WOW197 Spitfire Mk1 ‘Richard Hillary’
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WOW197: The Supermarine Spitfire was a British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during and after World War II. Many variants of the Spitfire were built, using several wing configurations, it was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft. It was also the only British fighter produced continuously throughout the war. The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Supermarine Aviation Works, which operated as a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong from 1928. Mitchell pushed the Spitfire’s distinctive elliptical wing designed by Beverley Shenstone to have the thinnest possible cross-section, giving the aircraft a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane. Mitchell continued to refine the design until his death in 1937, whereupon his colleague Joseph Smith took over as chief designer, overseeing the Spitfire’s development through its multitude of variants. During the Battle of Britain, from July to October 1940, the public perceived the Spitfire to be the main RAF fighter, though the more numerous Hurricane shouldered a greater proportion of the burden against Nazi Germany’s air force, the Luftwaffe. However Spitfire units had a lower attrition rate and a higher victory-to-loss ratio than those flying Hurricanes because of the fighter’s higher performance. During the Battle, Spitfires were generally tasked with engaging Luftwaffe fighters-mainly Messerschmitt Bf 109E series aircraft-which were a close match for them, whereas the Hurricanes were used to engage the slower German bombers. This variant of the Spitfire was one flown by Ace Flt Lt Richard Hope Hillary an Australian who served with the RAF during the Battle of Britain. It was during the BOB that Hillary was shot down, despite surviving the crash he was severely burnt on the face and hands. He came to the attention of Archibald Mcindoe a surgeon keen to experiment with plastic surgery techniques, Hillary became one of the best known of Mcindoe’s Guinea Pigs and wrote a book about his experiences called ‘The Last Enemy’. Hillary managed to get back to flying duties in 1943 although it was noted he could hardly hold a knife and fork at times, he was killed flying a Bristol Blenheim during a night flying training exercise at the young age of only 23 years old. Our 1/30 scale Mahogany model is limited to 8 pieces worldwide. Please note the figures shown in the photographs are for scale reference only and are not included with this aircraft.