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Rif Raf and his Spitsfire!!

I was perusing Coffin Corner when I ran across pictures of Tory's fantastic Spitsfire rendition, I was immediately impressed with it! You've got to love the retracted landing gear and flying pose he created, but you'll also find that the more you look the more there is to see on this jewel of a model. The weathering, the flag flapping in the breeze, the dart hanging from the "dartboard"; excellent! Tory was also kind enough to provide a well-written description which is below. Many thanks Tory, nice work!

Flt. Lft. RIF RAF and his Spitsfire

In the skies somewhere over Dover, Flight Leftenant RIF RAF flashes his "Winnie the Two" sign as the Luftwaffel's cargo of urgently needed sauerkraut goes down in flames. "Jove" Flight Leftenant RAF exclaims. "That ought to make up for shooting down Flight Leftenant Winthrop-Jones during training."


Back in the early 1970s Revell produced a series of comical caricature model kits designed by artist Dave "Big" Deal. The first were of various automotive subjects, but they were soon followed by four aircraft. There were two WWI subjects, "Lucky Pierre of the Lafayette Escadrille" and "The Baron and his Funfdecker Fokker" and two WWII subjects "Wiener Moldy and his Messaschnitzel 109" and "Flt. Lft. RIF RAF and his Spitsfire". At the time, I was just the right age to really appreciate the wit in both the design as well as the written copy on the box and instruction sheets. I had a few of these kits but my favorite was the "Spitsfire". Like so many of the models I built in my youth, this was destined to be lost to the ages. However, thanks to some wonderful insight by the folks at Revell, a few of these gems have been reissued for us nostalgic types to enjoy again!

The Model:

Before I even cracked the cellophane on the box I decided I wanted to build this kit gear up. I've always thought it looked a little too ridiculous with the gear down, sitting at a nearly 45 degree angle. So I began by modifying the landing gear to fit the wheel wells in the "up" configuration. I also went with the no propeller look to represent a spinning prop as I have never felt any of the clear disc or blurred prop options were very convincing. So I filled in the holes in the spinner with scrap styrene bits and 3M Blue Acyrl putty. Otherwise I built it pretty much out of the box.

I painted it using Model Master Enamels for the Sky lower surfaces and the Dark Earth uppers. The British Dark Green is some vintage (another word for old) Floquil Military enamel I found in my paint collection. Surprisingly, it was perfect sprayed straight from the jar with no thinning needed. The model was given a coat of Polly Scale clear gloss to prepare it for decaling. I found some replacements for the kit decals in my scrap decal collection, mostly old Aeromaster sheets. I wanted to keep the markings realistic, but still retain the comical aspects (the dart board roundel on the fuselage, the "why oh why" call letters and accidental British kill marking). After applying the decals, I applied a black wash to the control surface hinges and around the engine exhausts. The model was then sprayed Model Master Acrylic clear flat and further weathered with some pastel streaking and Testors Steel paint chipping.

The final details included a scratch built dart for the roundel dart board (conspicuously missing in the kit) with some very fine holes drilled into the board itself indicating its extensive use. I also added an antenna wire from the mast to the rudder and a vertical wire to the fuselage. The Union Jack decal was copied on a color copier and reduced slightly to better fit on the vertical antenna wire. I also formed some folds into the flag as I glued it together to give it a more realistic flapping affect. The stand was made by heating and forming an acrylic rod for the upright and turning and polishing a piece of acrylic sheet for the base.

And now Flt Lft. RIF RAF can once again patrol the skies over Dover in search of his nemesis Wiener Moldy. I can only hope Revell sees fit to reissue the "Messaschnitzel"!

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