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Louis Gardner
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100 Years of the RAF, No. 601 Squadron, Egypt November 1942, 1/48 scale Tamiya 61035 Spitfire Mk Vb

December 18, 2018 · in Aviation · · 18 · 3.2K
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 another one hot off the press at the "Iron Werks". I finished it up last night. It was inspired by one of Tom Bebout's @tom-bebout

wonderful builds.

This kit is an older release from way back in 1994, but it still built up very nicely for me. I didn't have any fit or flash problems at all and it was a very smooth build.

I originally had intended to build this one up as a part of the Kasserine Pass from earlier this year. David Thomas @davidathomas
had started this Group Build, and it turned out fantastic. Sadly I ran out of time and never even started it.

So when Paul Barber announced his plans and started this "" Group Build, this clipped wing Spitfire immediately went on the build pile.

I built this model up right out of the box. No additions were done at all. If I had the chance to go back and do it over again, the only addition I would make is to add a seat belt harness to it.

I used Model Master enamels exclusively on this one during construction. The colors I used were Dark Earth, Middle Stone and Azure Blue. Sadly these colors are not available from Model Master any more... too bad as I really enjoyed using them.

If you're interested in the build process, here's a link to the build. It's fairly lengthy as it has "morphed" into a total of 12 Spitfires now... with two more Mk I Tamiya kits almost ready to roll off the line next...

Starting out with my research a little too late, I had already installed the big "Vokes" tropical filter under the nose. Initially I was going to build it up as one of these: Namely the plane marked "UF *F" as these decals are included in the kit.

But after closer inspection these planes had the smaller "Aboukifer" desert filter under the nose. It was something I found out too late. Further research indicated that finding a clipped wing Spitfire with simple markings was not going to be all that easy to do. I wanted to use the kit supplied decals as much as possible...

So I was ecstatic when I ran across this artist illustration and accompanying photo ! Further research indicated that this was indeed a Mk Vb with only two 20 MM wing mounted cannons... Now I was a man on a mission.

After some more digging I found out that this plane was later left abandoned in the desert after receiving damage from combat with some 109's. It is listed as "Abandoned after combat with Bf-109's near El Adem on November 2nd, 1942.

Using the original picture as a reference, I wanted to see how close I came to the original after the model was completed. Using this picture,

I applied a black and white filter to see how it would look when compared to the original. This is what I came up with. Other than the camouflage demarcation lines being off just a little, I would say it's fairly close.

After painting and the decals were added (and sealed) I used Tamiya weathering decks to make it look dusty and a little grime was added to make it look more authentic. Having spent some time in the desert, I know from personal experience how the sand seems to get into everything...

After I had the markings done, I did a little research on Wikipedia about the unit that operated this plane. I found out it was often called "The Millionaires Squadron". It had quite a few notable pilots that flew with it during the "War".

This next excerpt is copied word for word from Wikipedia:

"601 Squadron was formed at Northolt on 14 October 1925 when a group of wealthy aristocratic young men, all of whom were amateur aviators, decided to form themselves into a Reserve Squadron of the RAF after a meeting in White's Club, London.

The original officers were picked by the first commanding officer, Lord Edward Grosvenor, youngest son of Hugh Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster. Grosvenor tested potential recruits by plying them with alcohol to see if they would behave inappropriately.

Grosvenor wanted officers "of sufficient presence not to be overawed by him and of sufficient means not to be excluded from his favourite pastimes, eating, drinking and Whites"."

"The Squadron was initially known as "the millionaires squadron", a nametag gained because of a reputation for filling their ranks with the very 'well-heeled'.

Most of these affluent young pilots had little regard for the rigid discipline of the regular service; they lined their uniform tunics with bright red silk and wore blue ties rather than the regulation black.

They played polo on brand-new Brough Superior motor cycles, drove fast sports cars (the squadron car park was said to resemble a Concours d'Elegance) and most of the pilots owned their own private aircraft."

The Squadron became a day fighter unit in 1940 and operated both the Hawker Hurricane and the Spitfire.

Aircrew attrition and transfers to other units, war quickly took its toll on the pre-war personnel and as replacements were drafted in from all walks of life and all parts of the Commonwealth to cover casualties and promotions, the Squadron became as cosmopolitan as any other.

The unit reformed in 1946 as a fighter squadron within the Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF), initially equipped with the Spitfire, followed by the jet powered De Havilland Vampire and the Gloster Meteor twin-jet.

The squadron disbanded along with all other RAuxAF units during the defence cuts of early 1957.

Reforming on 20 April 2017 at RAF Northolt, 601 Squadron is now a Specialist Support Squadron of the RAuxAF.

The 3 principal roles of the Squadron are to provide advice to the Chief of the Air Staff and the RAF to help address important issues; to provide access to new networks that the RAF has not traditionally been connected with; and to develop advocates for the RAF.

These next two pictures show the elegant lines of the clipped wing Spitfire rather nicely.

and also just how effective the "Azure Blue" was as a camouflage color against the sky.

