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Tamiya 1/48 scale de Havilland Mosquito FB Mk.VI/NF Mk.II

Kit: No. 61062
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Tamiya, distributed by Tamiya America, 2 Orion, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4200, phone 800-826-4922
Price: $34
Comments: Injection molded, 162 parts, decals.

Arguably World War II's most versatile aircraft, the de Havilland Mosquito served as a day and night bomber, a strategic reconnaissance aircraft, a night fighter, and a fighter bomber. Other aircraft also performed these missions, but the Mosquito excelled in all. All this from an aircraft built mainly of plywood!

Tamiya's new kit can be built as an FB Mk.VI fighter-bomber or an NF Mk.II night fighter. While the separate forward fuselage suggests that Tamiya will release an early bomber or an upgraded night fighter, the nacelle design suggests that the later, longer engines with two-stage superchargers will be less likely.

The kit builds cleanly into a beautiful model with little effort. Follow the instructions carefully - you risk missing a few important steps if you build by instinct alone. I started with a quick application of Floquil Military British Interior Grey-Green on all interior surfaces (including wheel wells). The kit offers options for three aircraft; I chose to build the Coastal Command FB Mk.VI of 143 Squadron, and so drilled the wings to accept the missile launch rails.

I left off the landing gear and other external details until after the camouflage had been applied. The landing gear itself is the most complete and accurate on any Mosquito kit to date. Both the early (part No. E10) and later (E9) brake systems are provided for the main wheels. Read the instructions here; the earlier slotted hubs are designed for use only with the kit's NF Mk.II option, and then should face the aircraft's left side on each wheel. For each option, detailers will want to work on the mudguards, adding lightening holes and removing the forward strut-attachment bar.

The highly detailed cockpit includes an optional radar scope for the night fighter. Detailers will want to add the prominent cables and wires to the cockpit walls, but nearly everything else is provided. There are decals for the raised-detail instrument panels; with patient applications of decal solvent, they look great.

Tamiya also includes seat belt decals, though these would be more effective if applied to aluminum foil, trimmed, and glued in place. The crew entry hatch is meant to be displayed open (at a right angle to the fuselage) with the telescoping boarding ladder deployed. I recommend removing the two hatch rings that hold the ladder in place. If you remove the hinges and close the hatch, you'll need to scratchbuild a compressed ladder to store inside the door.

The canopy is a high point, but study the instructions in step 19. Since some of the Mosquito's canopy frames appear on the inside only, Tamiya etched the canopy's inside surface and provided decals for these frames. You might also wish to cut away the canopy escape hatch to improve the view of all that cockpit detail.

While four .303-caliber guns and their ammo boxes are visible beneath a removable nose hatch, modelers will need to come up with their own feed chutes to connect the ammo boxes to the guns. The nicely detailed bomb bay can be opened for the fighter bomber (but not for the night fighter). Inside are fuel tanks, 500-pound bombs and their racks, and the butt ends of the forward 20mm cannons. The cannons themselves are not included, and their access hatch is designed to be glued closed. Aft of the bomb bay, you'll want to use a little putty and sandpaper to cover the small transparency that represents a non-existent camera position.

The propellers are held in place with poly caps, allowing you to slide them on later. Two types of propellers are included - the paddle-blade props were used on my Coastal Command example. The kit also includes alternate wing tips, with the two-light wing tips for the night fighter and the single-light tip for the fighter bomber. The tips didn't fit well, and I had to fill and sand.

While the completed model looks like a Mosquito, I recommend flattening the tires. In the photos of the real aircraft we see most often, it seems to sit a bit closer to the ground through a combination of aircraft weight and the soft ground found on grass strips.

I built my kit as NE-D (RS625) of 143 Squadron, Banff Wing, RAF Coastal Command. There have been several interpretations of this aircraft's camouflage, and I like Extra Dark Sea Grey with Sky, a color combination established by early 1945. The kit provides eight individually mounted rockets, which may have been an early configuration for this aircraft. Photos show NE-D with two 100-gallon drop tanks and a tiered rocket installation. Although not mentioned in the instructions, two whip antennas should be mounted along the fuselage spine.

The kit's second FB Mk.VI is EG-T (MM417) of the RAF's 487 (New Zealand) Squadron. The kit provides two 500-pound bombs to mount on racks beneath the wings, the ordnance seen in several photos of this aircraft. The camouflage is a disruptive scheme of Ocean Grey and Dark Green over Medium Sea Grey. The prop spinners should be Medium Sea Grey, not Ocean Grey as in the instructions. As with the Coastal Command Mk.VI, this aircraft should have two whip antennas along the fuselage spine.

The kit's third option is RS-B (W4087), an early NF Mk.II of 157 Squadron. Early aircraft like W4087 were built without a strake or access hatch on the right aft fuselage; to be accurate, you should remove these features. NF Mk.IIs also require an extra set of diagonal aerials on the right wing. Check references for the location. The early night fighters were painted with "RDM-2A Special Night," an extremely flat, sooty black finish that slowed the aircraft by an astounding 26 mph! (This early camouflage will be a wonderful challenge to reproduce in scale.) The fuselage roundel of this airframe should be a 42"-diameter Type A1, not the ones provided.

Don't toss the extra parts. Those 50-gallon wing tanks can be useful for several squadrons' fighter bombers, as can part H3, the ventral trailing antenna sleeve. The retraction gear for this antenna, located to the observer's right, is included in the cockpit, though it wasn't mounted on any of the featured aircraft.

Tamiya's Mosquito is an easy build, within the capabilities of most modelers. Mine took about 17 hours to complete. My references included Pilot's Notes for Mosquito FB VI, FB XVIII, and FB 26 (Air Data Publications), Mosquito Manual, Vol. 6, RAF Museum Series (Arms and Armour). I'm looking forward to building several more of these Mossies; now where did I put my BOAC airliner decals?

- Dana Bell


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