Spitfire Mk.Vb Tweaks List
by Thierry Laurent
Spitfire Mk Vb
NUMBER: ST2 for the original release
CREATION DATE: 1977
LIST VERSION 1.2 (publication date: June 2006)
by Thierry Laurent (reviewed and updated by Charles Metz, Edgar
Brooks, Cees Broere & Tim Caroll)
following list is intended to help modelers in improving scale
accuracy of an airplane model replica. In no way is it intended to
support or be offensive towards a scale model company.
such, it is only the result of a progressive process and is in no way
intended to be absolute or even comprehensive. Hence, it is intended
to focus on commonly admitted discrepancies and will probably not
cover some errors. It is up to the modeler to decide whether
correcting the listed issues is worth the time and money he will have
to invest in the quest for accuracy process.
aftermarket correction or detail set is mentioned in this document as
the availability of such items may be very variable. Hence, refer to
other LSP sections to find relevant information. Moreover,
aftermarket sets do not necessarily correct all listed issues. Please
refer accordingly to relevant documentation.
NOTICEABLE FUSELAGE ISSUES (from front to rear)
Even if they are reasonably thin, careful
sanding of propeller blades edges is recommended. However, as cross
section is too flat, they should first be made thicker by supergluing a
strip of thin styrene sheet onto the rear face of each blade and
sanding to shape. Align blades properly and set the correct pitch.
Possibly use aftermarket ones. Note that full scale Rotol propeller
Jablo wood blades had an armored leading edge that is not represented
on kit parts. However, this is really a modification for nitpickers as,
even in 1/32th scale, this is not easily distinguishable. It is
nonetheless important to consider this to correctly weather the
propeller of a battered airframe.
Engine cowling panels’ distinctive
fasteners are not correctly represented.
Vokes & Aboukir filters need a lot of
sanding to obtain a clean joint. Possibly add fine wire mesh or
aftermarket screen (depends on depicted airframe).
Regarding the exhausts, careful sanding is
necessary to blend last pipe separate part with main exhaust bank.
Gun heat intensifier tubes are very poorly
shaped. Remove raised molding on fuselage parts (behind the exhausts)
and rebuild correct tubes with rod or use aftermarket exhausts with
accurately depicted ones. Note that such tubes were generally
retrofitted and as such were not present on all airframes.
Add tank armor plate in front of cockpit with
thin plastic or metal sheet. Note this fuselage area is possibly a
little bit too flat. Detail the very visible fuel tank’s
filler plug area (forward to the windscreen): add two bolt heads and an
engraved circular line in the recess.
The canopy side walls need to be raised if the
canopy is posed open. The kit has it too low to allow for a closed
canopy. The slide rail needs to continue to the front windscreen on the
starboard side so an insert will need to be added to allow this. The
internal framing will need to be modified and extended as well. The
access flap door needs to be re-built so that it is "taller" and
includes the rail.
D6 formation light part needs its rear to be
trimmed to fit fuselage slot.
Ninety gallon slipper tank (C20) is at least
3mm too long. To avoid fouling the flaps, it is necessary to shorten
the part and sand round. Do not forget adding the two missing rear
attachment lugs (on each side) and fuel lines ends in the front.
Drill the two jack point’s holes and
add the missing fuel and oil drain pipes (on each side of the nose
belly air intake).
Drill out circular lamp position beneath the
fuselage and add circular section of clear sprue, sand, polish and
paint with clear amber paint.
Tail planes needs careful positioning to be set
with the correct angle. Cut and drop the tail elevators as they are
generally in this position when the aircraft is parked.
Improve tail rear navigation light (use sanded
clear plastic sprue).
Note that if you fit the kit-supplied radio,
you should not fit an aerial from the mast to the fin. The radio, as
supplied (TR1133/1143), is a VHF set, and had a whip aerial, which went
inside the mast. Some aircrafts had later on a beam approach aerial
added underneath the fuselage, behind the pilot's bulkhead. If you do
not fit the I.F.F. aerials from fuselage to tailplanes, a small bar
aerial should be fitted under the starboard wing. Note that MTO
airframes had no IFF because of the obvious lack of radar cover. If you
choose an early radio requiring putting the main aerial wire (TR9D), do
not forget to add dielectric insulator.
