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Louis Gardner
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100 Years of the RAF, 541 Squadron late 1944, Spitfire PR MK XIX, 1/48 Airfix

December 15, 2018 · in Aviation · · 15 · 2.8K
This article is part of a series:
  1. 100 Years of the RAF, No. 19 Squadron circa August 1938, Duxford, UK 1/48 Airfix Spitfire Mk I “early”
  2. 100 Years of the RAF, 541 Squadron late 1944, Spitfire PR MK XIX, 1/48 Airfix
  3. 100 Years of the RAF, No. 601 Squadron, Egypt November 1942, 1/48 scale Tamiya 61035 Spitfire Mk Vb
  4. 100 Years of the RAF, No. 222 Squadron RAF Hornchurch, September 1940, Spitfire Mk Ia, “ZD-R” Tamiya 1/48
  5. Spitfire Mk Vb Tropical, EP-706 “T*L” No. 249 Squadron as flown by George Beurling at Malta
  6. 100 Years of the RAF… Alan Deere’s Spitfire Mk I “Kiwi”, No. 54 Squadron Tamiya 1/48
  7. 100 Years of the RAF, Spitfire Mk Vb, 81 Squadron RAF Hornchurch, June 1942 “FL*A” / BM-461 Tamiya 1/48

Here's tonight's entry for the 1940's decade of the . Hopefully tomorrow I can post up a few more from this era.

This model is the fantastic new tool kit. It was released back in 2015 if memory serves me. I saw it in the LHS back then and promptly had it tucked under my arm and headed to the cashier to pay for it.

Every since then, I have been wanting to build it. One thing or another happened and several years had flown by before I knew what happened. Then Paul Barber came to the rescue with his brilliant idea for a celebrating the 100 Years of service provided by the RAF !

And just like that I had this one on the work bench... along with 8 other builds, that finally morphed into 12.

I had been doing some research on this type earlier, and I didn't want to use the kit decals. I wanted to build a Spitfire in an overall PRU Blue finish with RAF markings. The kit didn't have that.

So I looked for some aftermarket decals, and found a set that was produced by Xtradecal from Hannants. The part number for this is X48118 in case you're interested.

It has numerous options including a set of Turkish markings should you decide to go that route. I finally chose to build mine up as a machine from 541 Squadron, since it has a partial set of D Day Invasion stripes on it.

This added some color and gave a little more character to the overall PRU Blue finish. I'm glad that you guys helped talk me into this one... Thanks !

This one was built right from the box other than the decals. I did make a few minor improvements along the way. I drilled out the exhaust...

The kit has the option to open the camera doors. Originally I wasn't going to do this, as I thought it would take away from the beautiful lines of the Griffon powered Spit.

But a few talked me into it. Now I'm glad that I took the plunge. The camera bays are well detailed right out of the box. With some careful painting to represent the wooden mounting for the cameras, it looks very presentable. It would be a shame to keep all of this detail hidden.

The cockpit is fantastic too. The only option I would add is an aftermarket seat belt harness.

This version of the Spitfire was Griffon powered. This bigger engine needed a larger prop to harness the increase in power. Since this couldn't be easily done, they found another solution and installed a 5 blade propeller.

This bigger engine needed bigger radiators to keep it cool. The smaller radiation that was used on the Merlin powered planes was not big enough to keep this big Griffon cool. So they added another radiator in place of the oil cooler that was under the wing, and made these two radiators much larger than the originals.

Airfix did a nice job depicting these larger radiators. The carburetor air intake scoop looks good to me too. Notice how much bigger the scoop is when compared to an earlier Merlin powered plane.

This particular version did not have the scoop that was mounted on the Port side of the engine panel. The scoop pressurized the cockpit. The scoop is molded into the plastic, so I had to remove it carefully using a razor.

541 Squadron was formed on October 19th, 1942. They were stationed at RAF Benson.

They operated various types of Spitfires and flew primarily photo reconnaissance missions.

541 Squadron remained at Benson throughout the War. In July of 1944, they traded in their Spitfires and started flying Mustangs.

Once the hostilities ended, they started flying Lancaster's ! These were used for mapping of Europe.

They were reformed on 01 November 1947, again flying Spitfires. They kept flying the type until they converted over to Meteors and operated from RAF Bückeburg, RAF Laarbruch, and RAF Gutersloh.

