So, I subscribe to The Atlantic magazine, and they have online questionnaires they ask subscribers to participate in, and they plant the bait of “you might win a $100 gift card for your participation.” So, two weeks ago, I opened an e-mail from them that informed me that I had won one of the gift cards. Wow! First time I ever won anything that way!
Naturally, once it arrived last Saturday, it burned an immediate hole in my pocket, so I hopped up to Sprue Brothers and spent $89 (shipping included) on the new Eduard limited release of the Spitfire IIa and IIb, which arrived Thursday.
A glance through the kit assured me that Eduard really was doing Spitfire IIs. The cannon wing for the Spitfire IIb isn’t a Spitfire V wing, it’s a Spitfire IIb wing, i.e., a Spitfire I wing modified to take cannons. (Yes, you have to have your dues paid up as a Spit Boffin for this to matter).
Then I spent yesterday trying to decide which one to do first, which was a conundrum. Until I thought “It’s not that hard to do them both.”
Which is what is going to happen here.
I’m really looking forward to this, because the Spitfire II is smack in the middle of one of the more interesting periods of RAF camouflage – the changeover from Dark Earth/Dark Green/Sky to Ocean Grey/Dark Green/Sea Grey Medium. And it had to be done in one day. Since there was a shortage of Ocean Grey, this led to some interesting “looks” as squadrons followed the directive that they could substitute “Mixed Grey” for Ocean Grey. This could be done by mixing black and white, mixing Sea Grey Medium with black, or anything else they could come up with (like prewar RAF Light Grey) using what was there in the paint shop. As the old Profile “Spitfire: Camouflage and Markings, Northern Europe” explains it, “this led to shades of grey from very light to very dark, depending on the individual interpretations of the painters.” Some airplanes substituted colors like RAF Light Grey where supplies of Sea Grey Medium were lacking.
I know for sure I will do Bill Dunn’s 71 Eagle Squadron Spitfire IIa, since he is the first American ace of World War II. While Eduard calls out Ocean Grey/Dark Green/Sea Grey Medium, Xtradecal called it out as “Mixed Grey”/Dark Green/Sky, stating that all that was done was the Dark Earth was overpainted and the squadron code color changed, with the “sky” spinner, squadron codes and fuselage stripe in “sky blue”. This makes sense to me, since I can assure you that painting the underside of an airplane standing on its gear is a Right Pain In The Patootie, especially with a fast turnaround required, and there were lots of misinterpretations of other color callouts. As to the Spitfire IIb, it’s going to get a “take” on Mixed Grey upper and lower surface in something like prewar RAF Light Grey.
For those who have the 1/32 Revell Spitfire IIa and have come to a stop in proceeding for the reason that it doesn’t have the “proper” Rotol prop, Eduard points out that many Spitfire IIs actually used the deHavilland prop. So if lack of the right prop has been hanging you up, you can proceed on the belief your Spitfire replaced the “proper” prop.
1 attached image. Click to enlarge.