I’m not sure why the Vb version of the Spitfire gets most of the attention when it comes to the Mk. V series. Certainly there weren’t a lot of Va models built, and making that conversion is really fairly simple with any Ia or IIa kit. But the differences in the b and c wing are significant enough that simply adding a little cannon stub for the c wing doesn’t quite do it.
Both Tamiya and Hasegawa make their Mk. V models with the b wing. Airfix’s older Mk. V was also a b, though they’ve since added a c wing in the kit, too. (Although it makes for a slightly odd mix, with a fuselage with raised panel lines, and a wing with recessed.) Classic Airframes did release a Vc version, though it is a bit of a challenge to build.
I had several sets of Vc markings in the decal stash, and I really wanted to put them on the Tamiya Mk. V kit, as it’s a jewl of a kit that is pure joy to build. So I was considering how I could best convert the wing.
Until my friend Mike Grant came to the rescue. He happened to ask me “would you be interested in a resin Montex Vc wing?” Did Gilligan want to get rescued? 🙂 I threw out thoughts of converting the kit wing!
The build of the Tamiya kit is almost boring because it goes together so well. Unlike the aforementioned Classic Airframes Vc, the Tamiya kit just simply goes together with no fuss, no mess, no fiddliness. It all just fits. The detail is very good, although I did use a spare resin seat with belts molded in simply because I prefer those to photoetch belts.
The Montex wing is a beautiful one-piece resin casting. It was completely free of bubbles, holes, imperfections or anything else that would be a problem. A small casting block attachment along the wing’s leading edge was removed, and sanded down to shape.
Kit parts filled in the underwing radiators, oil coolers and the wing tips. The fit was absolutely perfect. It snapped in place, and on my example, I could have just about done without glue it fit so well. Montex obviously put a high degree of engineering effort in to this kit.
Xtracrylix Azure Blue was used for the undersides, and Tamiya XF-26 Deep Green and Gunze Dark Earth were used for the uppers, as well as Tamiya Flat White. I did some post shading with XF-55 Deck Tan and Smoke, and also some oil weathering. Paint chipping was courtesy of my trusty Prismacolor silver pencil. Decals came from a Aeromaster set #48-666, Aussie Spitfire Mk. Vs, Pt. I.
Given the cost of the Classic Airframes Vc kit, and the difficulties I had building it, I’d recommend going with the Tamiya Vb/Montex Vc wing route if you have a choice. Even with the cost of the kit and wing together, it’s not much more than the (in my mind) overpriced Classic Airframes kit. (The Special Hobby Seafires kits are essentially the same plastic.) Of course, if you are a Spitfire nut as I am, you’ll build both of them.
A special thanks to Mike Grant for sending me the Montex wing! It resulted in one of my all time favorite builds of my all time favorite airplane!