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Spitfire Mk.Vb

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.


The Model

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 tank cover. 

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 landing. 

The kit was built with only a couple of very minor additions.

  • Cutting Edge supplied the seat (CEC48347).

  • The exhausts were replaced with resin items from Ultracast (48041)

  • Decals came from the Victory Productions sheet. (Only 37 more schemes to use!!!!!!)



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

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