fire Mk.I production can be cleanly divided into the blocks with clearly
defined atributes such as equipment, weaponry and other parameters.
Truth be told, it is very easy to distinguish Spitfire Mk.I from the beginning
of its production, featuring two blade propeller and flat canopy, from
Spitfire in its final form with three bladed propeller and bubble canopy
but that is about it. Once the inovations and changes started to roll out
they were applied gradually and it was not uncommon as the result of an
Thus Spitfires featuring various changes served, at the same time, with
Spitfires that were still waiting for their application. Typical example is
the cockpit and other parts armor protection. In certain period, typically the spring 1940, it is very difficult to determine what kind of armor
protection had been installed on Spitfires and to which extent on any
particular airframe. Even if we know the date of the introduction of
a particular change, it will not help because this change was demonstrably
featured earlier than it was supposed to officially. S/Ldr. Cozens Spitfire
bubble canopy visible in the photographs from October 1938 serves as
an example, well before the official introduction of te bubble canopy
into production in January 1939. We have the similar situation with the
armor behind pilot’s head, officially introduced in November 1940, but
documented to be already featured on the aircraft photograhed in May
or June 1940. Immediately after presenting our Spitfire Mk.I model on
Czech Modeller‘s Forum the motor-driven hydraulic pump of the undercarriage retracting system became an instant hit. In further Spitfire versions
this pump replaced the original, hand-operated pump installed in Spitfire
Mk.I. The published sources vaguely state that the hand pump was later
replaced by the motor-driven one spreading the information at the same
time, that it took place after the manufacture of the 175th Spitfire Mk.I.
This is an error, the aircraft of much later production blocks still featured
the hand pump and it is highly probable that the undercarriage retracting
system with motor-driven pump has never been introduced into Spitfire
Mk.I production line. Spitfire Mk.I pilots therefore retracted their landing
gear by 27 strokes of the large lever mounted on the right side of the
cockpit which certainly had an negative impact on take off and landing
procedures and more often than not caused bruises of the back of the
pilot‘s hand, known as „Spitfire Knuckle“. On the contrary, Spitfires Mk.II
featured the motor-driven pump as a standard, supposedly right off the
The most resistant and favourite errors are obviously the following:
- Two parallel wing strengthening strakes on the wing skin above wheel
well. These wing strengthening strakes have never been featured on the
combat Spitfire Mk.I, not even Mk.II and Mk.V. They were applied on the
aircraft much later, the earliest in 1942, exclusively as an reinforcement
of the skin over the wheel well as it was exposed to an enourmous stress
on war-weary aircraft.
- Oil cooler with circular intersection under the left wing. Spitfires Mk.I
have never featured these cooler, only those with U-shape intersection.
S/Ldr Robert Stanford Tuck in cabin of No. 257 Squadron Hurricane.
- Electrical socket on the port side of the wing root, behind the canopy. It
was missing on Mk.I. It needs to be filled with putty on our model since the
basic fuselage design is common for Mk.I, Mk.II and Mk.V versions.
- Gunsight with rectangular shade. It was only introduced into production
- Little bulge covering a pyrotechnical starter (Coffman starter) on the
port side of the aircraft nose behind propeller. This starter was only introduced on Merlin III powering Spitfires Mk.II. Sometimes it is stated that
also Merlin III powered Spitfires Mk.I were equipped with this starter. It
is not true.
- The inner armor glass. It has never been featured on Mk.I, it was only
introduced in 1942 on Spitfire Mk.V production line.
- And in addition already mentioned motor-driven pump and all metal
ailerons. Neither can be documented on any combat Spitfire Mk.I.
And then we have one more historical error. Frequently repeated, maybe not a complete error but a suspicion, uncertainty circulated around
the world with the intention to dissolve and cover up the old thruths, as
happening nowadays all the time. From time to time someone states that
RAF did not win BoB, that Luftwaffe did not loose, that if it had wanted
it would have finished it, but did not want to. That LW only lost interest in
carrying on with Battle of Britain. Let‘s make it clear: the loss of interest to
win the battle means defeat. It has been like it since the beginning of days
and will be forever. Whoever looses interest, looses the faith as well and
ultimately looses the battle. That is it, no rocket science. RAF won the Battle
of Britain. Luftwaffe suffered its first defeat. It was the first out of many
awaiting it in the coming five years and Spitfires played their role in them
more often than not. And that is all about Spitfire today. We will continue
with Spitfire Mk.II in the end of 2020.
Foto courtesy of Simon Erland and CTK
- Crow bar on the cockpit door. It was only introduced in 1941 and it
has never been painted red on wartime aircraft. Definitely not on Spitfires
INFO Eduard - August 2020