Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

Spitfire Mk.Ia

by David Turner


Supermarine Spitfire Mk Ia
No 92 (East India) Squadron


Tamiya's 1/48 scale Spitfire Mk.I is available online from Squadron.com




Tamiya 1/48 Spitfire Mk Ia
No 92 (East India) Squadron

Motto: “Either Fight Or Die” 

On May the 1st 1940, RST was posted to No 92 Squadron under the command of Squadron Leader Roger Bushel. This gallant officer was to become legendry as “Big X” at Stalag Luft III and led the famous escape. He was one of sixty executed by the Gestapo upon their recapture. Tuck was promoted to the rank of Flight Lieutenant and appointed as a flight Commander by Bushell. 

During the frenetic activity of the Dunkirk evacuation, RST gained the first of his aerial victories, a Messerschmitt Bf-109, on the morning of May 23rd and added two Bf-110s during the afternoon. However, his final victim of the day had also scored, with Tuck being forced to “dead stick” his battle-damaged Spitfire on to the grass verge in front of the Hornchurch control tower. 

The elation from his victories was short-lived, with the news that the squadron had suffered heavily, almost half it’s strength had gone, including the Commanding Officer. Group Captain “Daddy” Bouchier made the decision to give Tuck the squadron. Under RST’s leadership, gone were the out-dated Fighter Area Attacks and tight, three-ship “vic” formations became a thing of the past. 

His personal score began to mount over the coming days. His bravery and skill was recognised, with the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross on June 11th. His Majesty King George VI presented his award at a ceremony at Hornchurch, on June the 28th. It was to be the first of many meetings with royalty.


The Model

The next Spitfire is marked as GR o P, N3249 during May 1940. This aircraft is believed to be the Spitfire flown on May 23rd, when RST gained his initial victories. It is depicted in the standard “B” pattern camouflage scheme of Dark Earth and Dark Green. However, as an additional recognition feature adopted in late 1939, the undersides of the aircraft were divided evenly along the fuselage centreline, with the port side being painted in Night and the starboard in white. Polly Scale Dark Earth and Dark Green were used, along with Tamiya Flat White. The “Night” was mixed from Tamiya Dark Red and Flat Black, after reading Brett Green’s excellent Tamiya Spitfire Ia review on HyperScale.

The superb Tamiya kit received the following minor additions:

·   Once again, the kit seat was replaced with the Cutting Edge Spitfire seat. This time without the moulded harness. (CEC48349)

·   An Eduard “Sutton” harness was added. As was Eduard PE armour plate to the rear of the seat. (More on this to follow)

·   The exhausts were replaced with items from Ultracast.

·   Decals were again from the outstanding Victory Productions set.


Following completion of this model, (isn’t it always the way?), I purchased the excellent “Spitfire – A Complete Fighting History” by Alfred Price, (1991, Promotional Reprint Company). This is a combination of his “Spitfire At War” and “Spitfire At War 2.”  

They say that 20/20 hindsight and zero groundspeed is a beautiful thing. I would agree. Using the reference, I believe there is sufficient evidence to question the authenticity of this scheme, for the timeframe involved. Pg 29 shows a photo of RST, with P/Os Holland and Wright, standing in front of Spitfire GR o U. It has the Night port wing and appears to be Duck Egg Green on the remainder of the lower surfaces, with the starboard wing (possibly) in white. 

As to the armour plate, I added the armoured glass windscreen, as well as the seat-back armour. On re-reading “Fly For Your Life” by Larry Forrester (again, after model completion), Tuck states that the armoured windscreen was only fitted just prior to the afternoon sorties on the 23rd of May and, was the only armour the aircraft had at that stage. Cest la guerre. Anyway, I am happy with the final result and the scheme is pleasing to the eye.


Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model and Text Copyright © 2003 by SQNLDR David Turner
Model Images Copyright © 2003 by Brett Green
Page Created 15 September, 2003
Last Updated 25 March, 2004

Back to HyperScale Main Page