This particular type of Spitfire remained in front line service with the RAF until April 1954 when the type was finally withdrawn. It was the last type of Spitfire to see service with the RAF.

The last operational sortie by a Mk 19 was in 1963 when one was used in battle trials against an English Electric Lightning to determine how best a Lightning should engage piston-engined aircraft. This information was needed in case RAF Lightnings might have to engage P-51 Mustangs in the Indonesian conflict of the time.

The Spitfire is a beautiful plane and the Griffon versions are very sleek and elegant in my opinion. Airfix hit a home run with this one ! The only thing I didn't like was the way the landing gear connects to the retraction mechanism, and the strange way they depicted the "open" canopy. I opted to use the "closed" canopy and simply installed it in the "open" position.

Other than that, it was a fun build...

If your interested in looking at the madness that went into building this one, here's the link:

Thanks for following along, and I have to give a shout out to Paul Barber for hosting this wonderful idea of a Group Build on the RAF. Thanks also go out to Martin and his staff here at Imodeler.

As usual,
"Comments are encouraged"

Reader reactions:
6  Awesome

15 responses

  1. Nicely done Louis, looks good in blue with the stripes, cameras and five blade prop' !

  2. Beautifully done, I love that colour scheme!

  3. 🙂 … Greetings … 🙂 :
    Nice work Louis, looks very clean and sharp. one can see the graceful lines of the Spitfire, yet in this type it has a somewhat different appeal to it. Very nice job.

  4. You can't go wrong with ANY Spitfire, right!?!

    Lovely Mk. XIX, Louis! LOVE the PRU Blue!

  5. Excellent work and a superb WiP and series. Also demonstrates how good photographs can really compliment a terrific model. Gosh, I think that’s my big aim for ‘19 - get some progress in the photo department!

  6. It’s a very sexy plane with graceful yet purposeful lines. You did a great job in this build. I think the latest Airfix kits are trouble free builds, with simple but clever alignment of parts, almost putty free. PRU blue is one of those unforgiving camos... if one just splash it overall it just makes the kit look like a kids toy, thankfully your Griffin PRU blue is a darn good benchmark on how to avoid that. Of all Spits you built on the works Louis, this one is my favourite

  7. This is just beautiful, Louis. If Griffon powered Spits are a little under-rated compared to their Merlin predecessors, this build goes along way to redressing the balance. You have nailed the colour; done a wonderful job on the camera and housing; and really made those exhausts look the part! Thanks also putting up the Squadron history too - it makes for great reading! I will pick a favourite from your magnificent 12 when they are all here to be seen - but the others will have a long way to go to top this!

  8. Excellent job buddy. Really like the way she came out, she looks especially good in the PRU color with the invasion stripes. Job well done.

  9. Great job, Louis. That kit actually came out in 2013! I remember because I couldn't wait for it and got one of the first ones to land in the US. The Pr. XIX is my favorite Spitfire.

  10. I can only echo and parrot all of the positive comments. One niggle the landing gear looks a tad wonky. I've picked up this kit after having read your build blog along some resin goodies and a vacuum form canopy in hopes of doing the same. Keep up the good work Louis.

    Here is a photo of a Spit.

  11. Nice looking internal detail there Louis.

  12. Very nice - I like that blue scheme. Well done!

  13. Excellent build! The camera detail looks the part, and I like the striped scheme. Coincidentally, I’m building this kit right now, but opted on the in box Swedish bird after reading about their recon work during the cold war - also because even id the other option is also very historical, I wanted a full PRU blue bird. Those new Airfix Spits are great, but they all seem to have a common defect: the engineering of the landing gear. On their first issue Mk I I had to sand the locating stubs so much in order for them to fit that the legs ended up angled too far forward, a provision adopted only on later models. Perhaps if you carefully remove the gear legs and reposition them with some metal wire from a thin paper clip and super glue they will probably hold the correct angle. I used this method on a bigger model (Monogram’s B-26) that had very old and brittle plastic and it held up nicely. The softer plastic in Airfix’s new releases is great for sanding and rescribing, but has its shortcomings. Dang, after seeing your build of the XIX, I wish I had spare decals to do a RAF full PRU blue bird!

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