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Weathering a Spitfire!


The debate over hard-edged vs. feather-edged camouflage lines on Spitfires has and will be a hard-fought battle among modelers that I'm not going to rehash here. Supermarine and most of its subcontractors and licensees used rubber mats to mask and paint new-production Spits, and I chose the hard-edged route for my subject, a UK-based No. 243 Sqdn bird from late 1942.

Before I get into the camouflage, I should add a warning here. I chose to use the kit's leading-edge yellow ID wing stripe decals for time reasons. The next time I do this kit, I'd spray the stripes over a white base coat with Model Master RAF Trainer Yellow -- a perfect match for the decals for touch-up, by the way -- and mask the stripes before painting the camo.

I masked the upper-lower camo demarcation with thin strips of Painter's Tape, then covering broader underside areas with larger pieces of tape. I used Model Master Ocean Grey, lightened 25 percent with white, to spray the base for the upper camouflage.

The real fun began with masking the upper grey areas for the Dark Green. Tamiya, thankfully, included a separate 1/48 camouflage diagram for the upper, right and left sides of the plane. I made photocopies of each side of the diagram and used them to cut the upper wing grey masks. Since the diagrams are two-dimensional and the model is three-dimensional, the fuselage masks had to be tweaked from the printed patterns with extra sections of cut tape.

Color photos of RAF aircraft from WW II are affected by the usual photographic variables of light, shadow and exposure. Other variables come into play -- wear on the painted subject; the sometimes use of orthochromatic film that darkens yellows, whitens reds and throws off the color tones of some camouflage paints.

Plenty of color Spitfire photography can be found in books and magazines and on the Web, so consult that when mixing colors for your Spitfire, or Hurricane, or Typhoon, or Beaufighter . . . .

I chose to go with a low contrast between the upper grey and green on my Spit, indicating a fair bit of outside use, and mixed some 20-percent lightened Dark Green to give it a greyish cast. Three misted coats, a half-hour's drying time and peeled tape later, I had the three-color camouflage ready (Fig. 3).

Copyright 2002 - Text and Photos by Mike Still (modelcitizen62). All Rights Reserved.

Project Photos

Figure 3

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