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Corgi Aviation Archive Collector Series AA29102
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX Diecast Model
RAF No.81 Sqn, MA408, Colin Gray, Sicily, Operation Husky, July 1943

Limited Edition
1025
Pieces Worldwide

1:72 Scale   Length   Width
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX   5.25"   6.25"

Just one of many Commonwealth airmen who served and fought with great distinction within the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, New Zealander Colin Falkland Gray initially had some difficulty in joining the force, failing twice to do so on medical grounds. Having spent some time improving his fitness levels, he was eventually accepted for a short service commission in the late summer of 1938, but rather than stay and train with the Royal New Zealand Air Force, elected to travel to Britain for his flying training, where he would gain his wings and later graduate as a probationary Pilot Officer in October 1939 without too many difficulties. This proved to be a rather tumultuous period for the Royal Air Force and Europe as a whole, as Britain and her allies were now at war.

By the end of the so called Phoney War, Gray was flying Spitfires with No.54 Squadron at Hornchurch, gaining as much operational experience as he could in advance of what seemed certain to be just around the corner, a clash with the all-conquering Luftwaffe. He would make his combat introduction during the Battle of France, flying patrol and fighter support sorties over the areas of Calais and Dunkirk, during which time he would gain both his first combat experience and his first aerial victory. He would go on to see plenty of combat action during the Battle of Britain and by the time No.54 Squadron were withdrawn for rest and replenishment, Gray had amassed an impressive total of at least 14.5 confirmed combat victories, making him the seventh most successful RAF pilot of the battle. With his victory tally continuing to grow, along with a succession of commendations, decorations and promotions, Gray would later take command of No.81 Squadron in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations at the end of 1942, initially reporting to Gibraltar, where he and the rest of his new unit were to take delivery of their new Spitfire Mk.IX fighters, the first MTO squadron to do so. Operating from several airfields in North Africa, Gray would continue to score victories over his adversaries, which now included the opportunity to pit his flying skills against the fighters of the Regia Aeronautica.

During his time serving in the MTO, Gray continued to display exceptional airmanship when in combat and a burning desire to sweep the enemy from the skies. On one occasion, his Spitfire developed engine problems which forced him to abort his position in a sortie and return to his home airfield, but on arrival, found the base had just been shot up by several Focke Wulf fighter bombers. He immediately gave chase, but his engine was not producing its usual power output, so he was unable to catch them, but on transit back to his home airfield, he came across a lone Messerschmitt fighter, which he promptly dispatched. During his time serving in the Mediterranean, Gray would operate from airfields in North Africa, Malta and Sicily in support of the Allied war effort and by the time he returned back to Britain having accepted a staff position with No.9 Group, he had been credited with 27.5 aerial victories, a figure which made him the top scoring New Zealand air ace of the Second World War. Although he would fly operationally before war's end, he would not increase his victory tally further.

In its striking desert livery, Gray's Spitfire Mk.IX MA408 proves the old aviation adage that a Spitfire looks good in any colour, however, it has to be said that this one is particularly attractive. Colin Gray used this fighter during Operation Husky, the Allied invasion of Sicily, but was just one of several Spitfires in which he flew and scored victories during his time in the Mediterranean. He and his fellow MTO pilots effectively cleared the skies of Axis aircraft and helped pave the way for eventual Allied victory, both in this Theatre of Operations and further afield.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX

Designed by R.J.Michell to meet a British Air Ministry specification, the Supermarine Spitfire first flown on March 5th, 1936. With its combination of beautiful fighter design, the excellent performance of its Rolls-Royce Merlin powerplant and firepower provided by twin cannons and four machine guns, the Spitfire became an unrivaled symbol of victory. The Spitfire had 40 major variants and was built in greater numbers than any other British aircraft of the time. It flew operationally on every front between 1939 and 1945 and was engaged in every one of the Royal Air Force's major actions.

© Copyright 2003-2024 The Flying Mule, Inc.

Corgi Aviation Archive Collector Series

The Corgi "Aviation Archive" range presents highly-detailed, ready-made diecast models of military and civilian aircraft. The vast Aviation Archive range has become the standard by which all other diecast airplane ranges are judged. Each Corgi model is based on a specific aircraft from an important historical or modern era of flight, and has been authentically detailed from original documents and archival library material. Famous airplanes and aviators from both military and commercial airline aviation are all honored.

Corgi "Aviation Archive" diecast airplanes feature:

  • Diecast metal construction with some plastic components.
  • Realistic panel lines, antennas, access panels and surface details.
  • Pad printed markings and placards that won't fade or peel like decals.
  • Interchangeable extended/retracted landing gear with rotating wheels.
  • Poseable presention stand to display the aircraft "in flight".
  • Many limited editions with numbered certificate of authenticity.
  • Detailed, hand-painted pilot and crew member figures.
  • Authentic detachable ordnance loads complete with placards.
  • Selected interchangeable features such as speed-brakes, opened canopies and access panels.
  • Selected moving parts such as gun turrets, control surfaces and swing-wings.

© Copyright 2003-2024 The Flying Mule, Inc.    

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