Company: Hong Kong Models
Product / Stock #: 01E015
Thank you to Hong Kong Models for providing an innovative and exceptional kit representing a legendary Royal Air Force aircraft, the first kit in a "Mossie, The Wooden Wonder" series. Thank you also to the IPMS Reviewer Corps staff members who do the hard work behind the scenes, getting us kits to review and publishing our work.
This review is last of a two-part review. In this review you will find a brief build summary and conclusion, followed by detailed build log and reference list.
The most striking aspect of the kit is the stunning one-piece molding of the wing, horizontal tail fins, and both forward and aft fuselage components. I can summarize the importance of this molding approach by saying that I had very little seam filling to do, both because of the minimal number of seams present and the excellent fit in nearly all cases.
Construction produced no major surprises, with the kit building up into a very solid model. Hong Kong Models designed major part joins in places where the real aircraft was likely to have similar panel joins. Two areas with unusual construction approaches are the tail plane-tail-wheel unit, and the engine nacelle units. The tail planes are a single large piece, fitted with a single-piece elevator set. The tail wheel and well are assembled in the tail plane group. The complete assembly was gently rotated into the back of the one-piece aft fuselage with an initially scary amount of pressure, followed by a very gratifying click. The completed engine nacelles snapped into the wing in a similar fashion with an equally scary and gratifying result. Much of the interior detail is molded in, rather than separate pieces. The overall level of detail is quite good. Photo-etch harness were malleable enough to be pressed into position to good effect.
The large pieces produce a very solid model with a fast build. However, some planning for effective assembly needs to be done by the kit builder. I did not consider how important dry-fitting was for some of the larger part details, like fillers and fillet pieces. The fuselage components, the landing gear-engine nacelle assemblies and the wing went together with no trouble. The trailing edges of the wing and the tail planes, and the leading edges of the control surfaces have strips to be glued in to complete the parts. The trailing edges have concave fillets with a relatively long and narrow profile, and the leading edge fillets are similar but convex. I did not take the time I needed to fit the parts effectively and found myself fiddling around making corrections to issues I should have caught. One installed the parts are great!
The only other caution area from my blunders is to consider that many hinges and attachment points are somewhat delicate. The flap hinges should very carefully tested and fitted before positioning, as should the pivot points for the ailerons and the elevators. If I had taken more time earlier in assembly to run the parts through thorough dry-fitting, I may have saved myself some trouble later.
None of the previous comments should be considered negatives to a very nice kit. The different design approach requires different planning and testing. I discovered this new approach concept sometimes after it was too late!
I recommend this kit highly! I enjoyed the new molding technologies and found them to be very good, requiring a slightly different planning approach. I stated in the pre-build review that I found it difficult to not work through the night building. That "problem" was indeed an issue. I am lucky to have built earlier HK kits and the Mosquito was a build at a different level. I completed version B, DZ637/P3-C, No. 692 Sqn, from Graveley during the spring of 1944, with the mammoth cookie bomb. I weathered the aircraft out to a worn night bomber. I am very pleased.
Thank you again to Hong Kong Models for providing IPMS with this review kit and for offering another excellent subject. I value your support of the scale modeling community. Thank you again to the Reviewer Corps, who allow me opportunities to build exciting kits like this one!
Pre-build work and general observations from the build
- Build is straight out of the box and but there is a tremendous potential for extra detailing.
- I discovered a wide range of colors and configurations in researching, particularly in the interior.
- I chose to go exactly with colors as called for, using equivalent paint brands as needed.
- 320 parts!
- Possible tubular fuselage and wing construction might make interior painting and interior mods tricky, but I did not find this a problem.
- Re-sealable bags on all but the largest sprues.
- Cartograf decals look great!
- Paint and decal symbology for placement is a bit confusing, but use of letters for paint and numbers for decals really helps reduce the confusion.
- Virtually no flash on some parts, but many small parts have light mold lines that are easily removed. I left most of them on if they would not be visible. The mold lines rarely interfered with fit.
