Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Group Commander's Hack

Spitfire XVI TE199, Air Officer Commanding 21 Group, RAF, Swinderby, 1948

This is next in my batch build of the Heller Spitfire XVI.

The Subject

TE199 was a Mk XVI completed on 23 April 1945, going to 412 Squadron post-war where after only a few days it went to the Staff College at White Waltham. After only 2 months there it was taken on charge by 21 Group as the Air Officer Commanding's personal transport and given an all-black paint scheme. In 1948 it was removed from service and became a gate guardian in 1955. Subsequent to that, it seems to have disappeared as I cannot find any references to its demise.

TE199 was a glossy black with gold trim. Photos seem to show she had very light roundels, which are depicted on every decal sheet available. I did find one photo that was obviously done with ortho film, resulting in the roundels of all the aircraft appearing light with a darker red center. Likely, the roundels were "normal" colors for the type she wore (wartime).

The Model

Really nothing new to report, a very good model and great for one's "mojo" when looking for an easy kit to put together on a weekend. As with all my Heller XVI kits, I removed the wing radiators and then reattached them, the thickness of the saw blade being enough to reduce the size. Cockpit detail is sufficient for my tastes in this scale, no other modifications or upgrades were made other than masking tape seat belts.

In terms of painting, I airbrushed Gunze Tire Black (H77) thinned with Mr Color Leveling Thinner. I'm sold on MCLT for thinning both my Tamiya and Gunze acrylics. It goes on very smooth and dries very hard. For the gold I simply used Testor's Gold in the small square bottles, obtained at my local Michael's art shop. Decals were from Lifelike, sheet 72-006 and went on easily with Microsoft Set/Sol over a coat of Future. I toned down the glossiness and sealed the decals with Microsoft's Satin finish.


Ultimately, if I were to do this subject again, I'd use standard roundels, not the light colored ones provided in the Lifelike Decals sheet I used. I do really enjoy the simplicity of these kits.

Thanks for looking...