100 Years of the RAF, No. 19 Squadron circa August 1938, Duxford, UK 1/48 Airfix Spitfire Mk I “early”
This article is part of a series:
- 100 Years of the RAF, No. 19 Squadron circa August 1938, Duxford, UK 1/48 Airfix Spitfire Mk I “early”
- 100 Years of the RAF, 541 Squadron late 1944, Spitfire PR MK XIX, 1/48 Airfix
- 100 Years of the RAF, No. 601 Squadron, Egypt November 1942, 1/48 scale Tamiya 61035 Spitfire Mk Vb
- 100 Years of the RAF, No. 222 Squadron RAF Hornchurch, September 1940, Spitfire Mk Ia, “ZD-R” Tamiya 1/48
- Spitfire Mk Vb Tropical, EP-706 “T*L” No. 249 Squadron as flown by George Beurling at Malta
- 100 Years of the RAF… Alan Deere’s Spitfire Mk I “Kiwi”, No. 54 Squadron Tamiya 1/48
- 100 Years of the RAF, Spitfire Mk Vb, 81 Squadron RAF Hornchurch, June 1942 “FL*A” / BM-461 Tamiya 1/48
This is my second build for the 1930’s decade as part of the 100 Years of the RAF (there is yet another 1930’s Hurricane Mk I to follow).
When I saw that Airfix had released this kit which would build up a very early Spitfire with a two blade Watts prop, I knew that I would have to get my hands on one.
I was seriously thinking about building it, and then Paul barber announced his plans for this fantastic group build. The stars aligned and I had an early Spitfire on the work bench before I knew what hit me.
This early Spitfire by Airfix is a very nice kit. The details offered right out of the box are amazing.
They offer several different styles of canopy and propellers. The kit included the later De Havilland and Rotol propellers too.
It builds up rather nicely and the cockpit details are stunning right out of the box. There were only two places that caused a little problem during construction.
The first was the fuselage insert that goes just ahead of the cockpit. Mine didn’t fit too well and it had a small gap along the sides that I filled in using plastic rod.
The other was the way the main landing gear attaches to the retraction mechanism. This is a rather weak spot in the kit. Other than that it was a little gem to build.
This model was built right out of the box using the kit supplied decals. The decals worked extremely well for me. I was overall very pleased with this one and how it turned out. I didn’t want to dirty this one up or weather it at all since at this point in time, these Spitfires were very well maintained, and the plane was almost brand new.
Now I have a very important version that filled in the gap in my ever growing Spitfire collection. This is something that I had been wanting for a long time. Now if Airfix or Tamiya would only make a kit of the Spitfire prototype…
The early Mk I Spitfires used a wooden two blade Watts propeller.
They also used an early version of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine. Shortly after the type entered service, the De Havilland style 3 blade metal propeller became available. The newer propeller offered increased performance over the Watts.
But in order to swap over to the new prop, the engine had to be chanced as well. This was not an “easy” fix. So they soon came up with a merlin that used a “universal” propeller mount. Now they could install a De Havilland or even the Rotol props without the accompanying engine swap.
Another thing that was found on the very early versions is this style of canopy. It was not as raised or full “blown” as the ones used on the later Marks.
Another small variation is the lack of a pry bar on the side entry door. The early Mk I’s also used a round mast for the radio antennae cable.
This pry bar was later mounted and often seen on Mk V’s, but it could have been retro fitted to some earlier airframes too. Here’s a close up photo of the cockpit. This is the detail provided right out of the box. The only addition that would make this better would be the use of a seat belt harness.
This model was painted using Model Master enamels. Too bad the colors needed to build this Spitfire have been discontinued. Apparently the Model Master line of paints was bought out by a company called “Rustoleum” a little while ago.
When they took over the company, it was decided to drop the line of mainly WW2 Aircraft and Armor colors. There are other similar colors still sold by the company that are fairly close, but these are based on the FS Federal Standards numbers are not solely dedicated to RAF, Luftwaffe (and German Armor), Soviet VVS, Imperial Japanese Army and Navy, WW2 French and Italian colors.
So if you have any of these, you might want to use them a little more sparingly until something changes or you find another brand to fill this gap. Me personally I like using enamels…
The RAF 19 Squadron received their Spitfires on August 4th,1938. Prior to this they were flying the Gloster Gauntlet. 19 Squadron continued to fly Spitfires until they swapped over to P-51 Mustangs in early 1944.
No. 19 Squadron participated in combat during the Battle of Britain, where it was part of the 12 Group and formed part of the “Big Wing”.
Spitfires and Hurricanes were painted during the later half of 1938 like this. One wing used white and the other wing underside was painted in black that was often referred to as “Night”.
My friend Paul Nash supplied me with some very neat original era Black and White photos from 19 Squadron. This is the one I tried to duplicate using my early Spitfire model as the subject.
Now if I only had a starting cart in 1/48 scale and a parachute pack to place on the horizontal stabilizer!
These remaining pictures are also from early Mk I Spitfires in use by 19 Squadron.
and this last one my friend Paul Barber sent me. I’m fairly certain that Paul Nash sent me a copy of this as well. It’s a splendid picture showing a wonderful line up of Spitfires on the ground. If you look close one can pick out the early style of sliding canopies that were in use at this time,
with some being flat and others having a slight “bubble” appearance. It’s also possible that my Spitfire “H” for Harry is the fourth machine back in the line up. You can see two vertical bars that are either the letter “H” or possibly the letter “U”. From this angle it’s next to impossible to tell.
I want to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to my friends Paul Barber for starting this wonderful Group build (and always staying on top of things),
and Paul Nash, for his unparalleled research and correspondence with me during my Spitfire assembly line sequence.
Here’s a link to my Spitfire build journal, in case you want to see what madness really looks like:-) My miniature version of “Casa Bromwich” is still up and running. I still have many more Spitfires to finish.
My hat’s off to both of you fine gentlemen!
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