- "Inverted assembly" instructions: the sequence is perfect for showing how parts go together, but make sure you dry fit and go through the larger assemblies. completely. I found sometime that with the more complex groups I was able to modify the sequence a bit to better use my skills (!).
- The parts seem to have very tight tolerances. In many cases, the alignment tabs on bulkheads, etc. benefit from sanding to reduce the depth. This allows just a little bit of wiggle room for later alignment.
- No figures were included in the review copy, but a very nice looking resin bonus figure set of a pilot and navigator is implied in the promotional materials. No access ladder was found.
- Part arrangement on the sprues is good. Often all the parts for a step come from one or two sprues.
- First decision point for version choice, A, B or C.
- Not much guidance in the draft instructions for painting details, recommend references.
- Instructions don't always match the part, but the confusion was easily resolved.
- PE parts have minimal fret attachment points, a good thing!
- Look carefully at the strap configurations.
- PE metal is easily bent into a reasonable shape.
- Molded in seat cushions are a bit odd, but the effect is good.
- Instrument face decals are a little bit tricky to put in (I'm not that steady...) but give a very nice effect. Decals released from the carrier sheet easily and were not brittle.
- Part T4 doesn't appear to mate with T43, and T5 & T43 don't fit in the spot for T4! T5 does!
- Parts T41 & T42 are filler plugs for seat bottoms and bulkhead backs.
- Be careful with angles and alignment on parts.
- No major trouble here.
- The cockpit module placement is enhanced by interior ribs on the fuselage.
- Inserting 17 and 18 was a little tricky, but not too bad.
- The cockpit module is perhaps better described as a cassette or plug-in, using a rabbeted (notched) joint to securely place the cockpit assembly in the forward fuselage "tube". The hatch tunnel lined up perfectly with the fuselage opening.
- Very slick and solid!
- Unused clear parts suggest later kit versions.
- Decision point on painting canopy framing, in the absence of good reference photos. [later note: every color photo I found had British Interior Green framing.]
- More cockpit area details are added later on the top of the wing in step 31.
- Rabbeted (notched) joints for parts, especially the plex nose are very solid.
- Left off clear parts for later.
- Canopy framing is very nice.
- In hindsight, I think it would be better to fit and assemble the entire canopy system at this time, then add the unit later. I had troubles with lineup up later and would have had more latitude at this step. Live and learn!
- Pin end on outside of aileron on part T6 was nipped off by accident. Even when I looked at the source sprue I couldn't find the pin, so be careful.
- Parts T22 an T23 are a little unconventional in assembly, but the included cross-section view really helps, I was able to get them to sit in place well enough while dry-fitting to let me glue them in alignment and in place.
- Fillets K9 and K10 require a bit of sanding to snug in properly.
- Trimmed off remaining hinge pin, as it was nearly impossible to get the pins seated per the inset drawings after parts K20 and K19 were installed as shown
- Tail strut and tail wheel need to be put in at this time, although some trimming and modifications might allow post painting install later.
- Tire really does have two outside ribs, based on reviews of several restored Mosquitos of various versions and a read about ground-handling tests.
- Single piece connected elevators is a good design.
- No difficulty here, but certainly follow the suggestion of sliding and rotating the stabilizer assembly in and then forward.
- The H14 hatch does have a best fit, so try it for the best fit before gluing.
- Held off lights for later install (W7, 8, 9).
- No assembly problems, tight fit of bomb bay sub assembly, make sure the lip on M9 fits properly on edge of the fuselage bottom.
- I cleaned up and otherwise prepped the assembly of the aft and forward fuselage parts, but elected to not glue the parts together until later assembly to the wing. The joint looked too delicate to risk breakage and re-gluing.
- The tail fin fillet (K12) fits deeply into the fin.
- Hinge pin worked best when install into the rudder side first under the fillet on the leading edge.
- Securely glue K4, not much glue area.
- Start of the undercarriage stuff.
- I kept glue away from the pin where T26 comes in to allow anticipated movement in later steps.
