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RAAF Trench art Spitfire Mk V
Just imported direct from Australia this is a unique example of Australian trench art. The brass model is beautifully crafted and the stand mount is fashioned from an Australian Eucalyptus, also known by the more common name of gum trees, because they exude copious kino from any break in the bark.
The model confused us initially as it features a distinctive 'lump' on its nose section but research indicates this is a Mk V Spit but due to the dusty conditions in Australia the aircraft were tropicalized with a Volkes filter under the nose to protect the carburettors. In service it was thought the filter affected performance but other than a few MPH being taken off the maximum airspeed it made little difference. Mk Vs Spitfires operated in Europe and Middle East by RAF, RCAF, RNZAF and RAAF squadrons from 1941 onwards; in India/Burma from late 1943, and in Australia, where 245 Supermarine Spitfire VCs and one VB were transferred from RAF to RAAF in 1942-43.
The armament on the Spitfire Vb consisted of a drum-fed Hispano 20 mm cannon plus two.303 Browning machine guns in each wing. This model is nicely detailed and clearly shows the enlarged cannon blisters over each wing as well as the canons protruding from the leading edge. The underside unusually shows the retracted undercarriage. Other modifications on this variant included strengthened undercarriage with a slight increase in forward rake, the loss of the wheel bulges on the upper surface of the wing, repositioning of the cartridge chutes beneath the wings, and a slightly deeper radiator.
The stand support strut is also fashioned in brass and gives a sculptural look to the display. All in all a fine and rather scarce example of period RAAF Spitfire trench art that would sit happily in any collection. The model's wing span is 6" (15 cm) and the aircraft stands 10" (25 cm) measured from the gum tree base to rudder tip.