Building a Tamiya Spitfire in 1/32nd scale
Ow the honour of writing on the famous Belgian Wings website, visited by a zillion aircraft enthusiasts! I am sure that quite a few of you build scale aircraft models and if you don’t, you really should try it, it’s great fun.
First, let me start by telling you that I am not an expert model builder. It usually takes me a while to build a model – I probably finish only 2 or 3 every year – my work keeps me quite busy, you see. I enjoy those evening moments, watching something on the tele with a scale model next to me. I can really appreciate the quality of the engineering of today’s aircraft models. Recently, I had the opportunity to see a test shot of Revell’s forthcoming Halifax on 1/72 and I was truly impressed with the design and detail of this model. I am sure that it will fly by the dozens out of the model shops! Anyway, so there I was going through the pages of a scale modelling magazine reading about one of the biggest hypes of the last few years in the modelling business: Tamiya’s big Mk IX Spitfire.
When I saw the photos of the model, well.. everything looked just perfect. The Tamiya engineers must have thought of about every detail to make it easy for the modeller to build a great replica of this famous fighter. In a far away past I once built the Mk I in 1/48 of this brand and it probably was the best fitting and easiest one I have ever made. The thing that made me hesitate about this new kit however was its price. I usually put my limit at 50 euro for a kit and this guy was more than twice my budget! If I were to buy it, it had to come with some really outstanding features and it couldn’t be one for the stock – if I put this kind of money on the table, it has to be built with a plan! First step: go to the model shop – in my case 16e Escadron in Brussels, where shop owner Mike not only has an incredible amount of models, decals and every imaginable paint, but also takes the time to show you a model kit. He showed me the Tamiya Spit IX and well, okay … it looked perfect. The engine is stunning, the cockpit is well detailed and the engineering is the best I’ve ever seen. I didn’t buy it that same day though. I still was in need of a plan.
The most recent book of Daniel Brackx – ever heard of him? – is a photographical portrait of the Spitfire LF.9 while in use with the Belgian Air Force. Two photos of an aircraft that made a belly landing caught my eye and this might just be a cool plan. But to make a crash diorama of a kit this expensive? Mmm, I don’t think so. The plan would be this: a nice wooden display with the big Spitfire showing every possible detail of the aircraft on one side and on the other side a 1/72 scale model of the same aircraft in a little diorama, exactly as in the photo. Now, that’s something I haven’t done before! When I got in contact with Daniel, he provided me with some more photos of the incident, so that came in quite handy. At the presentation of Daniel’s book, I met a former Spitfire pilot and maybe I could ask him to sign the big model. That would really make things perfect.
So, there I was, my next free Saturday, in Brussels, ready to buy this Tamiya kit. I felt okay spending the amount and when I got home after work, I started right away at it. The first thing I did, was go through my reference material in order to add some more detail to the cockpit and engine. In my next post, I will tell you all about the first steps of the construction, but here’s a few photos of the work in progress!
Catch ya next time!
© N. D. (November 2011)
Last updated 07/11/11 10:59 Daniel Brackx