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Royal British Legion Spitfire Replica

 by Mike Eastman

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I have been involved with re building old aircraft for some 40 years. I was responsible for the rebuild of Spitfire Mk. IX EN199 for the Malta aviation museum, and have recently finished the build of replica Mk. V W3850.

Replica Spitfire W3850 was constructed in a remarkable two years for the Royal British Legion. It was devised to tour the country raising money for the charity with the base at RAF Leeming, North Yorkshire. It is transported to various events with people paying to have their photographs taken in the cockpit.

The original idea was to build a 1/3 scale model of the fighter, but soon the project grew and eventually settled on producing a full-scale replica from from original blueprints. It is thus a 90% aluminium representation of the Spitfire Mk. V. Every part of the airframe was produced locally by the volunteer group. The only exception was the canopy, which had to be ordered externally.

The replica even weighs the same as the original - tractor weights standing in for the bulk of the engine.

The pictures weer taken during the finishing stages of the project, when the aircraft received its paint finish - 609 squadron markings, code PR-A as flown by Pilot Officer E. Atkins. Just as the original W3850 which is currently resting in 150 feet of water 1 1/2 miles off the coast of France, having been shot down in October 1941.

Click to enlarge images

[Mike Eastman photo]

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