Spitfire Mk.Vc trop in American hands: Lt. Col. R. A. Ames of the 308th FS 31st FG
Tamiya 1/48 scale
by Jaime Pastor © Modeler Site
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Even though the Spitfire was the British pride during the Wordl War II, it was used by the allies in all war fronts, from Russia to the Reich or North African desert. These Spits were mainly differenced by the bigger air-filter adoption, in order to keep the wonderful performance of the Merlin engine in the desert climate. As well as changing its dress for a more favourable one to fight over the sand.
Some of these Spits were delivered to American squadrons, such as the HL-A, belonging to Lt. Col. R. A. Ames of the 308th FS 31st FG, that fought recovering Italy around the middle of 1943. The second A letter that it can be seen in its fuselage was painted after, because it was an usual practice in some American squadrons over the Mediterranean.
The V version was the first to be delivered to American hands, with b (two 20 mm Hispano cannons and four machine guns) or c wing type (different cannon configurations). These Spitfire showed still the British markings, but before starting the war operations, the American painted their markings over with paintbrush without care. Moreover, the American placed only their stars on the left upper wing and the right under wing, for that reason they covered the other British markings with the earth and sand colours that they had.
I think the most difficult to paint this aircraft was the reproduction of these covered markings, because I had to get, with brush strokes, a light transparency. Apart from this slight difficult, the Col. Ames aircraft was a Mk.Vc. This version is not available in a box kit, but you can buy aftermarkets to built it. Finally, I would rather make it in scratch, helping me with the Quickboost Spitfire Mk.V Shell Case Chutes and with the cannon covers coming from the Spitfire Mk.IXc of ICM kit.
I could built both the Hasegawa and the Tamiya Mk.Vb, both of them good models, but I preferred the Tamiya one, I think that it is more accurate and it has a very good fitting. Although, in my point of view, it should have more cockpit and undercarriage detail.
As usual, first I did before starting a new project, is compile enough information of the aircraft and its combat theatre. It is natural, that the most representative aircraft together with the German Messerchsmitt Bf-109, of the World War II, has a lot of books. I got some good books, such as the Mushroom – one of the best about the Mk.V, with a lot of pictures, history, serials and drawings –, the Aero Detail – indispensable to modellers –, and the polish AJ-Press. Also, I read a good article in the magazine Militaria #1 of Kagero, dedicated to the American Spits.
First, riveting, because I am a fan of the riveted models. As well as the riveting, I started with the c wing transformation. To do it, I need to remove the blisters of the b wing version, and remake some panel lines. I placed the case chutes, and the ICM c type blisters in the upper wing, and scratchbuilt blisters in the lower wing. These c blisters could be of three types, depending on the cannon configuration that was assembled. I chose the small blister cover, because it was not the most usual.
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