NOTICEABLE WING/WEAPONS ISSUES
Hispano-Suiza 20mm gun barrels end must be
drilled. Gun shrouds and ends need to be corrected and detailed (e.g.
cooling slots are missing for earlier & shorter gun shrouds).
Distinctive bolt-shaped gun end section (before the muzzle) should be
Fabric patches over .303 Browning gun ends are
molded like thick plated metal sheets. They must be sanded and rebuilt
with thin metal foil or decals after drilling gun ports. Do not forget
the outer machine gun opening is not on the leading edge centre line
but on the top of the wing slightly to the rear of the leading edge and
is oval in shape. Note that if the .303 gun holes are covered, then so
should the ends of the 20mm guns. If there was a shortage of the proper
covers, a condom could be pressed into service!
Gun camera window hole is missing in port wing
front edge (near the wing root).
Flaps are up. Note that Spitfires were rarely
parked with the pneumatically operated flaps down (prone to damage as
too close to the ground). By the way, flight manual clearly asked for
rising up the flaps before taxiing. Nonetheless If you want to depict
depressed flaps (e.g. for a maintenance scene), file away flaps area
& scratchbuild new ones with hinges and stringers or use
aftermarket ones. Moreover, do not forget adding opened small flap
indicator on upper wing surface. Rebuild a new door on onboard edge and
add projecting actuator rods.
Ailerons have joints running down their center.
Sand the glued parts carefully to obtain a seamless surface.
The radiator is not correctly shaped: its side
walls splay out as they mate with the wing and it gets wider to the
rear. The radiator insert duct does not have the deepening "Meredith"
effect, being flat and following the wing under surface. To correct
this, borrow the part from the old Revell kit, copy it or purchase an
aftermarket replacement part. Add
fine wire mesh on the internal part faces. Remove and replace the rear flap with
thinner sheet and add its actuating levers. Also add machine gun
heating ducts in the rear (also visible in the opened flaps area) and
L-shaped anti-freeze spray tube in the front.
Do not forget adding mesh screen on oil cooler
ends. Easiest way to do this asks for gluing mesh on both ends of a
squashed tube (plastic/metal) put in the cooler fairing.
lights may be extended by means of cutting through the scored outline
on the bottom of the wing. Unfortunately, this outline is a little bit
too large. If lights are down, wing hole must be blanked and
transparent wrap around cover installed from the drooped door edge to
the wing. Note that such landing lights normally disappeared from May
Ten out of the eighteen circular maintenance
panels are missing near the wing bottom front edge.
Browning machine guns shell ejection holes
should be drilled through the wings bottom parts. Note that kit as no
small deflector plate in front of each machine gun shell ejection
holes. It was common practice to glue pieces of newspaper over the
machine gun link chutes under the wing.
The triangular holes, close to the wheel wells,
need to be filled. These were boxes, into which the spent links, and
cases, from the cannon, were fed. On return, these were opened, and the
empties fell out. There was no chute under the 20mm guns in the Vb.
If you want to engrave panel lines, take care
as there are some errors in kit ones here and there (e.g. no flap
operating cylinder access door and fantasy lines behind each wheel well
under the wing, fantasy line perpendicular to fuselage axis between
wing tip and gun bulge, etc.)
Standard wing tips (C40-41) need heavy sanding
to be smoothly blended in wing parts. If clipped wing tips are used,
remove 3 mm of their leading edge and replace the removed area with
clear red (port) and green (starboard) plastic sprue. File, sand and
polish to mate the new lights with wing tips.
Drill pitot tube end (part 29).
Kit wing has no wing reinforcement strakes on
upper wing parts (at the wheel well level). Nonetheless, this was not
present on all airframes (early ones, made before November 1941, were
later retrofitted). Check your references according to the chosen
airframe and era.
Even if they are generally not very noticeable,
correctly scaled undercarriage indicators should be added on upper
wings (in front of the wheel bulge).
NOTICEABLE COCKPIT ISSUES
Kit cockpit is not built as the actual one. Kit
has a solid floor whereas the actual airframe had only partial floor
and visible belly rounded area. This has a major impact on some
components that are either false or wrongly proportioned (instrument
panel, floor, etc.). Nonetheless, except the seat issue mentioned in
this section, this is generally not very noticeable.
