ISM 48 Hour Battle of Britain Build

Last year I took part in the International Scale Modeller 48 Hour Battle of Britain Build. I chose the iconic Spitfire as my subject and spent a few weeks before hand making sure I had all the paints n bits and bobs ready. This was my first 48 hour build and I gave myself the extra challenge of building a small diorama to go with it…

The Kit

I went with Airfix’s 1/72 Supermarine Spitfire Mk1a (#A01071A). I think this is the new tooling – it went together flawlessly and is highly recommended for anyone wanting to try their hand at a 1/72 aircraft.

The instructions are simple to follow and I wasted no time in getting on with the build


The Build

As with all aircraft, I started with the cockpit and interior. This would be sealed in once complete and only see the light of day once the final coats had dried.

I intended to show the Spitfire with its canopy open so I couldn’t do too much of a rush job on the interior.

A few (acrylic – oil would take too long to dry) washes and highlights later…

And the two fuselage halves could be sealed together and the rest of the plane could be attached.

While I waited for the body to dry thoroughly, I carved a pill box out of pink insulation foam.

I’d managed to source some Airfix 1/72 WW2 british ground crew figures which I used to scale it. While not brilliant (a fair bit of flash), I did manage to get a few of them looking 1/2 decent.

I cut out a foot square chunk of the same foam as base, set the pill box in and carved a decending path to the door.

I marked off the edge of the runway so I knew how much space I was dealing with…

Using a steel ruler and scalpel I precut the airfield surface slabs and then went over the joins with a blunt pencil.

The glue on the plane had dried so I nipped outside and gave it a dark grey undercoat. Time for a test fitting…

Spraying straight onto the foam with tamiya acrylics, I first preshaded around the bunker and the cracks with black and then sprayed the center of the slabs grey.

I’d better get a move on and get some paint on the bird.

I pre shaded the whole plane with tamiya blank and then airbrushed light grey on the underside. Focusing on the center of panels.

I flipped it over and gave the top 1/2 a base coat of RAF earth brown, again focusing on the center of panels.

A quick camo mask using blu tack.

And a coat of dark green.

It didn’t have enough contrast so I resprayed the green panels being careful to avoid any overspray :-S

While that was drying I shot the base with brown so the grass had something to grow out of and gave the bunker a grey coat of paint.

I flocked the base with a few different colours of scatter flocks.

Next I turned my attention to the figures for the scene. 1/72 Airfix figure are a bit of a let down. They have some excellent poses but the moulds are so old every figure has flash marks which are practically impossible to remove from 1/72 figures moulded in very soft plastic. Still, I pressed on…

A quick posing to set the scene. Sorry for the potato quality – I was in a rush by this point.

I managed to get a coat of gloss onto the Spitfire and then called it a day. A lot to do the following day…

I got up early, put the coffee on and got the decals down using microset to get them to conform to the panel lines.

While the decals were setting, I went back to the base and fleshed out the edges with a ruberised horse hair fence and a path.

A few pieces of clump foliage, static grass clumps and a flag pole and fence made from styrene and the base was done.

I gave the spitfire a gloss coat to seal it and a panel wash using UMP dark earth (it’s a clay wash so dries pretty quick).

I chipped the paint using german black brown on a sponge.

I matt coated everything to seal it.

I finished detail painting the wheels and prop and, disaster! I broke off one of the props >.<

Grumbling, I turned back to the last part of the scene: The figures…

I base coated them following the box art where I could.

And then gave them a dark brown acrylic wash.

I added an antenna wire to the spitfire using stretched sprue.

And left my mechanic in charge of fixing the broken prop.

I finished with about 4 hours left on the clock and took it all outside for some daylight photos.

A great build alongside friends on a hangout and around the world doing what we love.

Dunno how I managed to screw up the fit on the cockpit canopy.

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