1/48 Hasegawa Supermarine Spitfire Mk VI

Gallery Article by Wlad Franco-Valias on Mar 27 2012

 

 

Hereís a rare mark of Spitfire: a Mk VI. This is a stock Hasegawa kit I purchased in 1996. Itís derived from their Mk V, with an additional sprue containing the long wing tips, compressor air intake, four-blade propeller, new spinner and the bulge for the Coffman starter. The box cover is by famous aviation artist Shigeo Koike.

Itís a great kit with very fine details, though fiddly in some areas. Hasegawa did miss some items specific to the Mk VI which I corrected. First are the pressure bulkheads, with only the rear one being visible. For that I covered the bulkhead behind the rear glazing with .005Ē sheet styrene and marked some details as shown in the box art and researched in the book Spitfire: The History.

Then came the supports to the head armour, which Hasegawa provided three and should only be one. The other two supports I think were meant to represent the two frames present in the Mk VIís rear glazing. These frames are easily handled by appropriate masking of the rear glazing.

Also, the canopy of the Mk VI and early Mk VII did not slide on rails. It was bolted on once the pilot was aboard. So, off with the canopy rails and any hints of the side door as pressurized Spitfires do not have the side door. 

I also added some cockpit pressurization piping, made from wire, to the front cockpit as per references. This is clearly seen in the Smithsonianís Mk VII, and it being an early model it has the same pressurization system as the Mk VI. I got the details from the Smithsonianís 2004 cockpits calendar.

I was so impressed with the cockpit I decided to add Eduard 49006 pre-painted etched metal seat belts to top things off. They look great, though the metal is springy and there are lots of tiny pieces to test oneís patience.

 

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Elsewhere I made some minor improvements to the gun heating pipe, off the exhausts, by using a piece of wire and sanding off the kitís representation. I also drilled holes for the gun camera, cannons and main landing gear tie downs. Minor items which made a good looking model even better.

The most challenging item in the whole build was decaling. The decals needed a fair amount of Micro-Sol to settle down. They also were in storage for 16 years, so many broke up as I applied them and I ended up doing a decal jig-saw puzzle in places. I soon smartened up and coated the cracked ones with Future while still in the sheet and let them sit for a day before using them. 

I thought the Sky colour in the decals was off, so I used Gator Masks for the unit codes and painted the tail band. As it turns out the decals where quite close to the paint colour once their were off the backing sheet. I did not to weather the model as painting and decaling took a long time and I donít trust my weathering skills yet. I also wanted to use all the stencils that came in the decal sheet as they are all legible, typos and all :-)

Paints used were acrylics by Polly Scale for the camouflage and cockpit colours, Tamiya for smaller details and Alclad II Steel for the exhaust pipes.

Happy modeling. 

References:

  • Humphreys, Robert; The Supermarine Spitfire: A Comprehensive Guide for The Modeller. Part 1: Merlin Powered. Bedford: SAM Publications, 2000

  • Morgan, Eric B. and Edward Shacklady; Spitfire: the History. Stamford: Key Books Ltd, 1987.

  • Price, Alfred (1983). Spitfire: A Complete Fighting History. Leicester: Bookmark Limited, 1991.

  • Scutts, Jerry; Spitfire in Action. Carrollton: Squadron Signal Publications, 1980

  • Air Power: Inside the Cockpits of Historyís Greatest Aircraft, National Air and Space Museum. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2004.

Enjoy the photos.

Wlad Franco-Valias

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Photos and text © by Wlad Franco-Valias