1/48 Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb, 453 Squadron, Skeabrae, The Orkneys, Scotland, December 1943

by Tony Mollica


The Tamiya 1/48 Spitfire Vb would have to be my favourite kit. It goes together magnificently, it’s detail is the benchmark by which I judge other kits, and it’s my favourite aircraft type. I had a spare KMC cockpit door, so I chose to enhance the model slightly by opening the door and using the resin KMC item.

Photographs of 453 Squadron Spitfire Vb’s seem to be thin on the ground. I searched high and low for a good photo of one showing the squadron codes and the serials. There are a couple of good shots in the AWM collection, however they don’t show the serial. Eventually I was able to get hold of a photo showing FU-C (it’s not deliberate !) and was able to enhance the photo enough to show the serial. I then matched this to the tables in the appendix of ‘Defeat To Victory’ to confirm the serial.  See the note below.

The squadron codes are all masked and sprayed, the serials came from Ventura sheet V4851 British Serials. The roundels are from the kit, probably the one area of significant improvement left for Tamiya.

I used a gel pen to do the paint chipping on this one, but won’t do so again. I prefer the look achieved by my trusty Prismacolor pencil.

A special thanks to the guy who got the photo for me, otherwise, I’d still be looking.

Products Used:




Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb


Cockpit Door


Decal Sheet V4851 British Serials



  • Defeat to Victory. Squadron Leader John Bennett. RAAF Heritage Series, 1994. ISBN 064219785 7.

Additional Comments  

  • This model is completed with the addition of seatbelts and a KMC resin cockpit door.

  • Aerial wires have been added.

  • Kit exhausts and gun barrels were drilled out.

  • Comments in ‘Defeat to Victory’ about the ‘well used’ and ‘dirty’ nature of the Spitfire V’s they used from June 1943 have been reflected in the finish depicted on the aircraft.

Although the serial number is not clear in the photo, it is possible to make out the characters ‘BL4’. This was cross referenced to the table on page 161 of ‘Defeat to Victory’  to conclude that the only Spitfire Vb used by 453 Squadron that had this combination of serial and squadron codes was BL418, operated by 453 squadron from 11.12.43 to 20.01.44.


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