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East Anglia Future 50

Norfolk firm builds exact replica of Spitfire

PUBLISHED: 10:42 25 June 2019

The silver spitfire replica in position at Terminal 2, Heathrow airport. Pic: submitted

The silver spitfire replica in position at Terminal 2, Heathrow airport. Pic: submitted

A scale replica of Britain's most-cherished aircraft the Spitfire has been built by a Great Yarmouth firm and is now on display in Heathrow Airport.

The silver spitfire in position at Terminal 2, Heathrow airport. Pic: submittedThe silver spitfire in position at Terminal 2, Heathrow airport. Pic: submitted

GB Replicas, in Catfield, specialise in creating life-sized replica planes and their work has even appeared in Hollywood movies including Pearl Harbor starring Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale.

The replica Silver Spitfire was built by Stuart Bailey, 70, and his son Stefan, 30, and cost £42,500.

The firm, which employs just two other people, took less than four months to build the plane from scratch which is a replica of the real Silver Spitfire, currently flying around the world in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the D Day invasions.

The silver spitfire in position at Terminal 2, Heathrow airport. Pic: submittedThe silver spitfire in position at Terminal 2, Heathrow airport. Pic: submitted

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The plane was built using a fibre-glass mould and is an exact copy of the real thing - except it cannot fly.

The firm, which also builds fully working boats and is based on the Horizon industrial estate on Sutton Road, was founded by Stuart 30 years ago and has shipped its replicas as far as Australia.

The Catfield firm created replica planes used in the Hollywood movie Pearl Harbor. Pic: Touchstone PicturesThe Catfield firm created replica planes used in the Hollywood movie Pearl Harbor. Pic: Touchstone Pictures

"The Slver Spitfire is life-size and we made it in parts which were put together - we are really proud of it," Stefan said.

"Our replicas have starred in movies such as Pearl Harbour. I was still at school when it came out and I believe they put it on a lorry and drove it along to make the plane look like it was flying," said Stefan.

Craig Wick, MD of a design agency called Edge Retail, based in Leicester, installed the plane at Heathrow - with another Norfolk link. Craig was born and raised in Norwich, and on a trip to the county to visit his parents, he found GB Replicas. The plane was commissioned by Swiss firm IWC Watches, which is sponsoring the real Silver Spitfire flight.

Craig said: "I think it's great to see that a small business like GB Replicas are producing excellent products in Norfolk that are being displayed in some of the highest profile retail sites in the country."

Work on replica spitfires built by Catfield's GB Replicas.  Pic: submittedWork on replica spitfires built by Catfield's GB Replicas. Pic: submitted

The replica spitfire was craned into position at Heathrow with  minutes to spare. Pic: submittedThe replica spitfire was craned into position at Heathrow with minutes to spare. Pic: submitted

One of the replica planes created by GB Replicas, in Norway. Pic: submittedOne of the replica planes created by GB Replicas, in Norway. Pic: submitted

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