Airfix 1/48 Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb

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Staff Sergeant
Jan 25, 2009
Newark, UK
Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb
EN951/RF-D, Sqn. Ldr. Jan Zumbach, No. 303 (Kościuszko) Squadron RAF, September 1942

I've finally finished my second 1/48 build!

This is the last of three Spitfire Mk Vb's flown by Zumbach. 303 was one of several RAF squadrons made of Polish flyers during the Second World War. All three carried a version of Zumbach's distinctive personal "Donald Duck" artwork, as well as Zumbach's kill count, which totalled 12 (and two shared) confirmed kills, five probables and one damaged by the end of the war. Zumbach himself was a colourful character. He began his military career as an infantryman, but qualified as a pilot in 1938; unfortunately he was unable to take part in the defence of Poland against German invasion due to a broken leg sustained in a flying accident, but his unit evacuated to France where he flew the Morane 406 and the Curtis Hawk. He was shot down in June 1940 but escaped unscathed. The following week he travelled to England by boat, and was one of the founding members of 303 Squadron in September of the same year. Flying Hurricanes during the Battle of Britain he chalked up eight kills and one probable. He was shot down again in May 1941, but again was unharmed. By May 1942 he was Squadron Leader of his unit, and was the first allied pilot to come up against the Fw 190. His war ended rather ignominiously when he spent a month as a prisoner of war, having accidentally landed the Auster he was piloting behind enemy lines due to a navigational error. After the war, under a Swiss passport (his Germanic surname comes from his Swiss grandfather) he made a living around Africa and the Middle East as a second-hand aircraft dealer, smuggler and mercenary. Zumbach died in slightly shady circumstances in France in 1986; an investigation into his death was closed by order of the French authorities without public explanation.

The kit is the new tool Vb from Airfix (the 2020 boxing), which went together well enough, the only issue being the poor leg oleo attachment (well documented elsewhere), with a gluing area of not much more than a square millimetre on each leg. With this in mind I stuck both legs on (sans wheels) before painting and lightly masked them, but of course they snapped off, however I managed to reattach them at the very end of the build using CA glue and liberal floodings of Tamiya extra thin with no dramas. The only amendments to the plastic in the box were the deletion of the two pairs of wing strengthening strakes, which weren't present on this airframe, and scratch building the non-standard extended rear view mirror mount (again, a feature of all of Zumbach's Vb's) from 5 amp fuse wire. Decals are from Techmod sheet 48005, which offers all three Zumbach Spits as options. It's brush painted with Humbrol and Revell enamels, with my first attempt at some meaningful weathering: paint wear with drybrushed acrylic, with enamel and oil washes and pastels and a matt rattlecan finish, on top of which went exhaust/gun staining with Humbrol weathering powders and oil staining with oil paint.
It's been a long build in part because I've done a fair bit of procrastination of new and scary things in the weathering department, but having has a go I now feel much more confident and am looking forward to developing these skills.

Thanks for looking in!









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