Battle of Kasserine Pass Group Build: 1/48 Spitfire Mk.Vb Trop
My additional entry for the Group Build is a MK.Vb Trop Spitfire belonging to the RAF 601 Squadron. The 601 was an Auxiliary Squadron that dates back to the late 1920’s. They represented the County of London, and were well know as the “Millionaires Squadron.” They earned that nickname because their ranks were filled with aristocrats, sportsman, adventurer’s and the elites of British society. They also were well know for their lack of military protocol and often wore red jackets or red scarves. Activated in 1939 they would see some action in France but are best know for their defensive operations during the Battle of Britain. Their most famous member was an American, William “Billy” Fiske III, who was the first American to joined the RAF.
Fiske was a well educated American and had lived and studied in England as well as France. He also was a twice Gold Metal Winner in the Bobsleigh competition in 1928 and 1932. His first gold medal he earned was when he was at the ripe old age of 16. Later he would die from wounds received defending the Tangmere Airfield. Having received damaged from a German gunner he crashed landed his Hurricane fighter on the base in order to save the aircraft. The Squadron would lose 11 of it’s 22 original members during the BoB and were replenished with more members of ,shall I say, from the ranks of the comman man.
The Squadron was refitted with MK.Vb Spitfires in March 1942 and were deployed to Egypt in June of that year. While there the Squadron would take part in the Battle of El Alamein. Their new Spits were also equipped with the new Vokes air filter for the carbureto. It was added to help over come the abrasive affects the sand had on moving parts. However, the new filter, because of it’s mass, reduced the aircraft’s air speed. Field modifications by maintenance personnel reduced that mass to overcome that short coming. Additionally, many of the Spits also used the clipped wing version to help with low altitude maneuverability. Low altitude operations were quite common in North Africa,
My model represents the Spitfire flown by Flying Officer R. B. “Bruce” Ingram as shown standing by his plane at El Nigra, Libya in December, 1942. The unit would be later transferred to Malta to help in it’s defense. Officer Ingram is listed as having died in August, 1944, the cause of death I couldn’t determine from my research.
This is the Tamiya 1/48 scale kit that I used and is part of their series of Spitfires they have produced. As usual the fit and detail were excellent. I did add a Ultracast replacement seat as I really do not like to work with PE belts or hardness. No putty was needed, the kit decals were used and I did get some silvering on the left side letters but I’m working on eliminating that hiccup. The middlestone, azure blue, and dark brown paints were all Model Master enamels shot with an airbrush. As usual the antenna is nylon thread. Fun and quick little build.
12 additional images. Click to enlarge.