ever there was an icon of the RAF in WWII, it would have to be the Spitfire Mk
V. With nearly 6,500 having been produced and having been flown by pilots from
nearly every combatant in the war, the Mk V would have to be one of the most
easily recognizable and well known aircraft of the war.
While there are any number of excellent books on the Spitfire in general,
including the weighty “Spitfire – The History” (aka “The Spitfire Bible”), I
cannot recall a good basic coverage of each of the individual marks. It is just
such absence that makes the new Mushroom Model Magazine Special such a welcome
addition to the literature on the Spitfire.
is the case with other MMM Specials, this monograph is logically arranged.
There is an overview of the development of the Mk. V including a description of
the variants, such as the VA, VB, VC, LFV and so forth. There is also a listing
of serial numbers by production facility, the version and delivery dates.
The next section deals with the operational use by the RAF. But this is really
nothing more than a compendium of squadrons which flew the Mk V, the codes of
those squadrons and the operational dates for their use of the Mk V.
The various camouflage schemes applied to the Mk. V in RAF service are then
discussed. This includes a discussion of the Malta Spitfires ( A subject near
and dear to me.). While Matusiak seems to come down on the side of an unknown
dark gray for Operation Calendar aircraft, he does qualify his opinion and
leaves the door open to other possibilities. What is most valuable is that the
book has a well reproduced color picture of BR112 (Yellow X) after it crashed in
Sicily. This aircraft was in the Operation Calendar delivery in April ’42 and
was one of the Spitfires painted aboard the USS Wasp. I still vote for a dark,
The book proceeds to list all the foreign users of the Mk V, and, where
appropriate, describes any applicable camouflage and marking variations.
Mr. Matusiak then gets “technical” by providing a brief overview of the
construction of the Mk V, including all the appropriates specs. However, one
thing bothers me. He provides drawings of the wing structure, both top and
bottom, for the A, B and C variants. But for the C wing, there is no indication
of the breach bulge on the top of the wing. Yet, the bulges are shown for the B
wing. This could result in quite a bit of modeling confusion.
There is then a full color photographic walk-around. Mr. Matusiak carefully
qualifies the pictures by stating that not all the aircraft photographed were
built as Mk Vs, but the pictures were chosen to depict those aspects appropriate
to the Mk V in wartime service. A couple of points worth noting: The picture
of the cockpit shows a black seat, but one can see that the original rust-red
was most likely over painted. Also, Mr. Matusiak seems to indicate that the red
crowbar on the cockpit access door is a modern affectation, and that the
original wartime crowbar was either natural metal or RAF cockpit gray-green.
The book concludes with a number of profiles, but no real surprises here.
Some final points. For those who want to do a Mk V in D-day stripes , there are
two excellent pictures. One of a VC, AB509/ J*MC belonging to W/Cdr Johna (sic)
M. Checketts. The other is of a VB, BL591 / BA*U (over score on the U) of 277
Squadron. Then there is the issue of those odd cowling and tail-plane white
stripes (four wrapped over the cowl and two on each tail-plane) that appeared on
a number of Spitfires in the summer of ’42. In two separate statements, Mr.
Matusiak indicates that these were applied by virtue of a Fighter Command signal
of 5 July, 1942 and removed by a subsequent signal of 17 July, 1942, and that
such markings appeared about the time of the abandoned Operation Rutter. It
would have been good if he could have been more specific as to whether these
were experimental makings in general, or developed in connection with the
proposed operation. He states that these making had nothing to do with
While some Spitfire boffins may consider this volume too basic, the Mushroom
Model Magazine Special on the Spitfire Mk V is a commendable addition to any
sample selection of pages from this book may be seen on the MMP web site at
Spitfire Mk V
All Mushroom Model
Publications books are
available direct from
who now accept credit cards (Visa, MC, Amex, Switch)
distributors are Squadron/MMD, Australian distributors are Platypus
Publications. In Europe, the books are available from any good bookshop (via our
UK distributors, Orca). Contact MMP direct in case of difficulties.
Roger at Mushroom Model
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Page Created 01 April, 2004
Last updated 01 April, 2004
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