Kit cockpit sides give major elements:
undercarriage & throttle levers, radio, remote contractor
switchbox, oxygen & CO2 bottles, etc. Nonetheless, many small
details on such items are missing or should be refined. If you want to
improve details of sides, it is easier to replace parts A12 &
A13 with plasticard. Use such parts as templates to build replacement
parts matching the original ones. The bravest will rebuild as well the
missing curved belly section. Carefully cut elevator trim wheel to
reposition on port cockpit side and add structural details with plastic
strips, the numerous missing pipes visible on the cockpit sides, wiring
details, ribbed oxygen hose and harness quick release control on
starboard sidewall, etc. Possibly use unpainted copper wire to depict
missing tubes going from landing gear control (starboard side) to front
cockpit (under the front instrument panel).
If you use the long-range jettisonable fuel
tank, do not forget adding the cock control and jettison lever (on
cockpit starboard side, near the seat front edge).
Note that a lot of visible wires should run
under the “floor” components. Cockpit
“star wheel” adjuster on rudder pedal piston is
represented by plain disks that should be carefully filed or replaced
to obtain a more correct shape.
Note that full-scale instrument flying panel
protrudes from the main instrument panel and that there is a generally
visible open seam between both panels. A5 part is nicely engraved but
both abovementioned panels are not separated. As they are molded
together with a slight step between them, engraving a seam will already
improve the look. Do not forget adding missing details on the lower
area such as the fuel priming pump or the fuel cock (plastic strip)
with a plastic rod lever below the main panel.
Rudder pedals are a little bit oversized. The
top curved portions were webbing or rubber straps, and many pilots
dispensed with them. From June 1941, they were finally discontinued.
Pedals are located far behind the level of the instrument panel. As
they were movable, they may be located up to immediately behind this
Reflector gun sight transparent D3 part is
quite good. Superdetailers may nonetheless detail it a little bit more
as this is a very prominent part. At least adding the missing power
cable would improve the look.
Compass under the main instrument A5 part is
too simplified with bulky details. The decal intended to improve
definition of the part will not solve this. It is accordingly
recommended to rebuild the whole part including its side supports.
Improve control column (replace molded
compressed air lines). Note that if ailerons are not in neutral
position, it is necessary to cut control column upper section &
tilt it either left or right. Control column handle was generally
covered with anti-grip material that may be replicated with putty or
rolled fine wire.
Cockpit access door A9 part is very basic and
should be detailed. It is probably easier to rebuild it, add structure,
crowbar and locking levers. Note that the crowbar was added to the
production line, as a modification during the Mk V run. It was painted
silver, black or even green during wartime period. Theoretically, it
was not fitted on airframes using a jettison type hood. However,
practice shows just the opposite!
Seat is horribly oversized and located too
high. Moreover, back cushion, dinghy pack storage recess, Sutton
harness and oval port side for harness are missing. Seat should be
completely scratchbuild or replaced with a correctly-sized aftermarket
item. Holes in seat mounting brackets should be drilled. According to
the plane manufacturer, Seafire type flare cartridges support frame has
possibly to be added at the seat front (as this was the case for
Westland-built airframes). Seats were made from red-brown bakelite.
This is a point to consider to correctly weather the cockpit. Note that
landing gear warning horn is missing behind the seat.
Sutton harness with buckles and clasps must be
added. Note that it goes through rear cockpit section (between formers
11 & 12) to be linked to tensioning cables through pulleys.
Pilot headrest is molded integrally with rear
bulkhead. Check if its presence is valid as it was removed on some
airframes and was normally discontinued from June 1942.
Kit has rear cockpit bulkheads and pneumatic
system air bottles but no internal fuselage structure, nor other
details behind the seat. Add linking valves and detail tubes on air
bottles (inversed U-shaped-like mechanism).
Drill lightening holes through all
bulkhead/former parts. Sand to decrease thickness of rearmost cockpit
former (part A6) or replace it with thinner plastic card using the
original part as a template.
Kit offers voltage regulator option parts (C8
& C18). Check which one should be used. Add the missing wires
running down both rear sides of the bulkhead (from the voltage
regulator on the port side).
