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   home > pictures / catalog > wwii > Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb    [Model# 1264]


 
Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb
Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb
 

Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb - 1:48

Pilot: Frantisek Fajtl

Frantisek Fajtl was born on August 20th, 1912 at Dolin; he passed away on October 6th, 2006 in Prague. He was a Czech pilot fighting on many battle fronts against the Nazi Germany in the time of World War II. After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, Frantisek Fajtl escaped to France where he joined the Armee De l'Air. He served there until the fall of France, when he was forced to flee to Great Britain where he joined the RAF. In the course of his RAF service he was shot down above the already enemy territory of France where he spent two months. After these two months in France he returned to Great Britain where he served until the year 1944. Since 1944 he was in the service of the Soviet Union's Vojjeno Vozdusnyje Sily where he fought against the fascists until the end of war.

After the war's end he came back to his motherland, but after the communist takeover he was dismissed from the army, degraded to the rank of private, arrested, then tried on fabricated charges, and consequently imprisoned. Frantisek Fajtl was partially rehabilitated in 1964, but he had to wait for the fall of communism to receive his full rehabilitation.


Awards, Medals and Honors:
4x Czechoslovak War Cross
Order of the Slovak National Uprising
Order "For Victory"
Legion d'Honneur - Chevalier
Order of white lion
Order of Milan Rastislav Stefanik
Distinguished Flying Cross.

Total number of aerial victories:
1+3 destroyed
1+1 damaged.

Trivia:
Fajtl was the only foreign pilot in RAF allowed to have a beard.


Aircraft:
The aircraft, known as Supermarine SPITFIRE, was designed and blueprinted by a well-known constructor Redginald Mitchell. The Spitfire's prototype, as we know it today, was finished on February 18th 1936 and its first takeoff occurred on March 5th of the same year. The prototype was equipped with the RR Merlin C engine and with a wooden twin-bladed propeller. Upon its presentation the Royal Air Force ordered a first batch of 310 units, but because of to the protracted production launch along with the complexity of the assembly, the RAF didn't receive its first aircrafts until the year 1938. After several minor modifications and a boost of the engine performance the Spitfire was provided with a triple-bladed adjustable propeller made of metal. The first Spitfire version was named Mark I, which was abbreviated into Mk.I. It was initially equipped with eight 7.7 mm caliber Browning machine guns, but that was no match against the well armed Messerschmitt Bf-109. That is why it was later upgraded with two 20 mm caliber Hispano cannons and a more powerful RR Merlin engine version Mk. V. b., which proved itself very well in the Battle for Britain. Our pilots flew these aircrafts very often and they rated them very high, both for their agility and their speed, as compared to the Messerschmitt Bf-109. The Spitfire's construction allowed to approach the speed of sound during high-altitude dives.

Technical description:
Spitfire Mk. V. b. was a single-seat low-wing fighter made of duralumin with an undercarriage retracting towards the wing's tips. It was powered by a triple-bladed adjustable propeller and a Merlin engine from Rolls Royce.

Specifications:
Type: single-seat fighter
Engine: in-line V-engine Rolls-Royce Merlin 45
Engine output: 1103 kW (1500k)
Max. speed: 594 km/h in the altitude of 5,945 m
Flight range: 1827 km
Service ceiling: 10,000 m
Weight: 2,267 kg [empty], 2,911 kg [loaded]
Armament: 4 x 7.7 mm Browning machine guns, 350 rounds per gun
2 x 20 mm Hispano cannons, 60 shells per gun
Measurements:
Wingspan: 11.23 m
Length: 9.12 m
Height: 3.02 m
Wing area: 22.48 m2
Version Mk. V b. was produced in 3,923 units.


MODEL ASSEMBLY:

Components:
Kit: Spitfire Mk. V from Hasegawa
PE parts: Spitfire Mk. V from Eduard

Assembly:
Before anything else I detailed the interior with kit components and PE parts according to available photographs, next I applied a basic interior color, then I carefully painted details and shaded them with oil paints [burnt umber + black in 50:50 ratio]. That accentuated the edges and created a slightly shabby look for the cockpit. Next step was to glue in the control panel. First I sanded the original plastic component, then I glued on the colorful PE parts, which were really helpful and also beautiful. After a long struggle of fitting the control panel inside the cockpit I used red-brown color on the pilot's seat, provided it with seat-belts, and then glued it in the cockpit as well. I fitted the whole aggregate into the fuselage and glued both fuselage halves together. Next came the wings, which matched together perfectly. Then I joined them to the fuselage, but the connection appeared uneven on several spots and required filling. I filled all the gaps with super-glue Pelikan [thin and semi-thin]; it works better than a regular filler, because a filler can cave in or deform after some time, thus creating some unwanted dents.

The construction proceeded smoothly up until the time of panel lines restoration in the necessary places. Rescribing went quite fast, but once again troubles emerged on the wing-fuselage joint; I succeeded only after a week using a solution for covering the wing edges and curvy lines, which I borrowed from a friend. When finished with panel lining, I decided to redo the riveting on wing surfaces and fuselage, carefully employing a wristwatch cog. This simple trick made a wonderful effect, so that I was almost reluctant to paint the model. Then I added the remaining details, attached the antenna pole to the surface, and prepared the various component sets [such as landing gears, canopy, or propeller], which I glued on the model after the painting and coloring.

Painting and coloring:
I opted for the camouflage of Frantisek Perina, who was a Czech pilot flying in England. I have already described his story in the above article. His aircraft bore the classic RAF coloring - dark green, ocean grey and mid-grey. I sprayed these colors using a dual action airbrush and covering masks.

Decals:
At first decals were very easy to apply, but when soaked in softening solutions some of the decals partially melted away, which required a lot of repair work. At the end I sprayed the whole surface over with a semi-matt enamel.

Weathering:
I started by rendering the scratches and peeled off painting on the transition between the shields, then I used dry pastels to shade the panel lining edges, and I applied another layer of enamel. When dry, I painted the stains from exhaust smokes and machines guns with oil colors. I let it all dry properly, and after a week I filled the joints with water colors, which nicely underlined the panel lines. I let it all dry again and finished with a thin coat of enamel.

Detailing:
After the painting and weathering procedures I garnished the model with radio antennas, canopy mirror, landing gears, and propeller.

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Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb
 
 
 
Spitfire Mk. Vb
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