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Tom Rodgers
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Hurricane Mk I, Sqdn Ldr Witold Urbanowicz

November 20, 2020 · in Aviation · · 17 · 2.5K

Christmas of 2003, my oldest son gave me the book, “A Question of Honor, The Kosciuszko Squadron” by Lynne Olson and Stanley Cloud. It was an eye opener, to say the least. I have been an avid follower of WWII aviation history since I was a kid in the 1950's. That is a major reason I grew up to be a USAF fighter pilot. Prior to reading this book, I had never heard of the pilots of RAF 303 Sqdn (Poland) and their service during the . According to the RAF Museum, this squadron had the highest kill total of ALL RAF squadrons during the BoB. The Authors do a superb job of telling the story (mostly forgotten today) of the Polish fighter pilots who fought for Poland, then France, and finally for Britain.

Their story inspired me and I wanted to build one of their aircraft, but until recently, there were no really good options available. Last year, came out with a boxing of their new tool Mk I kit that included the markings for RFJ, flown by Flt Lt J. A. Kent. I ordered it from Airfix but due to Covid, the delivery kept slipping and slipping. I was about to give up on the project when a fellow modeler on one of my FB modeling pages mentioned that every Airfix Mk I boxing had the same sprues, just different decals. This led me on a search for decals and Techmod from Poland provided the perfect solution. These can be found on ebay, Amazon, and various hobby shop websites. The sheet I got (48025) has the markings for three aircraft RFJ (Kent), RFF (Urbanowicz), and VUZ. The first two are 303 Sqdn and the last is 306 Sqdn.

For this build, I chose the markings of Sqdn Ldr Witold Urbanowicz, RF*F, V6684, Nortolt, UK, September 1940. He was the second highest scoring Polish ace of the war (15 kills and one probable during the BoB alone) and was the second Polish commander of 303 Sqdn. This was a bit unusual due to the early RAF practice of normally having British commanders for expat squadrons.

The kit went together with NO problems whatsoever. The only issue I found was a “short shot” area above the horizontal stabilizers on both fuselage halves. This, however, was no problem to fill and correct. Almost no filler was used anywhere. I did use some CA along the main fuselage seams, just to make sure no cracks appeared after I painted the model. I used Eduard PE and pre-cut masks to detail the cockpit and as well as various external areas. Another addition was Brassin resin exhaust stacks which are very nice and didn't need any micro-drilling of exhaust ports. Vallejo Air paints were used throughout followed by a clear coat of Alclad Aqua Gloss. Next were the Techmod decals which went down nicely with no problem using MicroSet/MicroSol. Following another clear coat, I weathered using Tamiya Dark Brown Panel Line Accent and a black oil pin wash in various areas for shading. Finally, I finished up with a final coat of Vallejo Acrylic Matte varnish and a radio antenna wire made with EZ-Line.

I hope you like my tribute to the forgotten pilots of RAF 303 Sqdn (Poland) and the other expat pilots that were members of “the Few”.

Reader reactions:
11  Awesome

14 additional images. Click to enlarge.

17 responses

  1. Tom Rodgers watched "Battle of Britain" how many times and missed the section on the Poles? Shame on you! 🙂

    Very nice result here. The Airfix Hurricane I is definitely now a "go to" kit. I even picked up two of the re-release at the LHS last last week to "bank" them.

    The story of the Polish Air Force in the RAF is definitely an amazing tale, with a sad ending when they went home after the war. Many went home and then had to leave again.

    • My bad, Tom. I vaguely remember the Poles in the movie but don’t remember them being given the credit they deserved. Their story after the war is really tragic. The book does a great job of discussing the post-war years and also what followed after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Sadly, most who fled Poland continued to hold grudges against those who stayed...for whatever reason.

  2. Fantastic build! Looks great.

    I read that book a couple of years ago as well, and will certainly build a BoB 303 Sq bird here pretty soon...can't decide who's aircraft I want to do just yet but have the Airfix Mk. 1 in the stash ready to go.

    I was in the same boat as you, had little idea of the job those guys did and the celebrities they were! Propaganda had done a number on Poland through the decades for sure, and the raw deal that country got at the end of the war is heart breaking. There are a couple of movies out there depicting 303 Squadron that are very well done.

    • The book really does a good job telling how the Poles have been wrongly used and abused by the major powers for over 200 years. That is a history, that shamefully, has been hidden from most of the world.

  3. Awesome job here Tom. Well done!

  4. Sweet build and fitting tribute!

  5. Well done Tom, great looking Hurricane, especially that cockpit. In case you're interested the latest movie about the 303 Squadron is still available. Saw it recently on Netflix, great in flight shots of real Hurricans, as well as some CGI of course.

  6. A great model, Tom. An equally great tribute to those men.

  7. Beautiful build, Tom.
    A nice way to remember those Polish for what they did.

  8. Supernice Hurricane.. outstanding
    All the best / Johan in Mullsjö Sweden

  9. Excellent job Tom!

  10. What would we do with out the Battle of Britain. I still watch the Youtube shorts that are posted of the various scenes in the movie posted by Fan Boys. The Poles are one of the features in the series. This movie definitely dates some of us modelers.

    Excellent model and history lesson Tom.

  11. Excellent build Tom, and a great choice of finishes.

  12. Nice build, the poles were hard done by for sure but they fought well.

  13. A great-looking Hurricane!

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