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Tamiya's 1/72 scale
Supermarine Spitfire Vb

by Roger Fabrocini


Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb


Tamiya's 1/72 scale Spitfire Vb is available online from Squadron




This is Tamiya’s 1/72 scale Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb/Mk.Vb Trop., kit #60756.

This was the second model in my self imposed “Theme Build” of Czechoslovakian subjects. Having just finished a 1/48 scale Hasegawa Spitfire Vb in the markings of F/Lt. Stanislav Fejfar, no.313 (Czech) RAF Squadron, I decided that since I had all my reference material about I would model another Czech Spitfire, this time in 1/72 scale .


Scouring my decal stash for a suitable subject I found a small decal sheet by MPD, a Czech company (again, no surprises there), sheet #72513, of a Spitfire LF Mk. Vb, serial # EP461, code “FD”, Exeter (Czechoslovak) Wing RAF, flown by W/Cdr. Frantisek Dolezal. It would do nicely allowing me to configure this Spitfire LF, Mk.Vb, differently then my last, i.e: with clipped wings and the Rotol prop.




Though possessing the Aires resin cockpit for this kit i choose instead to detail the stock cockpit parts with Photo Etched parts, mainly from the PART set #s72-157. Everything fit well for the most part. I liked the detail the set added to the bulkhead behind the pilot, but the PART seat was made of thirteen tiny parts (insane) and I chose a Eduard P.E. seat from another set instead. Mixing all the different manufacturer’s took it’s toll on the geometry of the interior and it was too late before I noticed the pilots seat sitting too low in the cockpit. Lesson learned, if you’re going to become adventurous with detailing, test fit, test fit, test fit.

I used Mr. Color lacquer BS283 Aircraft Gray Green (#364) for the interior. I painted the Bakelite seat using Andrea Acrylics. I used four colors that can also be used for many applications like wood, leather, and rusted exhaust. They are, AC-48/Dark Leather, AC-41/wood, AC-42/brown leather, and AC-40/earth.

Being a Tamiya kit the rest of the build was pretty straightforward save the dihedral. Maybe it was me, having messed so much with the interior that I bulged the fuselage out some, but come time to mate the wing assembly to the fuselage I found the wings flat with no dihedral at all. I ended up sanding the two plains of the joint until I obtained some, but to my eyes still not enough, dihedral. (and that’s the last time I’ll use the word dihedral in this article. What is a good synonym for dihedral anyway?)


I used bits and pieces from the PART set to detail the airframe, radiator and oil cooler fronts, landing gear, etc. The cockpit door is a beaut, made up of eight pieces, but I baulked on the five pieces that made up the tail wheel detail. Honestly when ever I look at a PART Photo Etched set I laugh,…out loud. The parts are so small, especially in 1/72 scale , to boarder on the ridiculous. Who honestly uses all the parts? Not me….ever.
To make the wing tip formation lights I cut notches into the wings, painted them red and green, then filled the notch with CA glue and sanded them to shape. For the wheels down indicators I used small pieces of P.E. frets. IFF wires are .002 monofilament drawn through a dark gray enamel paint marker’s felt tip. I cut and dropped the elevators for a more candid appearance.

I wanted to display my cockpit canopy open (better to show off all the mistakes I made in the cockpit), but Tamiya molds the canopy to the rear cockpit glazing. I cut these apart, cleaned up and glued the rear glazing to the fuselage and used a vacuformed canopy from Squadron. To get a more scale appearance from the kit windshield I used Dremel’s high speed cutter #117 to thin the inside lip of the windshield then polished it out using micro-mesh cloths. I prefer using kit windshields whenever possible because they fit better in most cases. The rearview mirror on top of the windscreen was “stolen” from a Tamiya P-47 kit.



Painting and Markings


As is my standard custom I sprayed everything that doesn’t move with Mr. Surfacer 1200. I used Gunze Aqueous acrylics this time around.

I love Chris Wauchop’s 1/48 scale Hasegawa Typhoon so I copied his choice of colors for the upper surfaces using H330 for the Dark Green and H331 for the Ocean Gray. (Can you believe that Gunze doesn’t make a WWII British Ocean Gray?!) I used a lighted H335 for the Medium Sea Gray lower surfaces. As is my way I lighten, fade and shadow the colors till they hardly resemble the original color. Though I chose to mask the demarcation lines between the upper surface colors on my 1/48 scale Spitfire I freehand these. The trick is to use a very thin mix of the dark green, maybe 75 to 80% thinner, at very low air pressure, less then 10 psi.

When finished I use Chris's and Brett’s method of spraying a post shade of dark brown along the borders to tidy them up a bit.

Though I stated I used the MPD sheet for W/Cdr. F. Dolezal’s markings in reality I only used the lower engine cowling FD codes from the sheet. I much prefer to match the Sky codes to the same colored spinner and fuselage band so I used the sheets codes as a guide to cut masks for the fuselage codes. I used Gunze H74 for the Sky. Pictures show that the serials were over painted when the fuselage codes were applied leaving just the digits on the sky fuselage band which I replicated using single serials from a Tally-Ho sheet. The roundels and fin flash were sourced from the kit sheet. The wing walk lines were applied using Mig Pigments. I masked the lines using Tamiya tape then applied the Dark Gray pigment, scrubbing it into the surface. I wanted to get a faint, worn look to the lines which I think I achieved using the pigment dust.


Derek Pennington had commented to me that the exhaust on my 1/48 scale Spitfire were too rusty and i believe him to be right. I used Vallejo acrylics starting with a base of steel then dark gray followed by layers of dark leather with a dry brush of light gray.

Weathering was achieved using fading of the camouflage colors, airbrushed post shading with Dark brown, and washes using darker hues of Dark Green and Gray mixed from artist oils. For control surfaces I use a dark brown wash. I use a lighted mix of my post shade dark Brown, thinned to about 95% thinner, to fade and weather the roundels and upper surfaces.

Final weathering is done with a PrismaColor silver colored pencil to simulate worn paint and chipping.





So here is another build to make my mother proud (bless her heart) although after finishing this model she kept asking me “Where are the red, white and blue thingies on the wings?”

She did not have to wait long. The last of my Czech trilogy was Eduard's 1/48 scale AVIA B.534

(Editor's Note - I shuffled the posting order of the articles due to the timely nature of Roger's article on the brand new Eduard kit. You may Roger's article on Eduard's AVIA B.534 by following this link).

As always, thanks for the indulgence.



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Model, Images & Text Copyright © 2007 by Roger Fabrocini
Page Created 03 October, 2007
Last Updated 24 December, 2007

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