- Make sure the long struts are right side up!
- The tubing (parts D10, D13, D20, D34) is very delicate, and the instructions are not quite clear enough. The assembled-view drawing (which doesn't show D15) is helpful. The assembly order that seemed to work best for understanding and gluing-up was D34, then D10, D13, and D20.
- This is another argument for taking beautiful CAD drawings and adding better perspective drawings rotated to show assembly more clearly, but a minor point really.
- This step requires a fine "hand-logic" coordination.
- Same thoughts as step 11, pretty much the same materials.
- Tires are slightly flattened, not over done.
- Make sure you pay attention to the parts, while many are very similar. There are subtle differences. Consider how I know this...
- Get the angle correct on D25. Another D25 is also used in a later step tapering in the opposite direction.
- Make sure the loop ends on parts D1, D2 gets over the pin on the main struts, it is very solid when that happens.
- Love those pin and sockets!
- A rerun of step 11, for opposite side.
- A rerun of step 12, for opposite side.
- A rerun of step 13, for opposite side.
- A rerun of step 14, for opposite side.
- A rerun of step 15, for opposite side.
- Engines! Built as a pair, all parts off of sprue D.
- Assembly is very straight forward, many parts assembled then painted black with remaining aluminum-painted parts added.
- Good joining arrangement, but the prop shaft mount (D43) might be a little delicate. I glued the part heavily for strength.
- I am not planning on having the engine panels off.
- The exhaust piping is straight forward, just fit carefully!
- Extra parts suggest different versions.
- Attaching the "fenders" was a little tricky. I found that using slow-cure CA on the strut mount tabs for the fenders allowed positioning of the curved braces and "wicking" of thin CA between the fender and the 2 braces.
- I did not mount the engine to the nacelle at this time, waiting until the nacelle is mounted on the wing.
- I did not attach D40 for the same reason, electing to wait until the nacelles are mounted on the wing.
- I enlarged a copy of step to match the layout dimension for drilling the mounting holes for the wing tanks.
- Option A does not use wing tanks, so don't drill them out if you are doing this one.
- Inserting the fillet into the trailing edge (parts K13, K14, K17, and K18) was problematic, careful and complete fit is important I discovered.
- I worked from one end to the other putting in all parts (above plus K5, K6, K7, K8). I also used clothes pins to hold the wing tight on the fillets to keep any flex from popping previously glued materials.
- This was the trickiest part of the kit so far. Tucking the fillets in was a really balancing act.
- Parts Z1, Z2, the nacelle tops, were saved for later install.
- Installing the bomb bay/fuel tanks compartment M8 before anything else in this step might have helped stabilize the trailing edges.
- Clear parts saved for later post-painting install.
- The fillets here are more convex and fit more readily into the one piece ailerons and flaps.
- The aileron hinges are separate piece installed in step 26 and the flap hinges are installed in step 28.
- Part D23 and D24 are flap hinges, and they are very delicate. I suggest trimming off the curved hinge "pin" and gluing the flap in the desired position. This is the only negative discovered up to this point. The control surfaces on the wing and the tail may be set to a number of positions. The small hinge with small gluing areas seem to be a bit fragile. I fussed with them for quite a while and am not very happy.
- I am starting to see enough flash in some of the narrower areas to really reaffirm the need for dry-fitting.
- Clear parts saved for later post-painting install. The wing tip light/lenses fit very snugly and securely post-painting.
- Wingtips M6 and M5 are reversed on the instructions. M5 is shown on the port wingtip and only fits on starboard. Small tabs on the wing tip insides help.
- I discovered there is just enough wiggle room to pop the installed flaps and ailerons off. I chose to glue the hinges on separately, trim the pins, and glue the surface on after painting.
- Before installing the ailerons and the flaps, I painted the interior parts British interior green.
- The fillets and control surface install is a little bit different that the traditional style because of the one piece wing, I finished with a very solid wing structure at the end of step 28.
- All parts fit well.
- The PE screen snugged quite nicely into the frames.
