Recently I've been on a trip where I build WWII aircrafts with pilots from as many different nations as possible, and the time had come to do one from my own country.
Following the (oh boy, very svift) invasion and occupation of Denmark on the 9th of April 1940, relatively few people managed to escape and join the allied forces. Danish ex-pats in the UK collected money to aid the war effort. It was hoped to raise as much money as the Norwegians to create a complete Spitfire squadron but in the end only enough for 3 aircrafts were collected. On the 9th of April 1942 - on the second anniversary of the invasion - the money was presented to Winston Churchill at No 10 Downing Street. The next day the 3 Spitfires were presented to the RAF (and the press) at RAF Station Ibsley. The aircrafts were BL831 AZ-K 'Valdemar Atterdag' (A legendary Danish king from 1340 to 1375), BL855 AZ-U 'Niels Ebbesen' (a National hero in the 14th century) and finally BL924 AZ-G 'Skagen Ind'.
Skagen is the extreme northern point on the Danish mainland, and 'Skagen Ind' is an expression used by seamen passing that point, moving into our internal/home waters (ok shared with Norway and Sweden). So in essence 'Skagen Ind' means something like 'Coming home' (my translation). The use of a maritime expression signifies that many of the Danes that joined the allied war effort were sailors, away from Denmark at the time of occupation.
This picture is taken on the day of presentation, and it has long been my ambition to build this situation.
On the wing is Pilot Officer Aksel Svendsen, born in Denmark, but his family moved to the UK. Svendsen joined the RAF and flew 'Skagen Ind' on 20th April 1942 when he went missing on mission to escort Boston bombers attacking Abbeville airport. The formation was intercepted by Fw190's and Svendsen and another pilot Fl.Lt Vivian Watkins went missing. At the time of his death he had been with 234th Squadron for 3 weeks, had flown 12 mission over 8 days.
Leaning on the fuselage is Pilot Officer Jørgen Thalbitzer. In 1939 he gained his pilot licence at an age of 19, at the time the youngest pilot ever. He managed to escape Denmark in december 1940 and via Cyprus, Suez and Cape Town he made it to London and joined the RAF. On 27th june 1940 he was hit by flak on a Rhubarb mission but managed to make an emergency landing, but was taken prisoner. He was imprisoned in Stalag Luft III where he joined up with a team of escapists, but was not successfull. He was transferred to a punishment camp in Schubin, Poland. However in march 1943 he was part of a 30 prisoner breakout. He teamed up with Lt Cdr J. Buckley and planned to find a danish ship in Stettin to take them to Denmark and eventually Sweden. No luck in Stettin, nor in Rostock or any other port until they reached Flensburg, immediately south of the Danish border (check on a map, that's pretty far to go for an escaped prisoner). They managed to get to Copenhagen and Thalbitzer went out to find friends to help them. By pure chance he met his father at a train station and arrangements were made for them to cross the narrow sound between Denmark and Sweden - 4km / 2.5 miles at the narrowest point which had a great deal to do with the rescue of Danish jews. On the night of the 28-29th march 1943 they set out, but never made it. It is not known what happened, but Thalbitzer washed ashore some months later and Buckley was never found.
This is one of the planes I've always wanted to do, but never got around to it. That changed when I witnessed a book presentation of a new book 'Britain's victory, Denmark's freedom' by Mikkel Plannthin. A super presentation and a super book - recommended. The other book in the picture is a book Thalbitzer's mother wrote on the story of his son (in Danish, sorry, and not easy to find)
So... finally the model. I used Hobbyboss' nice Spitfire Mk Vb and used a resin cockpit (Aires IIRC), HGW belts and some resin wheels (perhaps Aires too) with plain hubs. The figures were a bit more challenging. For Svendsen (on the wing) I modified a wings cockpit figure (awesome quality) that had one leg on a spitfire wing root and the other extended, so relatively close (relatively). I cut and repositioned the extended leg so he could sit on his parachute. The selection of figures were limited because since this was at the presentation Svendsen and Thalbitzer was in dress uniform and Svendsen only threw on a parachute and a helmet for the picture. That meant that he had on shoes and not boots, but fortunately the figure had that. The Thalbitzer figure was from Masterbox, but if I were to do it again I'd get a better resin figure. The masterbox figure head had the ear basically on the jaw ???
Everything painted with Vallejo. The plane was kept rather clean as it was brand new. Everything painted with homemade masks. Had some issues with paint lifting, but eventually got it done...