Torquay man builds Spitfire in his garage

Rikki Scott and his replica model Spitfire in Torquay
-Credit: (Image: Barrie James)

A man from Torquay has taken model aircraft building to sky high levels by constructing a nearly full size Spitfire fighter. Rikki Scott has spent two years skilfully crafting the aircraft in his garage.

The finished model resembles the original in every way, right down to the cockpit, machine gun and famous wartime camouflage. Only a very close inspection reveals the exhaust is actually made of a water pipe and the propellers are plastic. It even has a motor with battery behind the seat.

The model, made of a timber frame and fibreglass, has been getting plenty of attention since Rikki, 75, wheeled it from his garage onto his drive. Passers-by have been stopping in awe at the craftsmanship and asking how long it took to build.

"I get a lot of comments from people just walking down the street," says Rikki. "Others drive past in their cars then come back, sometimes with their children. I'm happy to speak to people about it. It's educating people, especially the youngsters."

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The Spitfire is an exact replica of Squadron 303 Polish RFD piloted by Jan Zumbach in the Battle of Britain. The model is three-quarters the size of the original but still boasts a 20ft wingspan.

Rikki's fascination with the Spitfire started when he was a boy. His father worked in Lichfield, Staffordshire, stripping down the aircraft after the war.

He has no formal training in engineering or construction but has always been practically-minded. He has previously built a smaller Spitfire and a Messerschmitt 109 E3. His latest project is his most ambitious yet. But Rikki says it was a pleasure to build.

"I've just always been someone who likes to build things," he says. "It comes easy if you put your mind to it and if you've studied planes. You can see what they look like and you can tell the contours of the wings, it's all there in your mind."

He hopes to sell the model and says it will be ideal for display purposes, possibly at an air show. He hasn't got any other projects in the pipeline just yet.

He says his wife, who is patiently supportive of his efforts, is now keen to reclaim the garage for her Mini. "She wants her garage back," he says. "She loves it but wants it to go now. Who uses a garage for cars anyway?"