- The frames have very well-designed mounting pins that replicate the full size equivalents nicely.
- Did not attach engine nacelles or engine covers from step 29, will wait until after major assembly.
- I did glue up wing tanks and attach without incident.
- I did not button up the engine nacelle covers at this time.
- Note the option on the exhaust shrouds/covers. Marking option A appears to use the flash cover, while B and C do not. I found this a little bit odd, since option B is in night colors. Will need to check the references on this one, but it appears that the cover are an easy add-on later.
- Part T5, with T43 glued on the back, snugged right into the locating slots on top of the wing.
- The props and hubs will be attached after all assembly.
- At this step I first attached the forward fuselage to the wing, followed by the tail section of the fuselage. This ordering allowed me plenty of access to the wing root joints. I put a bead of thick CA long the wing root joint from the inside, adding strength to the joint.
- I added the flaps and ailerons. I trimmed the small curved pins for the flap hinges. So far this area is the only really trouble area on the build. The small parts that hold the surfaces in are not too stout.
- Mounting the engines was not especially tricky, with the frame brackets attaching with pins and sockets.
- I was able to dry fit the nacelles with extended undercarriage, the engines, and the entire nacelle cover set such that the assembly stayed together well enough that I could wick Tenax and CA to cement the assembly in place.
- Step 33B
- Steps 33A to 43A are for a standard bomb bay as represented by version A.
- Version B and C have a bulged bomb bay described in the "B" steps
- There is an assumption that the model will be completed gear down and bomb bay open. I don't think it will be difficult to close everything up if needed.
- L4 does not have any locating pins or slots. Recommend fitting other parts first.
- Cookie bomb went together well in later steps.
- Panels H12 and H11 have very solid tab that gives a solid click when in place.
- These panels complete the fuselage.
- I did not install any of the door "hinges" until after painting, easier to mask!
- "Front" is not always to the left in the drawings. The inset showing parts H11, M11, M12 and T31 is "nose right".
Steps 36B and 37B
- Assembly of the leading-edge radiators.
- The radiators are not identical, so pay attention to which parts belong to each radiator! The detail on the instructions helped with keeping the parts straight after I failed to notice this distinction.
- Installation of the radiators might be better done before the engine installation. I suggest trying this out in your dry fit.
Steps 39B through 43B
- These steps all involved adding the hinge arms to the gear and bomb bay doors.
- The bomb bay doors fit very securely with the retracting arms and hinges.
- The gear door assembly was a solid and secure as any kit I've built, very nice!
- The radio mast, T1 is the only part installed in this step and it fit flawlessly.
- I felt like I was raising a commissioning staff.
Decal and Painting Notes
- Stencils for version B have an "a" suffix, e.g., stencil 29 is in black for version A and C, with stencil 29a in red for version B.
- Very little excess carrier film and Cartograf decals responded well to Microscale solutions, sort of! See the next note.
Not Related to the Kit
I top-coated with Vallejo gloss varnish, decaled, and followed with a coat of Vallejo flat varnish. All other colors were Testor MM acrylics or Tamiya acrylics. I found that positioning time for wet decals was a bit shorter than I expected, but not too bad. I had some silvering issues, particularly with the warning stripes above the wing coolers, but I consider that problem to be builder error. Likewise with the flat coat, I found a serious dandruff-like effect on the final coat. I have never had any issues with Vallejo product before, so I will also put that on as builder error as well. Weathering seemed to clean the mess up, ironically enough.
- Franks, Richard A., 2013, The de Havilland Mosquito, A Comprehensive Guide for the Modeller, Second Edition, MDF 20, SAM Publications, ISBN 978-1-906959-3-33
- MacKay, Ron 1998, Walk Around, de Havilland Mosquito, Walk Around Number 15, Squadron/Signal Publications, ISBN 0-89747-396-5
- Scutts, Jerry, 1992, Mosquito in Action, Part 1, Aircraft Number 127, Squadron/Signal Publications, ISBN 0-89747-283-7