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Airfix 1/72 scale de Havilland Mosquito B.XVI plastic model kit review

This kit rivals Tamiya’s in quality, and might even be better
Kit:A04023 // Scale:1/72 // Price:$32.99
Airfix (Sample courtesy of mfr.)
Excellent fit and engineering; good detail
Lack of locator pins for main landing gear
Injection-molded plastic (blue-gray, clear); 161 parts; decals
Originally, de Havilland designed the Mosquito as a high-speed bomber capable of outrunning opponents, and, as such, it carried no defensive armament. The last major Mosquito variant was the B.XVI, which incorporated a pressurized cabin for high altitudes and could carry a 4,000-pound bomb load. Entering service in 1944, a total of 402 were built.

The Mosquito has been well-covered in the modeling world, with plenty of kits available over the years. Airfix continues to update its catalog, replacing some older kits with newly-tooled versions. This new 1/72 scale de Havilland Mosquito B.XVI kit features fine, recessed engraving, a fully detailed bomb bay, and options for either ground or in-flight display (no stand included). Markings for two different versions, both in the standard ocean gray and green camouflage on top with either gray or black underneath. Don’t let the 112 steps of instructions intimidate you; They’re broken down into clearly defined stages, with good detail paint callouts along the way.

The Airfix Mosquito’s well-appointed cockpit starts with the floor, which also incorporates the roof of the bomb bay and wing supports. All the necessary bulkheads, radio gear, controls, and panels are included, along with some nicely-molded details inside the fuselage. I used Tamiya Cockpit Green (No. XF-71) for the base color, with details picked out as instructed. A decal highlights the instrument panel details, and there is also a pilot figure.

Mating the fuselage halves reveals a near-perfect fit, with the cockpit assembly securely between. The mounting tabs for the tail planes overlap with each other, ensuring perfect alignment. With some minor work, the separate rudder can be posed off-center.

The only part of the build that was a little fiddly was the main landing gear. There are no locating pins on the cross braces, just simple butt joints. Using the lower wing section as a jig to hold things in place as instructed helps, but I would have preferred something a little more definite. As a plus, the wheel hubs are separate, so no masking is required.

Interestingly, the exhaust manifolds are molded in two parts, with alternating pipes on each part. It gives better definition to the pipes and certainly makes cleaning up any mold seams easier. Another nice feature is that the wingtips are molded as clear pieces, so there is no need to try to glue on tiny, clear navigation lights.

Assembling the engine nacelles went without issue. They consist of several pieces, but the fit was excellent, as was the fit of the completed unit to the wing. The detail in the main gear wells is also very good. Sliding the wing onto the support spars made for a sturdy connection to the fuselage, and the excellent fit showed no need for filler.

I used Model Master RAF Dark Green and Ocean Gray enamels (OOP) for the topside camouflage. For the underside, I used black Mr. Color Finishing Surfacer 1500. The decals worked perfectly, but most of the red stencil decals underneath are nearly impossible to see.

I recently built the Tamiya 1/72 Mosquito B Mk.IV, and I have to say that this new Airfix 1/72 scale de Havilland Mosquito B.XVI kit stacks up very favorably. The Tamiya Mosquito may have a very slight edge in surface detail, but construction-wise, I think the Airfix kit goes together better, and it has the full bomb bay. I don’t think I could give it a much better recommendation than that!
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