Greetings to all from Perth, Western Australia. Here are a few of the 65 built Spitfire and Seafire models in my own collection. The collection steadily increases and each new addition is photographed soon after completion. Right now there are 20 Spitfires and Seafires in various stages of construction on the production line. Most of my models are in 1/72 scale, but I build also 1/32 and 1/48 scale kits.
I’ve been a dedicated Spitfire worshipper since I built my first Airfix Mark IX in 1967 and traded ‘Battle of Britain’ bubble-gum cards at school in ’68. It’s good to know that there are plenty of others out there with the same enthusiasm, and I applaud what the Spitfire Site is aiming for.
I always try to photograph my models in realistic-looking settings. The vast majority of the models shown here are to 1/72 scale, and I build them these days purely to take photographs of them. This, in most cases, tends to mean retracted undercarriages and crew figures – not fashionable, I know, but I’ve never been one for following fashions either in clothing or modelling!
The method I use for photographing models ‘in flight’ is a very rudimentary one. The models are mounted with nothing more sophisticated than lumps of ‘blue-tack’ onto a pane of glass, which is positioned in front of simple hand-painted backdrops (no computer-generated backdrops here – I wouldn’t have a clue how to do THAT!).
Propellers are fitted with brass tube shafts and lubricated with graphite, so that they spin beautifully with the aid of an electric fan just out of camera-shot. A simple and inexpensive polarising filter eliminates reflections on the glass and the whole exercise is conducted outdoors to take advantage of natural light. People viewing my pictures are usually astounded that the process is so simple!
Of course, I build and photograph models of aircraft other than Spitfires, but the beautiful Spit remains my first love. My aim (if I live long enough and my arthritic fingers and failing eyesight allow) is to build as many Spitfire variants in as many national colours and markings as possible, including Seafires, Spitefuls and Seafangs.