Somewhere in the UK, some day in june 1944. RAF personel paint or repaint invasion stripes on a heavily weathered Spitfire MK IX – 1/144 scale vignette

The Reference

During my research I came across a lot of discussions about this photo. I don’t know of any reliable source that reveals which serial number this Spitfire had, or at which airfield this photo was taken. There is even discussion about the date. The logical date would be 5 May 1944. The day before the invasion. That is also how the widely circulated photo is usually captioned. But some people suspect (and this is my guess too) that it is a slightly later repaint. The black stripes on the wing look a little weathered, as does the white stripe on the wing root. I’m not a historian and don’t have access to first-hand sources. But that doesn’t matter. Regardless of when and where it was taken, the photo shows a situation that was commonplace on airfields everywhere in the UK from 5 June 1944 onwards. Ever since I saw this photo, I have wanted to recreate this iconic scene. It’s a dream come true.


Neat versus rough – the invasion stripes discussion

The reference photo is one of the most iconic when it comes to the subject of how neatly the invasion stripes were painted on. There are few photos where they are applied as roughly as in this photo. But there are many that show how they were applied with a brush in the field – sometimes overnight. Others were applied later in the factories or in the field with more time. Although I have not read much on the subject, after studying hundreds of historical photos, I can say one thing with certainty: there is no right or wrong in general. The stripes were applied from very clean to very rough and I always try to paint them as I see them in the reference photos of the aircraft I am building.



I am not a professional historian and have neither access to first-hand sources nor to reports from witnesses. All thoughts discussed in this article are my unprovable opinion on an ongoing discussion. If any information is incorrect or misrepresented, please let me know.

The Model

Supermarine Spitfire MK IXe

402 Squadron, June 1944, UK

Scale: 1/144

Height: 113mm
Length: 110mm
Width: 60mm

Kit: Eduard
Figures: Shapeways

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