Here's a list of some of the more notable pilots from the Squadron:
Sqn Ldr Roger Bushell – took part in the Great Escape
Sqn Ldr Gordon "Mouse" Cleaver DFC – Battle of Britain pilot whose accident aided the development of artificial optical lenses.
Flt Lt Carl Davis DFC – American who flew with 601 Sqn during the Battle of Britain
Plt Off "Billy" Fiske – American who flew with 601 Sqn during the Battle of Britain
Gp Cpt Sir Archibald Philip Hope, 17th Baronet OBE DFC
Plt Off B P Legge DFC
Plt Off H C Mayers DSO DFC – Australian who flew with 601 Sqn during the Battle of Britain
Gp Cpt J A O'Neill
Fg Off W H Rhodes-Moorhouse DFC
Sqn Ldr "Jack" Riddle & Sqn Ldr Hugh Riddle – brothers and last surviving aircrew who flew with 601 Sqn during the Battle of Britain (both died 2009)
Sqn Ldr Stanislaw Skalski D.S.O. DFC and Two Bar 1939-1945 Star Africa Star Air Crew Europe Star Defence Medal War Medal 1939-1945 and many Pole and inner honourable medal ,- Polish ace, the second Pole to command an RAF Squadron, and later Polish Air Force general
Air Cdre Whitney Straight CBE MC DFC
Plt Off R J W Stubbs OBE DSO DFC

Finally, here's a memorial to the members of 601 Squadron.

"Lest We Forget"...

as usual,
Comments are encouraged.

Thanks for looking !

Reader reactions:
4  Awesome

18 responses

  1. Nice work, Louis. I need to get busy with a few desert subjects that I want to build. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Thanks John ! I was looking at some of your build postings recently, and I am fairly certain that you have inspired me to build a few FAA planes in the very near future. Yours look splendid ! I do see a Corsair (or two) and possibly another F6F coming down the assembly line... I still don't have any built up wearing FAA markings.

  2. This is fabulous work, Louis. I adore the desert schemes on any aircraft, but the Spitfire just seems made for a tropical dressing. You’ve done a wonderful, eye catching, and beautifully nuanced job on the colours.

    You know I follow and love your WiPs, but this is special.

    Thanks for sharing, Louis.

    • David,
      I sincerely appreciate the compliments ! I have been inspired by your Big "E" and "Ye Olde Pub" build journals. They are the stuff legends are made of !

      This model is a build that I have been wanting to do for a long time now. The stars were aligned properly and here we have the results. I agree, the Spit looks like it was designed for using these colors. But a Spitfire simply looks good... at least to me... even with a huge "Vokes" filter hanging under it's nose !

  3. She’s lovely, Louis.

  4. Well done Louis, looks good, nicely weathered !

  5. The first thing that I thought looking at this was that your build actually looks a hundred times better than the artist's impression above the photograph! This is 'next level' modelling. The 'dust' has added a gritty reality over a characteristically stunning paint job.
    Then there is the research and detail that has gone into the article. And the photography, too! I don't usually mention awards because they are pretty subjective, but if I were a judge looking at a monthly award, this goes very very close! This one really stands out: I am running out of superlatives.

    Everyone tries to improve on what they did last. Some of us have plenty of room to get better. You have very little room for improvement but right now you are eking out every last drop of value from your builds, and really hitting the sweet spot. I can only offer congratulations and thanks!

    • I sincerely appreciate this Paul. I have been trying to improve each build as I go. It’s something I try to achieve each and every time.

      Sometimes you get lucky and everything clicks together. Other times you have constant problems each and every step of the way. I was very lucky with how this one turned out.

      It pleases me that you enjoyed this article and the photos. I don’t know if this one is on par with the builds that are picked out by the judges, as we have some serious work that gets displayed here.

      But it would really be nice to be the random winner ………… I could handle that !

      Thanks again my friend for the support and kind words of encouragement along the way.

      You’re a true gentleman and great friend.

  6. As Paul stated above, this is above and beyond. Beautiful build Louis along with all the other ones you have contributed to this Group. Truly a pleasure to see your work.

  7. My, my, that's a pretty looking Spit, even with the Vokes filter on her. Nice history lesson about the "Millionaire Squadron" as well Louis. I really enjoy the way you do your research before completing a model Louis, it informs us about the story behind the subject. I think of modeling as building one's own museum just in miniature, and having fun along the way. Nicely done buddy, I really like the dusty old girl a lot.

  8. well executed and a perfect exhaust trail. Nice Spit! keep em coming!

  9. another great-looking Spit - love the desert camo, and you did some nice weathering on this one. Well done!

  10. Marvelous work and research!

  11. This is an extraordinary build of arguably one of the most iconic fighter of WW II. Your weathering is perfect ! Thanks for sharing this one as well as the informative story. Well done!

  12. I was gonna leave a reply, but all these modeler's said what I wanter to say and then there is no need for me to post my Spitfires! RJW

    • Hey Rodney ! @f2g1d

      It's great to hear from you.
      Just because I have a few Spitfires posted, doesn't mean that you shouldn't post yours too... I think that all of us would enjoy seeing what you have built. Please do us all a favor and share them with us...

      Thanks for the compliments !

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