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Spitfire Mk.VIII

by Ken Bowes

Background

This is a Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk VIII, A58-534 R, of 452 Squadron, 80 Fighter Wing RAAF. 452 Squadron was based, among other locations, on Tarakan Island in the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia) in early July 1945.

Whilst part of the RAAFs 1st Tactical Air Force they supported the Australian landings on Borneo, conducting both strafing and bombing missions. For the latter, locally designed bomb racks were fitted to the wing hardpoints allowing the carriage of two 250lb bombs.

A photograph in the AWM database confirms the presence of this particular aircraft on Tarakan during the July 1945 operations.

 



Construction

The model is the 1/48 Hasegawa Spitfire Mk VIII. It was constructed pretty much straight from the box except for the addition of an Ultracast seat, propeller and spinner and block tread wheels. Examination of many photos of RAAF Mk VIIIs in the South-West Pacific show they were fitted with block tread tyres, not the smooth treaded style provided in the kit. It is a small and subtle detail that is often missed but adds to the accuracy of the finish model.


Painting and Markings

The aircraft was finished with Polly Scale acrylic RAAF Foliage Green and RAAF Sky Blue. This is one of the simpler schemes that a Spitfire can be finished in and speeds up the finishing process.

The excellent Aero Imageworks "Shark Attack" decal set (A014801) was used for the markings. I was attracted to this option thanks to the small nose art applied ahead of the entry door. Nose art is rare on RAAF Spitfires (except of course 457 Sqn's sharks' mouths) so it makes for something different.

 

 

These screen-printed decals were in excellent register and performed flawlessly, responding well to the standard Micro Sol/Set combination. While I elected not to make them, instructions are also included for the locally designed underwing bomb racks.
 

More Pictures

Click the thumbnails below to view larger pictures:

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Photographs and Text Copyright 2005 by Ken Bowes and Testor Corporation