Before attaching rear canopy part (D9), add
from plastic strip a missing longitudinal rectangular sectioned bracing
strut running between the upper sections of the two bulkheads (A4
& A6), above the armored plate.
NOTICEABLE CANOPY ISSUES
Kit has Triplex/armored windscreens and
flat-side/Malcolm hoods. Note that flat side canopy should have an oval
knock-out panel. Some kits have a decal to depict this. There is no
easy way to accurately re-create this separate panel. This clear view
push-out panel was theoretically discontinued from November 1941.
Airframes with Malcolm hood had a visible
jettison pull cable on lower edge of each hood side.
Add the missing hood release catch mechanism as
as its ball-shaped hood jettisoning emergency rubber knob
(painted in red, yellow or blue).
Canopy external mirror shape and support are
simplified and may be improved or replaced. Note that there were
ETO Spitfires with armored windscreen normally
had a de-icer diffuser at the base of the windscreen. Drill two very
thin holes and add a de-icer replica made from a bent copper wire
section. Later ones (with internal armor) simply had a de-icer diffuser
strip that may be reproduced by engraving 19 very small holes and a
NOTICEABLE LANDING GEAR ISSUES
Main landing gear wells are much too shallow.
Wells also have a dished appearance unlike actual ones. The bravest
will rebuild them from scratch with deeper vertical walls. Strengthener
strips are too thin. They should be thicker with a T section. Note that
there are quite prominent rivet heads on the walls. Add missing landing
gear warning horn contactor wire.
gear leg wells are opened. They should be boxed and dressed up with at
least the small bulkhead bridging the well leg section and plastic card
to simulate wells roof missing structure.
Wheels have good rim details but tires have no
thread: check and engrave or replace them if necessary. Do not forget
painting inner face of wheels before assembling them because of the
holes between hub spokes.
Undercarriage legs are good. However, their fit
is rather sloppy. Hence, take care to glue them to the correct angle
(almost straight from the front). Drill a small hole (0,4mm) in the
upward locking lug. Add air and oil filler plugs on each side of each
leg upper section (with hex nuts). Add the missing safety lock rod bent
on the strut. Also add swivel point details and linkages (such as
hydraulic jack end).
Add the missing brake line running down the
rear of the undercarriage door, against the gear leg.
Tail wheel part has also a sloppy fit. Note
that angle of this castor wheel may be changed (saw it off above the
fork). Unfortunately, fork and wheel are depicted by a single part. As
separating the wheel from its yoke is not an easy job, at least engrave
the seam to simulate different parts.
OTHER NOTICEABLE ISSUES & MISCELLANEOUS
General kit dimensions are nearly perfect. This
is even one of the very few Spitfire kits that depict correctly the
gully-shaped under fuselage.
Molding and overall fit are excellent.
Nonetheless, some kits have a nasty sink line forward of the upper wing
trailing edge and wing root seam is also an issue on some kits.
Transparent parts are thin and crystal clear.
All panel lines are raised. Some raised rivets
are molded to simulate cowling fasteners. Fabric surfaces are smooth
and good (no heavy stitch or heavy weave pattern). As some airframes
had metal elevators, check and smooth off if necessary.
Many optional parts are included. Kit has two
different styles of windshield and canopy, Aboukir and Vokes sand
filters, Rotol wood and De Havilland metal propellers, auxiliary tank,
normal or clipped wing tips and choice of voltage regulators.
Some releases have
“not-for-use” MkVI specific parts (4 blades Rotol
type propeller, extended wing tips, Marshall pressurization
supercharger nose intake and Coffman cartridge starter nose bulge).
Pilot figure should be politely forgotten.
Up to now, kit has already been (re-)released
many times (by Frog, Hasegawa and Minicraft) with different markings
Supermarine Spitfire Mk Vb:
(Aboukir) UF-X, 601st
Sq., Sicily, 1943
303th Sq. (Polish), spring 1942
Sq., Helwan, May 1942
ST2X Spitfire Mk. Vb:
(RCAF), July 1943
303th Sq. (Polish)
Witozenc A853 CW-X 2nd
Polish Fighter Wing, Dieppe, July 1942.
Spitfire Mk Vb « I.R.
