Escort to Le Bourget
Eduard 1/48th scale Supermarine Spitfire Mk 1a built and painted by Everard Cunion in October 2021
In this photo I edited out the hanging lines.
Originally I intended to build this kit sitting on the ground, much as the real thing was photographed on the apron at Le Bourget airport, France, in May 1940. However, I felt that the main wheel struts’ attachments to the airframe were too dodgy. (Actually I did not understand how they were supposed to attach.) So I built it in flight mode with a home made transparent disc replacing the kit’s propeller blades and a pilot in the cockpit. The pilot came from elsewhere; the kit not being supplied with one.
I brush-painted it with acrylic paints from the Hataka RAF D-Day and Battle of Britain set in their ‘Blue line’ range, which is optimized for brush rather than spray. These paints seem to me to match the real colors more closely than others I have used.
This was before the 1940 summer combat over southern England that became known as the battle of Britain. At this stage, the undersides of RAF day fighters were painted black, white, and silver. The unusually small size and extreme wing-tip positioning of the under-wing roundels imparts additional character to these particular aircraft.
On May 16th, 1940, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill flew to Paris, France, to meet with his French counterpart Paul Reynaud. Four Spitfires escorted Churchill’s De Havilland Flamingo on that occasion. (Ref)
The preceding photo shows two of the Spitfires and their pilots on the left.
The edge of the transparent disc propeller casts unrealistic shadows, as do the hanging lines, naturally.
All this detail was hidden by the pilot when I decided late in construction to build it wheels-up with a pilot in the cockpit.
Having said that, as you might discern, I had some trouble getting things aligned, so that fault at least was hidden.
Like the Airfix Mk V in the same scale, I could not get the cockpit tub to fit without sawing off an angle from the bottom. Along with the cut off bits were the rudder pedals. The sawing operation caused the assembly to disassemble. I was unable to re-attach the horizontal strut at the top in the rear part of the cockpit. In addition, the reflector sight (visible in an earlier photo) hit the floor and is in kit parts heaven, as is the light that should go on top of the fuselage behind the mast.
The canopy paint masks are an exact fit and well worth the effort of positioning correctly. To be able to see the demarcations — to be able to peel them off the rectangular backing paper — I spread thin black paint over it, then wiped it off.
The box art depicts another of the seven decal options included in the kit, which also comes with several different canopy styles, both open and closed.
Piotr Forkasiewicz digital paintings including the box art of this kit
Michael J.F. Bowyer in Fighting Colours, Airfix magazine, November 1967