Supermarine Spitfire Ia
by Andrew Johnson
Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Ia
Tamiya's 1/48 scale Spitfire Mk. Ia
online from Squadron.com
The Spitfire probably had the best combination of speed and
manoeuvrability of any fighter around in 1939. Its tightly fitting lines did not permit
the storage of much fuel so its endurance was limited. Thus, its role was
restricted to point defence.
With 8 x .303 Browning machine guns it was well-armed for a fighter vs fighter
contest, but less able to knock down bombers. A one second burst would release
152 rounds into the air, or 1.72 kg of projectiles, compared to 52 rounds and
2.37 kg of the Bf-109 E (Tony Williams). When it came to the Battle of Britain
it was the right plane at the right time. You were much more likely to survive
an encounter with the dreaded 109 in a Spitfire then in a Hurricane or Defiant.
Fighter Command knew this, so kept Spitfire squadrons in the line for longer,
thus the squadrons lost about the same number of pilots as the Hurricane
squadrons which were more frequently rotated.
The major reason for the high casualties in Fighter Command was poor tactics
(the infamous tight vics) and inevitably, inadequately trained pilots. John
Alcorn recently published an analysis of the Fighter Command squadrons. In terms
of kill/loss ratios many squadrons were losing one aircraft for every German
plane shot down, a trade the Luftwaffe could afford better than the RAF.
However, if the British pilot survived he could return to duty, unlike his
In terms of verified victories 609 (Aux) Squadron was the 2nd highest scorer
with 48 victories against 14 losses to 31st October following 21 days engaged.
609 Squadron was under the control of 10 Group and was based at Middle Wallop in
Wiltshire. This had its advantages, being further from the frontline of London,
the Squadron had a better chance of climbing to altitude unmolested. 609
Squadron frequently engaged JG2 (Richthofen) coming over from Brittany.
On 28th November 1940, Flt Lt. John Dundas from 609 shot down the
Geschwaderkommodore Helmut Wick before he too was shot down into the sea near
the Isle of Wight by the Kommodore’s wingman.
Tamiya's 1/48 Scale
This is Tamiya’s 1/48 scale Spitfire Mk. Ia. It is hard not to fall in love
with the Spitfire as its shape comes together.
Whilst there is no resin interior available there is a nice Eduard photo etch
set I would recommend for the cockpit. I added extra scratch detail as per the
many cockpit photos available. Strangely, Tamiya omitted the armour plate for
behind the seat, which needs to be added.
Don’t forget to detach and drop the elevators. You will not find a photo of a
grounded Spitfire without those drooped elevators! You should attach a radio
aerial to the mast, but not if you are making a Mk V!
Painting, Decals and
The paint and 609 Squadron markings come from Aeromaster. The blast pen base
is made from wood, cardboard, polyfilla, acrylic and water paints followed by
white glue and railway grass. The photos are taken with either telephoto lens,
or a normal lens with a 15 mm extender. Film is 400 ASA at f16 with 1/15 to 1/30
Click the thumbnails below to view
Model, Images and
Article Copyright © 2001 by Andrew Johnson
Page Created 16 November 2001
Last updated 04 June 2007
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