Hey folks,

I’m afraid it’s another Plastic, Paint, and Glue post this week, as I’m still not quite ready to make any announcements. However, I now have everything that I need in, and will be able to put the preparatory work in this week for some announcements next Monday! I promise!

So, instead, this week I have an interesting model for you, a Photo Reconnaissance Spitfire Type A. As with a lot of intelligence work in the early days of the war, this plane has it’s origins in unconventional places, in this instance a roguish chap called Sidney Cotton, an Australian businessman who was pals with Ian Flaming (creator of James Bond).

Cotton was a big proponent of aerial reconnaissance, and spent a bit of time in the lead up to the opening of hostilities in 1939 freelancing for MI6 (the UK’s intelligence service, and also who James Bond works for!) flying around Germany taking photos of their military buildup.

This information proved invaluable, so when war broke out, he was commissioned in the RAF where he began his aerial reconnaissance program in earnest. This plane is a model of one of two planes that were initially assigned to his program. They were ordinary Mk Ia Spitfires that were ‘Cottonised’. This involved quite a bit of work: painting them a colour that suited their mission role—a light green grey that Cotton devised himself called ‘Camotint Green’; filling in all the panel lines and polishing the plane to as smooth and aerodynamic a finish as possible; removing all the armament and fairing over the gun ports(brave, brave men, flying deep into enemy territory with no guns!); removed the radio, so no phoning home if you got in trouble. Finally, cameras were placed in the wings in the space left by the weapons, the lenses pointing downwards with an overlapping field of view.

The end result was a plane that could hit 390mph, a full 12mph faster than the standard Mk Ia, hopefully just enough to get the pilot away from an angry Messerschmitt!

So, on to my model. I started off with the standard Airfix 1:72 Spitfire MkIa kit for this, and set about filling in all the panel lines and making the other minor modifications needed to shape it into the photo recon version. Essentially a ‘Cottonising’ session in 1:72 scale! I used an aftermarket canopy set to do the open canopy, as the PR plane had bulges on cockpit hood sides not present on the regular aircraft.

The information I dug up (which is a bit sketchy!) indicated—to my reading, at least—that only the wings were faired, not the fuselage, so that’s the way I went. I removed the undercarriage bulges also, and I’m not confident this was the correct thing to do, so that might well be an error on my part. Also, the only spare roundels I had are, I think, too large, but hey ho! Otherwise, I feel I’ve got something pretty close, and a model that certainly captures the spirit of the real thing.

On to the photos!

That’s all for this week. I hope you like my Photo Reconnaissance Spitfire Type A. I plan to make some more of the PR Spitfires in due course, as building this one, along with all the research and modification, was a lot of fun.

I promise to have the updates and announcements next week. As I mentioned above, I have everything I need to move forward, and will be getting it all ready this week. I also hope to send out my summer newsletter before the end of the month, so keep an eye on your in boxes!

Until next week, take care!

%d bloggers like this: