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How to Paint a Spitfire

Updated April 17, 2017

The Supermarine Spitfire was at the heart of one of the largest and most decisive air-battles in history: the Battle of Britain. As waves of German bombers and fighters poured across the English Channel, British Hurricanes and Spitfires met them in the skies and inflicted the first major defeat in the German Luftwaffe's history. The iconic profile of the Spitfire, with its elliptical wingtips and shapely cowl, has become legendary as a result of its role in turning back Nazi aggression. As a result, there have long been many plastic model kits available. Painting these in an accurate wartime colour scheme can be done in just a few hours with the right materials.

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  1. Prime the all fuselage parts with flat black spray-primer for plastic models and allow the parts to dry before continuing. Spray all of the panelling parts (cockpit sides, back, dash, and floor) as well as any smaller parts other than the seat with British Interior Gray Green paint at a downwards angle of around 45-degrees to produce a shadowing effect. Allow the paint to dry fully.

  2. Install the two side panels of the cockpit sub-assembly into their respective fuselage sides. Use small amounts of model glue for this, as excessive use of glue can cause ugly runs or drips on the model. Paint the seat Hull Red and pick out the details in silver and the head cushion in black using a fine-pointed brush. Use a toothpick to fill in the dials and other control-panel components unless your model comes with an acetate slide-in dial sheet, in which case insert that in the slot behind the control-panel.

  3. Glue the two halves of the fuselage together and complete the rest of the model assembly steps as indicated in the included instruction manual for the kit. Once the glue holding the model together has dried, paint the bottom either Sky Blue or Mist Grey, depending on which colour scheme you are using. When you do this, mask the edge between the upper and lower wing surfaces as well as on the fuselage where the intersection of the camouflage and solid colours occurs in your scheme. This will keep paint from the underside from getting onto areas that are to receive the camouflage colours

  4. Remove the masking tape once the paint on the lower part of the model dries. Reapply it over that paint and along the same edge so that the paint you will apply to the upper part of the aircraft wont run or smudge onto that which you have already completed. Paint the upper part of the aircraft in the darker of the two camouflage colours used in the scheme you have selected and allow this to dry.

  5. Apply the camouflage masks over the upper part of the aircraft to create the particular camouflage pattern you desire. Paint the areas not covered by the masks in the lighter of the camouflage colours used in your chosen colour scheme. You may have to apply a second coat to get this colour to be fully solid, as it is being applied over a darker shade.

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Things You'll Need

  • Plastic model of a Supermarine Spitfire
  • Model paint
  • Model glue
  • Camouflage masks (available from hobby stores)

About the Author

Paul Bragulla

Paul Bragulla began writing professionally in 2010, producing online articles. His experience as a researcher in beamed energy propulsion means that he can write knowledgeably about topics such as optics, laser operation and high-speed photography. Bragulla holds a Bachelor of Science in physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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