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Spitfire MkLFV - AE-A (EP120)  Sqn Leader Northcott, 1943

1/48 scale

by Pablo Calcaterra © 2003 Modeler Site


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EP120 is the serial number of the plane of Canadian Northcott. Several things make this plane an interesting one to build:
It was handed to 501 Sqn. in 1942 and damaged over the fiasco of Dieppe on August 19th. In April 1943 it was transferred to 402 Sqn, where in May Malta veteran Northcott turned her into her mount. Shortly afterwards, his score started to rise flying this Spit.

In little more than 4 months, he shot down 4 Me109s, damaged a 5th, and shot down 3 FW190s, all of them over France. Around mid-1944 the plane was sent to 53 O.T.U. for an overhaul and then became an instructional frame. When the was as over, it was converted to a Gate Guardian. In the late 80's, it was bought by the Fighter Collection at Duxford to restore it to flying condition.

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It can now be seen flying in the English skys once more during several air shows…as I did at RIAT 2000 at Cottesmore! The only modification it has now is that it does not have clipped wings but elipctic ones, to improve handling at low altitudes during the air shows.
Northcott, DSO, DFC and bar, ended the war with the following score: 8 shot down and 1 shared, 1 probable shot down, 7 damaged and 1 shared


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A History of the Clipped wings Spitfires

The clipped wing Spit MkV was developed as an interim answer to the superiority and performance at low level of the FW190A. Basically, the Spitfire LF V was different to the standard fighter in the following items:


1. Clipped wings: to get more speed and better acceleration, some inches of the extremes of the wings were cut, thus loosing the beautiful elliptic shape of the Spitfire. The momentum caused by the wing was reduced, and these Spitfires, regretfully, had their turning radio increased.


2. Merlin 45, 50 or 55 M engine: modified to have more power at low altitudes. The carburetor was modified (hence the M), and the diameter was reduced to 9 inches. This gave the engine +18 lb at 6000 ft.


Most of the clipped wing Spits were b models (or even Mk1) that had already seen combat in other squadrons in 1940/41, and therefore, were quite "tired".


As a consequence, pilots called this model the "Clipped, cropped, clapped Spity"

Clipped: because of the wings
Cropped: modification to the carburetor
Clapped: for the age of the planes


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All these modifications gave the plane an increase in speed of 5 miles per hour below 9000 ft, the plane could dive faster and also had a better acceleration and rolled better. Maximum speed of the clipped Spit with the Merlin M was 339 miles below 3000 ft and 356 miles/hr below 6000 ft.


Though the pilots that flew her were not very happy with the performance (mainly because of the age of the planes and the stress provoked to the engine by the modifications of the carburetor), it cannot be denied that the plane was more able to fight against the FW190A at low altitudes, and even in June 1944 eleven RAF Squadrons used the Clipped Spit over the beachhead in Normandy.


Some aces that flew the LF VBs were

North American David Fairbanks, 501 Sqn RAF, 1944. He later was one of the greatest Tempest aces of the war.
Stanislaw Skalski, greatest polish ace of WWII, Commander of 601 Sqn, RAF in July 1943
The BoB famous Ian Gleed, 244 Wing Commander, Tunisia, 1943
Geoffrey Northcott, Sqn Leader 402 Sqn, Canadian RAF squadron, August 1943
Pierre Clostermann, 602 Sqn, RAF, 1943


I choose Northcott's plane, as Stephen Fochuk from Canada sent me the decals for free, along with the instructions.

The kit

As I said before, it's Hase's JT5. It originally has decals to build a tropical Spit, a Turkish one or another one with tropical filter but European scheme. Luckily, parts to build a LF are also included and so I sent the elliptical tips to the spares box along with the tropical air intake. The only other modification I did to the kit was the inclusion of the Airwaves seatbelts.


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The worst area to work on was the union of fuselage to the upper half of the wings. Not to spoil it with putty, I used liquid corrector for typewriters, but it took several evenings to get it right.
I chose no to glue the hood, as it allows me to put it open or closed depending of my mood!
Paints I used were from the Humbrol range and were:

Green 30 and
Dark grey 27 for the upper surfaces and fuselage
Light grey 64 for the belly and
Sky for the fuselage band and spinner..


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Using a set solution, there was almost no silvering. Roundels and stencils are from Hasegawa, and the letters, serial number, kill marks and "City of Winnipeg" came from the sheet passed by Stephen (thanks!)


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To Stephen Fochuk, who sent me the xeroxed info and the decals for free from Canada, thus proving that we are all members of a true international model community!


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The author


Spitfire Mark V aces, Dr. Alfred Price, Osprey
Spitifire, Dr. Alfred Price, Ian Allan Limited
El gran circo, Pierre Clostermann, Javier Vergara


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