This Spitfire Life-Size Replica Is a DIY, Back Garden Project That Stands Out

Restored Spitfire on display at the Temora Aviation Museum, NSW, Australia 9 photos
Photo: Cfitzart /
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Many DIY projects end up discarded in the trash can, forgotten on a shelf or, if they’re lucky, boxed into the garage for some future use that will never come to be. This one, its maker hopes, will end up in an aviation museum, where every visitor will be able to enjoy it.
It’s a life-size, incredibly convincing replica of the famous Spitfire British fighter aircraft. Known as Supermarine Spitfire, this was a single-seat fighter aircraft used extensively by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Allied countries before, during and after World War II. It is the military plane produced in the biggest numbers in the country, with several models and wing configurations made throughout the years.

For the replica, officially unveiled on Friday, David Price chose a Mark IX Spitfire, the PV144, which went into RAF service in September 1944 and was flown by Squadron Leader James Hayter DFC, according to the Daily Mail. It is entirely made by hand, in a tent put up by Price in the back garden of his Carlisle, Cumbria (UK) home specifically for this purpose, with materials you can find around the home or at thrift shops. It is also, as per the same publication, more convincing than any other replica you’re likely to see in Hollywood blockbusters.

Price drew on his extensive background as a military aviation historian. Formerly a builder now turned author (on the topic of military aviation, you guessed right), Price says he’s always been fascinated by the Spitfire, though he never imagined he’d end up building one. In fact, he explains, he started out with the tip of the wing and, one thing led to another and, before he realized it, he was building the replica in his tent.

The project took him 3,000 hours of hard work and £8,000 (approximately $11,020 at the current exchange rate), including the tent. Only the wheels, the fully-functional Perspex canopy, and the dials in the cockpit are true Spitfire parts, because everything else is either discarded stuff or 3D printed parts. The Mail, which also has a photo of Price on his Spitfire replica, notes that a Heinz beans can substitutes for the electrical transformer, an old aerosol is the “blowdown throttle,” the joystick is made of wood, and a milk cap is the cap for the radiator coolant tank.

Now that he’s done with the project, Price is looking to sell it for £25,000 ($34,500). Ideally, he’d like for the new owner to allow the replica to remain at the Solway Aviation Museum in Carlisle, so more people could enjoy it when they drop by.

Asked about the motivation behind the project, Price says without fake honesty: “It’s a bit like asking someone why they’ve climbed Everest. It’s because I could.” Honestly, can you think of a better reason than that?
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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