Ian R. Gleed
(Aboukir) IR-G, 244th Wing, Tunisia, 1943
Spitfire Mk Vb « Night
Peter Durford, JU-H
111th Sq., Debden December
Spitfire Mk Vb USAAF:
ER570 WD-Q (Vokes) 4th FS , Tunisia
Don” (Vokes) 336th FS, Tunisia
Spiftire Mk Vb:
that in some cases, the kit will need some modifications to
accurately depict to chosen airframe:
Ian R. Gleed’s AB502, this
airframe had been prepared for Mediterranean service in Egyptian RAF
workshops. “Aboukir” clipped wing tips were made
locally out of wood, without navigation lights and with contours
slightly different from the original metal factory item made in the UK
(more pointed cross section contour). Moreover, chin part in front of
the sand filter was more bulbous on this plane (because of the larger
oil tank). Exhausts also seem to be of the fishtail type.
the Debden night fighter, this black
airframe flew without wing roundels. Moreover, an antiglare-shield was
added on each side of the fuselage between the fishtail-shaped exhausts
and the windshield (height: 4,7mm & length: 26,2mm).
accuracy of roundels and codes.
Generally roundels colors are too light and bright and sky codes are
following sources were used to build this list:
& Scarborough, Spitfire, Airfix Classic
Aircraft Series, Patrick Stephens Limited, 1971.
Humphreys, The Supermarine Spitfire
–part 1: Merlin powered, Modeller’s
Datafile N°3, SAM Publications, 2000.
Kolesa, Vraj, Supermarine Spitfire Mk
V, Zlinek, N°1, Vol. IV, Zlinek publications.
Nohara & Ohsato, Vickers -
Supermarine Spitfire MkI-V, Aero Detail
series, N°8; Dai-Nippon Kaiga Co. Ltd., 1993.
Matusiak, Spitfire Mk V, Mushroom
model magazine special Vol.1, N° 6111, 2004.
Rimell, Chesneau, Spitfire:
Supermarine Spitfire Mk V, Aeroguide Classics series, No. 1,
Tanner (ed.), The Spitfire V Manual, RAF Museum
series, No. 1, Arms and Armour Press, 1976.
Supermarine Spitfire, Model Art Special
Issue series N°387, Model Art, 1992.
CD-Rom: ---, The
Spitfire Mk V explored, Flying zone publications, 2005. (best
Note that photo file references
dedicated to other
marks are also VERY useful for common details:
Danda, Martinek, Khol, Spitfire LF Mk IX in detail,
Wings & Wheel publications, 1999. (excellent photofile for
Szymanowski, Szlagor, Spitfire LF Mk.
XVIe, Kagero, 11016, 2005. (good photofile for common
Nohara, Yamada, Vickers - Supermarine
Spitfire Mk VI - XVI, Aero Detail series,
N°27, Dai-Nippon Kaiga Co. Ltd., 2000.
Other used references:
Vinck, Marchand, La chasse belge 1936-1946 Tome 1 –
Les Spitfire Mk. I
– Mk. V,
Les Ailes de la Gloire N°11, Editions d’Along, 2003.
Freeman, Spitfire Mk. I to VI in the
European Theatre of Operations, On Target profiles
N°4, Model Alliance, 2003.
Donald, Messerschmitt Bf 109
– Supermarine Spitfire – Supermarine Seafire,
Air Combat Legends Vol.1, Airtime Publishing, 2005.
Matusiak, Zumbach’s Donalds, Model
Detail photo monograph N°5, Rossagraph. (large wartime pics)
Patterson, Spitfire – RAF
fighter, Airlife Publishing, 1977.
Scutts, Spitfire in Action, Aircraft
in Action series, N° 39, Squadron Signal Publications, 1980.
---, Supermarine Spitfire,
Famous Airplanes of the World No. 25, Bunrin-Do, 1990.
---, Supermarine Spitfire,
Famous Airplanes of the World No. 102, Bunrin-Do, 2003.
CD-Rom: ---, Supermarine Spitfire,
Cassel & Co – Tamiya, 2000.
some magazines articles (more particularly from
Replic, Scale Models, Wingmasters & SAMI)
some web pages (more particularly LSP &
© Thierry Laurent