by David Turner
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb
Biggin Hill Wing Leader
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Tamiya 1/48 Spitfire Mk Vb
Biggin Hill Wing Leader
In mid July of 1941, just a few days
past his twenty-fifth birthday, Tuck was given command of the Duxford
Wing comprising Nos 601, 56 and 12 Squadrons. An eclectic mix of
aircraft was available for the new wing leader to fly. 601 were in the
process of re-equipping with the American Airacobra, 56 were converting
to the Typhoon and 12, better known as the Third Eagle Squadron, was
happy with their Spitfire Mk Vbs. During his brief tenure at Duxford, a
Bf-109 fell to the guns of his Spitfire – 29 down. He was believed to be
the RAF’s highest scorer at that time.
As the old saying goes, “all good
things must come to an end” and the AOC of No 12 Group, Air Vice-Marshal
Saul, informed him that he was being taken off operations. Despite many
protestations, the edict stood. However, the good news was that he was
to head to the then neutral, United States of America on a lecture tour.
Among the party were Tuck’s old friend “Sailor” Malan and that gallant
Australian, Wing Commander Hughie Edwards VC.
Following an enjoyable sojourn
overseas, RST took command of the celebrated Biggin Hill Wing on
December 1st, 1941. Again, Wing Commander Tuck elected to fly
his favourite mount – the Spitfire Mk Vb.
This Mk V depicts BL336 on the morning
of 28 January 1942. It was in this aircraft that Tuck was shot down by
ground fire during a low-level “Rhubarb” mission. It is coded with
Tuck’s initials, RS o T, which was an honour accorded to Wing Commanders
and above. It also displays his final tally of 29 victories on the fuel
Tamiya’s Spitfire Mk Vb was the
obvious choice for me, as it was on special for AUS$15 in a local store.
The kit was “shake and bake” personified, and was a joy from start to
finish. Just the thing after a hard day “flying a desk” at work. In late
1941, the Air Ministry directed that fighter aircraft would be painted
in a new scheme of Ocean Grey and Dark Green over Sea Grey Medium. The
Sky fuselage band and spinner were to be retained, along with the
addition of yellow along the wing leading edge to aid recognition.
Some aircraft were repainted as they
moved through repair depots or in the field. A shortage of the new
colours meant that some colours had to be mixed from available stocks.
BL336 was an example of the repainting program. I used Polly Scale
paints for all colours, mixing the “hybrid” Ocean Grey from Sea Grey
Medium and Night on the advice of Bob Swaddling. The “A” scheme became
standard in 1941 and the aircraft was repainted with hard-edged colour
demarcations. This is clear in many photos of BL336 following its crash
The kit was built with only a couple
of very minor additions.
Cutting Edge supplied the seat
The exhausts were replaced with
resin items from Ultracast (48041)
Decals came from the Victory
Productions sheet. (Only 37 more schemes to use!!!!!!)
Click on the thumbnails
below to view larger images:
Model and Text Copyright © 2003 by
SQNLDR David Turner
Model Images Copyright © 2003 by
Page Created 15 September, 2003
Last Updated 25 March, 2004
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