Supermarine

Spitfire Mk.Vb trop

Spitfire Vb trop image 1

This page was last updated on 18/01/2011


Aircraft Spitfire Mk. Vb trop, EP401, QJ*R
Kit 1/48 Tamia Spitfire Mk. Vb Trop.
Model Build Year 2007
Additions/Modifications PD Decals (48-015)

Seat belt

References 1. "The Australian Experience of Air Power", AAP 1000-H, Air Power Development Centre, 2007.

2. PD Decals, 48-015 Spitfire Mk I./Mk V.

3. Newton, D., "Australian Air Aces", Aerospace Publications, 1996.

4. Odgers, G., "The Royal Australian Air Force: an Illustrated History", Child and Henry Publishing, 1984.

5. Price, Dr. A., "Spitfire Mark V Aces 1941-45", Osprey Aircraft of the Aces No. 16, 1997.

6. Freeman, R., "The Royal Airforce of World war Two In Colour", Arms and Armour, 1995.

Spitfire Mk. V trop image 2

SUBJECT

The subject this model represents is the 92 Sqn. aircraft flown by Flight Lieutenant John Lloyd Waddy in November 1942. An Australian, Waddy joined the RAAF in 1940, underwent flying training in Rhodesia and was posted to the Western Desert and 250 Sqn. RAF flying Tomahawks and, later, Kittyhawks. He also served with 260 Sqn. RAF and 4 Sqn. SAAF, again flying Kittyhawks. 

He was posted home to Australia in February 1943 in order to command the new Spitfire equipped OTU at Mildura, Victoria. As an acting Wing Commander he led 80 Sqn. RAAF flying Kittyhawks in the South Pacific against the Japanese in 1944-45. Due in part to the scarcity of Japanese aircraft at this stage of the war, he failed to increase upon his western Desert score. He was one of the eight senior officer pilots who resigned their commission in the infamous "Morotai Mutiny" in which eight senior pilots of the RAAF First TAF threatened to resign their commissions in protest to senior officers having let the RAAF be regulated by their US ally to the mopping up operations in the now backwaters of New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Borneo rather than participate in the operations against the Philippines and Japan proper.

"The 'Morotai Mutiny' by fighter pilots is the best-known incident of the RAAF voicing the frustration it felt at being assigned to what seemed to be strategically irrelevant operations. In 1944, while the Americans had taken the war north to the Philippines, the First TAF, based on Morotai Island was employed in the 'bypassed' Borneo-Celebes region. Many in the force considered that the operations were unjustifiably wasteful of resources and manpower. In April 1945, discontent and frustration led a group of eight fighter leaders to resign their commissions.

On the recommendation of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice-Marshal Jones, the Minister for Air, Arther Drakeford, called for an inquiry into the issues affecting First TAF. A commission headed by John Barry KC, found that the complaints were justified and the officers who had resigned were exonerated and reinstated. The Air Officer Commanding First TAF, Air Commodore Coby, and two other senior staff were relieved of their appointments. These events demonstrated both the problems of working under MacArthur's command and the inherent weakness in the higher command of the RAAF." (Ref 1.)

The "VE" under the scoreboard on this aircraft refers to his wife Vera, who was otherwise known as Ve, and both scoreboard and name latter transferred to his 80 Sqn. Kittyhawk. His final kill, a Bf 109F on 29th of October 1943 over Alamein, was whilst flying (probably) this aircraft with 92 Sqn. to bring his official total to 15 and 1 shared destroyed, 7 probables and 6 damaged making Waddy the fourth highest scoring Australian fighter ace of World War II. Unofficially, his score may have been as high as 19.5.

This aircraft survived the war and was struck off charge on 28th April 1945. (Ref. 2, 3 and 4).

CONSTRUCTION

This kit has taken some time to complete (3 years) due to work and family commitments. My recollection is that, as with the Tamia Spitfire Mk. I, construction was fairly uneventful. I only deviated from the standard build by adding seat belts (I forget what brand) and cutting off the elevators in order to pose them slightly lowered. I did take to the exhausts with drill bit and blade to render them more like the real "fish tail" profile.

As I built the Mk. I with the cockpit open I decided to keep the canopy closed on this kit in order to show the lines of the aircraft.

The Mk. V generally were fitted with a radio that did not require the previous mast-to-tail aerial and Western Desert based Spitfires did not seem to have the tailplane-to-fuselage IFF aerials fitted, so none were fitted to this kit. Not having any photos to go by, I guessed and fitted the non-spoked wheels. Photos from references (Ref. 4 and 5) seem to be fairly even between the two types.

PAINTING

This spitfire had the standard desert camouflage pattern of Dark Earth and Mid Stone over Azure Blue (Ref. 2).

The decals were a bit disappointing as they were a bit fragile and did not want to conform to some of the trickier areas.  This caused the unit codes to crack over the slight wing root step.  Also, the individual aircraft code, "Q", and the score board came in two parts.  Both the white and black components of the "Q" disintegrated when placed on the kit and had to be painstakingly reassembled. Some silvering occurred, particularly with the serials, and remains visible in the right light. Kit national markings and wing walk way stencilling were used.

The kit was finished with my standard application of exhaust and gun stains, airbrushed with a mix of "smoke", greys and browns, and general grime using artists burnt umber water colours, applied by finger. Pictures show the Mk. V to be particularly dirty under the fuselage. I added paint chips with brushes as well as using a toothpick around the cockpit and engine cover screws. I'm not sure if I like the paint wear on the propeller and I may redo that.

CONCLUSION

Again, like the Mk. I, the kit was a pleasure to build.

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