Following the attack on Pearl Harbour in December, 1941, Japanese forces swept down the South-West Pacific Islands capturing the Philippines, Singapore, Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, and much of New Guinea. For the Australian Government the unthinkable had occurred - the Australian mainland was under direct threat. The first large scale Japanese attack on an Australian city was as early as 19 February, 1942, when Darwin was subjected to a raid by over 200 bombers. Australia was almost totally defenseless apart from a small number of P-40s and Wirraway trainers.
Australia requested Great Britain to provide modern fighters to bolster the RAAF's capacity. The first Spitfire Vc aircraft were delivered in August 1942. A total of 244 Spitfire F.Vc and 1 Spitfire F.Vb were eventually delivered to the RAAF. The Spitfire Vc remained in service with five Fighter Squadrons in the South West Pacific and Northern Australian areas until replaced by the Spitfire VIII in April 1944. These units were 452, 457, 79 and 85 (RAAF) Squadrons plus 54 (RAF) Squadron. Planned available strength was 16 aircraft per Squadron.
Although the Spitfire was undoubtedly a better performer in the air than the more numerous Kittyhawks in service with the RAAF, it was not completely suited to the tropical conditions and rough airfields in this theatre.
The depicted aircraft was flown by F Off. "Butch" Hamilton who shot down two Japanese aircraft.
Airfix 1/48 Spitfire Vc
The model is the old Airfix Spitfire Vb kit in 1/48 scale. I built this model over ten years ago. It was originally finished in a Mid-Stone, Dark Earth desert scheme.
Although more attractive and better detailed Spitfire V kits have appeared in the intervening years, the Airfix kit can still lay claim to perhaps the most accurate outline of them all. I like the combination of heavy engraved lines around the engine cowling and lightly raised lines on the remainder of the aircraft. The raised detail is so petite that it is difficult to differentiate from recessed panel lines from some angles. Even the cockpit detail was not too bad for a kit of its era.
This kit was on display at Chris Wauchop's hobby shop until 1997, and one day I told him I was taking away a few kits (including this one) to break up and use for spares. Chris asked if he could keep a couple.
This was one result of the "reconditioning".
Chris used Gunze paints to reproduce the Dark Green and Earth Brown finish typical of Australia Spitfires during this period. Earth Brown was a darker and redder shade than RAF Dark Earth.
Decals are from Aeromaster sheet number 48-124 "Spitfires Down Under". This decal sheet depicts four interesting RAAF marking options including a Sharkmouthed Mk VIII..
The aircraft depicted is actually a Mk Vc. The main visible differences are the wing armament, the bulged fairings and alternate wing panel arrangements. Conversions are now available to either replace the wings or just the bulges, but no surgery was applied to this model.
Painted and Decaled by Chris Wauchop
Construction, Description and Photographs Copyright 1998 by Brett Green
Page Created 03 April 1998
Last updated 18 July 2001
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