De Havilland Mosquito PR.XVI
Airfix has re-released their Mosquito PR XVI, this time on a D-Day Anniversary edition. Make no mistake this kit is no “new molds” from 2015. In the box you have a full Mosquito FB VI (dated in 1980) with extra sprues molded in the mid-2000s to be able to finish it as a PR.XVI. As such you have a mix of vintage molds (1980, mid-2000) with some parts having raised panel lines; other parts having recessed panel lines.
Construction starts, like most airplanes do, with the cockpit. Note there were a few ejection pin marks that I choose to fill and sand in the inside of the fuselages. They might not be visible once the canopy is in place but I wasn’t sure so I choose to be worry rather than sorry. You are provided a mix of new (IP) and old parts for the cockpit (seats and some radio boxes). The truth is that with a bit of paint I cannot tell the difference between the new and the old parts inside the cockpit.
Before you can close the fuselage you have to open up the holes for the PR windows. That was something that created some issues. Basically I was not able to open up the holes in a way that fitted the clear parts. Honestly I don’t know what the problem was, if the clear parts, the plastic part or me. I got the side camera hole just fine, but the other two openings were such a poor fit to the clear parts that I decided to putty them over and decided to call my model a “field mod” without two of the downward facing cameras.
Closing the fuselage presented no real issues, just some minor filling and sanding to remove the seams. Adding the elevators was easy (those are very old parts, with raised panel lines) but the fit to the newer fuselage is good.
Then the wings were tackled… oh the wings! They basically tackled me. I ran into two issues here, one of them was that the wingroot fits was horrible. Sorry but I have no other words to describe it. The other issue is the poor fit of the engine nacelles to the wings.
However there is a very easy solution for both. You just need to square up the forward inner wingroot (see picture) to improve the wingroot fit. For the engine nacelles fit to the lower wing just use some spreaders (made out of leftover sprue) to improve the fit. You might still need some filler in both areas but it will be a very minor amount of filler. Once these issues were solved, I just did some minor sanding here and there to prepare the model for painting.
This boxing is the D-Day Anniversary edition and the D-Day stripes look great in a Mossie. Sadly there are no D-Day stripe decals, nor even a template in the instructions. Just what the width of the strips needs to be. Masking the wings was relatively easy but masking the fuselage stripes was difficult. I did an ok job, but certainly not perfect. Perhaps similar to what ground crews had to do in field conditions before June 6th. Airfix: next time please include D-Day stripes or at least a template for the masks. It is a D-Day edition, I don’t think it is much to ask for.
Once the main paint job was completed I Futured the model and started to work with the decals. They are thick and had issues conforming to the surfaces. I tried Microset/sol to no avail. Then I use Solvaset, which helped, but marred the decals. After the main decals were in place, I gave up. I did not even try to deal with all the stencils you are provided with.
Final assembly presented few issues. The propeller and the spinners are nicely molded and fit great. The clear part of the canopy, not so much. There is a gap I wish I would have noticed during construction as to address it then, not after painting.
In summary: This kit has some fit issues. As such I cannot give it a stellar recommendation. At the same time this kit has parts that are about 25-yr old and the “newer” parts are about 10-yr old. So the issues I had are the issues you would expect of a kit of this vintage. On the positive side this is the only PR.XVI out-of-the-box and you get plenty of spare parts for your box (remember there is a full FB VI is included in this box).
I leave up to you if your desire for a PR.XVI is strong enough as to be willing to deal with the fit issues I described in this review –including the solutions I found. I know I wanted to build this kit and I did. I am glad to have it in my collection, seating next to the other PR (Hurricane and Hornet) I have.
I would like to thank Airfix USA, Hornby Models and IPMS/USA for the review sample.