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Wing Commander Robert Stanford Tuck
Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I

by Lynn Ritger


Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I
Spitfire Mk I, K9906 65 Squadron
Eastleigh England, May 1939


Tamiya's 1/48 scale Spitfire Mk.I is available online from Squadron




One of  The Immortal Few, Stanford-Tuck is one of the best-known of all British aces. He began his RAF career flying Gauntlets, then had the good fortune to be among one of the first to transition to the superlative Supermarine Spitfire when it began to enter squadron service in late 1938.

The aircraft depicted, K9906, shows an interesting mixture of markings.



At the time 65 Sqn took delivery of its Spitfires in March 1939, they were delivered in Dark Earth and Dark Green over Aluminum. However, by May 1939 the original full-color prewar roundels had been reduced in size on the fuselage and wings, and the lower surfaces were repainted in black and white to facilitate ground recognition. The ailerons and elevators on aircraft originally delivered in Aluminum remained in this color due to weight and balance considerations.





Tamiya's 1/48 scale Spitfire Mk.I kit was used, with a few modifications to better represent a prewar aircraft:

  • Kit windscreen sanded and polished to represent early, unarmored unit

  • Hydraulic pump and piping added to starboard cockpit wall for early gear retraction unit

  • Ring and bead gunsight added from Reheat photoetch

  • Elevators separated, repositioned

  • All surfaces gently rivetted with homemade pounce wheel

  • Seatbelts added from lead foil

  • Extra tube added to pitot head

  • Clear vision window on port canopy side outlined with a thin line of Dullcote to highlight



Painting and Markings


Decals came from the Victory Production sheet dedicated to Empire Spitfire Aces; however, I dated the machine approximately two months later than shown in the instructions. The official order to transition to the black/white undersurface came through in mid-April 1939, and the VP sheet calls for an overall aluminum undersurface, circa March/early April 1939.



The ailerons and elevators remained in their original aluminum dope, however, in order to avoid any possible balance problems. This information is based on an excellent 1982 article in Scale Aircraft Modeling on Spitfire colours from 1936 through 1940. K9906 survived the Battle of Britain, later being converted to a PR Mk. III, and was struck off charge on 22 May 1943. Stanford-Tuck also survived, although he was shot down and taken prisoner in 1942, and passed away peacefully in 1987.



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Spitfire Mark I/II Aces 193941
Aircraft of the Aces 12
Author: Alfred Price
Illustrator: Keith Fretwell
US Price:
UK Price: 12.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date:
 November 16, 1996
Details: 96 pages; ISBN: 1855326272
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Buy it from Osprey Publishing

Model, Images and Text Copyright 2005 by Lynn Ritger
Page Created 18 March, 2005
Last Updated 17 March, 2005

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