De Havilland Mosquito FB Mk VI - Part 1
Thank you to Tamiya, Inc. for providing this wonderful kit for review and to the IPMS Reviewer Corps for allowing me to document my build experiences. Sharing this review with the scale modeling community would not be possible without the exceptional support of the IPMS Reviewer Corps. Thank you everyone!
The Mosquito is one of my favorite aircraft with its underdog success story and exceptional operational history. Tamiya’s representation of the fighter-bomber version of the Mosquito is also exceptional. The following review is a compilation of the planning, preparation, and subsequent anticipation of a very enjoyable build of a de Havilland Mosquito FB Mk.IV aircraft. Please look for a complete build review soon, where I will report on how this elegantly packed kit progressed to large-scale representation of the “Mossie.”
Presentation (how the kit looks in the box)
The kit arrived in a well-organized 22 x 14 x 3.5 inch cardboard box. All of the sprues had individual poly bags and no detached or loose parts. The photo-etch (PE) frets were also enclosed in poly bags on a thin red cardboard sheet, in turn glued to a cardboard “thwart” or divider. The PE frets were removed from a somewhat uncooperative glue string with the persuasion of a pocketknife. The instruction manual and decal sheets were tucked beneath the sprues and were well protected. The sensitive clear parts were also well protected without any transport damage. The box cover has beautiful artwork and content description. My first impression on opening the box was simple joy, briefly tempered by the apparent complexity, followed by a healthy sense of required careful planning.
The kit has over 700 parts on 26 gray or clear sprues! The 2 PE fret have raised-relief etching on what I believe is soft stainless steel sheet. The two frets have 75 parts. A nice option is provided with sprues F (x2) and E duplicated in solid and clear parts for the engine nacelles. Panel lines and surfaces details are finely engraved. I found little flash and no sign of mold release.
The most exciting aspect of the kit is the sheer number of small, highly detailed parts. Many flaps, panels, engine parts, instruments, ordnance, framework and undercarriage parts are evident. One advantage of all the small parts and subassemblies is that separate parts will allow more effective painting of individual components. However, this is my skill-set speaking and other, more refined and developed skill-sets may not find this feature as important. Molded-in features can be difficult to detail paint! I don’t always develop a detailed paint order or schedule for efficient airbrushing, but I am anticipating listing out parts to be airbrushed on the sprues.
Instructions and Other Materials
The instruction manual is just that, a manual, not a folded up sheet. You will find 52 black-and-white pages in Japanese, English, German, and French, including a brief history of the Mosquito FB Mk. VI, the usual cautions about paint and such, sprue and photo-etch part diagrams, stencil placement maps for all three versions, and specific decal placement guides for two of the three versions. Version A is not illustrated in the instruction manual and appears on a 22 3/8 x 14 3/8 inch (515 x 365 mm) full-color decal placement guide as aircraft HX922, the “cover bird.” Version B depicts RAF 305 (Polish Squadron, Lasham Airfield, Spring, 1944), and version C depicts a natural metal RAAF aircraft (No. 1 Squadron, Labuan, Borneo, August, 1945.) A supplemental 11-page, color historical narrative covers all versions of the Mosquito, with color cockpit, interior, engine and other images from provided by the Military Aviation Museum of Virginia Beach and the de Havilland Aircraft Museum of London.
The manual has excellent crisp assembly drawings and illustrations throughout. The 105 construction steps appear to be very thorough and follow a logical progression from the inside out. Small variations are well described and appear to be very straightforward. I am intrigued by the use of magnets in some panels and covers. The magnets are very small and seem to mate with small PE plate. The intent of these extra magnet components must be to allow easy panel removal for display or other changes. I am looking forward to testing this feature during construction.
The decal sheet allows one of three versions to be represented. The 3 versions are listed above. Some very nice features of the large national insignia are notched and 2-piece decals. Correct decal positioning should be quite effective with the notches and pieces, reducing decaling stress on the builder. Excellent stencils are included with the stencil positioning clearly indicated on a separate placement guide. The stencil are nearly all readable under magnification. I was astonished at the clarity of the air chart decal for the navigator’s chart board. The decals are printed by Tamiya and appear to be a good thickness.
I recommend this kit highly, even though I haven’t started it! There is no doubt that sticker shock is a factor with this new release, so I kept that perspective in mind throughout this review. One could get more kits for $281 certainly, but the documentation and quality of the parts suggest that probable excellent fit, high-level of detail, and pure enjoyment will make this kit well worth every cent. The kit shows such allure on opening that I am finding it difficult to not work through the night on this project. I am lucky to have built earlier Tamiya kits and the new Mosquito promises to be a build on a new level.
I will complete version A, HX922, the RNZAF aircraft from 487 Squadron, as flown in Operation Jericho. The raid resulting in a prison break at Ameins on 18 FEB 44 is one of the Mosquito’s many epic performances.
Thank you again to Tamiya, Inc., and the IPMS Reviewer Corps! I appreciate everything you do for the hobby.