire seats a Tamiya gloss Brown with a dash of Tamiya Hull Red thrown in. From a distance, the real thing almost looks like it's made of mahogany.

  7. that's a beauty...very well done

  8. Spectacular Spit Tom. I don't often comment on 1/32, but this one just looks 'right' to me. Marvelous execution on the camp. Cheers!

  9. Ahem... that would be camO... not the stupid key next to the O! 😉

  10. Another great model, as always, Tom. The comments about accuracy are interesting to me. Having been involved in model railways in the UK for the last thirty odd years, the hobby is full of rivet counters and armchair modellers. Every new release is very carefully checked for accuracy, and woe betide any manufacturer who dares to make a mistake! This market seems quite different, with relatively few such reviews. Are all the aircraft kits absolutely accurate? I think one of the dangers with looking at models for most of the time is that we tend to forget what the real thing looks like.

Leave a Reply