World War 2 plastic models part 1


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World War 2 plastic models part 1

World War 2 spanned five years, from 1939 to 1945. This page covers (broadly) the first half of that war.

Battle of Britain and before

Photo of a 1/48th scale Brewster Buffalo

My 1/48th scale Brewster Buffalo in USMC colors

Looks like he has just hosed down my garden hose with his machine guns…


The 1/48th scale Spitfire has a nine-inch span.

Tamiya Spitfire 1 (after upper surfaces repaint in 2019)

Tamiya Spitfire 1 (after upper surfaces repaint in 2019)

Model girl and model airplane

Two models… The Tamiya 48th scale Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1 is on a transparent Airfix stand.

Standard RAF fighter camouflage during the summer of 1940 was this pattern of ‘RAF dark green’ and ‘dark earth’ on the upper surfaces and fuselage, and a ‘sky’ (often described as ‘duck egg green’) underside.

1/48th scale Spitfire Mk. 1

Fly-by

Propeller spinners were either sky or black. Often a sky band was painted round the aft fuselage, as here. Some squadrons painted one wing underside black.

Roundels were the ‘A type’ with a large amount of white (and, where applicable, yellow) and the small central red disc. The fin flash was equal red, white, and blue (in horizontal division). The gray squadron codes on the fuselage sides were, in my opinion, normally a lighter shade than those supplied with this Tamiya kit. The under-belly oil stain was a hallmark of the Spitfire.

The Tamiya Spitfire Mk.1 includes decals for this dramatic colour scheme

The Tamiya Spitfire Mk.1 includes decals for this dramatic colour scheme

I made the propeller disc by cutting it out of transparent plastic sheet. Cutting the central hole so it fits the spinner is the most difficult part. I filled the holes in the spinner (for the omitted propeller blades) with plastic putty filler.

After upper surfaces repaint in 2019

After upper surfaces repaint in 2019 (complete with ‘invisible thread’ still draped around it after I took the outdoors photos)

Other than the fake spinning propeller, I made this Tamiya kit exactly as supplied. However, Humbrol ‘dark earth’ has drifted from specification over the years. (It is too dark and too red, which struck me when I first painted this model in 2012, and my suspicion was confirmed on the Britmodeller forum.) Therefore, in 2019, I repainted the upper surfaces in Valejo acrylics. I then added replacement decals, which I found on eBay after about a year of waiting for a set to come up for sale.

Tamiya 1/48th scale Spitfire Mk.1 after repaint

Flying low

Tamiya Spitfire 1 on display again after the repaint of upper surfaces in Valejo acrylics

Back on display after the repaint of upper surfaces in Valejo acrylics


After the French and British forces withdrew from France to England in the spring of 1940, the RAF fought the Luftwaffe over southern England. That air battle, fought during the summer and a warm and largely cloudless early autumn, prevented the armed forces of Germany from invading Britain.

Photo of a 1/72nd scale Messerschmitt 109

My 1/48th scale Messerschmitt 109 of the Battle of Britain

Even in 1/48th scale, the Bf109 is a small model. This is the Tamiya kit.


The Pacific

Photo of a 1/48th scale Curtiss P-40 at the time of Pearl Harbor

1/48th scale Curtiss P-40 at the time of Pearl Harbor

This is an early P-40, before the red disc was deleted from the US star after the attack on Pearl Harbor.


Tamiya 1/48th scale Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero

Tamiya 1/48th scale Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero

My Tamiya 1/48th scale Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero was on my modeling table for three years! Nevertheless, I think that the result is good, by my own rough-and-ready standards.

Tamiya 1/48th scale Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero

Tamiya 1/48th scale Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero

I finished this example, as flown by ace Saburō Sakai, in a moderately ‘weathered’ state, so it is a while after Pearl Harbour.

Tamiya 1/48 Mitsubishi Zero

Tamiya 1/48 Mitsubishi Zero

Partly completed Tamiya 1/48 Mitsubishi Zero

Partly completed Tamiya 1/48 Mitsubishi Zero

Tamiya 1/48 Mitsubishi Zero under construction

Tamiya 1/48 Mitsubishi Zero under construction


Continued on World War 2 plastic models part 2.

Internal links

Adolf versus Adolph, my review of the 1968 movie The Battle of Britain

Hero to Zero, my review of the anime The Wind Rises, which depicts a version of the life of Jiro Horikoshi, designer of the Mitsubishi Zero. The anime also constitutes a history of Japan in the first half of the 20th Century.

2 Responses to World War 2 plastic models part 1

  1. jonevo3 says:

    The Zero designer had one of those perfect design eyes. Aesthetically it is one of those rare designs where every line is flawless. The Hawker designer, Sydney Camm had a similar skill. In this age of CAD it is increasingly rare which is why I always design with a very soft pencil prior to going anywhere near a CAD screen.

    • Similarly, a pencil and several blank pieces of paper on a big board are some of the most valuable tools when starting to design a computer program. I like to think my outline plan for automated NOTAMs on this page is an example. (Not that it could ever result in anything as impressive looking as the Zero.)

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