De Havilland Mosquito FB Mk VI - Part 1

Published: July 19th, 2015     
Product Image
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Robert Benson, IPMS# 44038
Scale: 1/32
Company: Tamiya
Price: $281.00
Product / Stock #: 60326

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.  

Decals

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.  

Conclusion

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.

 

  • A cardboard “thwart” separates the bagged sprues. Decals, instructions and a reference manual were found beneath the sprues. The PE fret bags were glued to the top of the thwart in the upper right.
    A cardboard “thwart” separates the bagged sprues. Decals, instructions and a reference manual were found beneath the sprues. The PE fret bags were glued to the top of the thwart in the upper right.
  • Three sets of printed materials are included in the kit. The hardware bag with a 2-inch long screwdriver is shown for scale.
    Three sets of printed materials are included in the kit. The hardware bag with a 2-inch long screwdriver is shown for scale.
  • This image shows the first two assembly manual pages with a very high density of detail and clarity of the instruction manual.
    This image shows the first two assembly manual pages with a very high density of detail and clarity of the instruction manual.
  • This image shows the level of detail and clarity of the instruction manual. Note the seated navigator, whose decal map is shown in the decal detail image.
    This image shows the level of detail and clarity of the instruction manual. Note the seated navigator, whose decal map is shown in the decal detail image.
  • Multi-media materials include some non-traditional components. The screwdriver tip is on a stack of disc-like magnets in two sizes. The screws, nuts, and bolts are used in construction and the magnets are applied to the flame dampers on the exhaust pipes and the radiators. The screwdriver is 2 inches long.
    Multi-media materials include some non-traditional components. The screwdriver tip is on a stack of disc-like magnets in two sizes. The screws, nuts, and bolts are used in construction and the magnets are applied to the flame dampers on the exhaust pipes and the radiators. The screwdriver is 2 inches long.
  • Decals for 3 markings versions, high-resolution stencils, and a masking sheet are included. The masks are not pre-cut.
    Decals for 3 markings versions, high-resolution stencils, and a masking sheet are included. The masks are not pre-cut.
  • Decal 143 is an air chart showing the Strait of Dover, and if you really stretch your imagination, the location of Amiens, France, is visible on the lower right. Note that this decal is only about 7 x 10 mm and is applied to the navigator’s map board. See the image of the instruction manual where the navigator is shown.
    Decal 143 is an air chart showing the Strait of Dover, and if you really stretch your imagination, the location of Amiens, France, is visible on the lower right. Note that this decal is only about 7 x 10 mm and is applied to the navigator’s map board. See the image of the instruction manual where the navigator is shown.
  • One of two highly-polished photoetch frets with detail parts.
    One of two highly-polished photoetch frets with detail parts.
  • One of two highly-polished photoetch frets with detail parts.
    One of two highly-polished photoetch frets with detail parts.
  • Note the very stout wing spar with solid engine mount panels. The details are excellent. A good example is  the instrument bodies projecting from the panel back in the left central part of the image.
    Note the very stout wing spar with solid engine mount panels. The details are excellent. A good example is the instrument bodies projecting from the panel back in the left central part of the image.
  • The wing panels are in a traditional top and bottom format and holes for pylons or drop tanks will need to be drilled per final configuration.
    The wing panels are in a traditional top and bottom format and holes for pylons or drop tanks will need to be drilled per final configuration.
  • Exceptional engine part detail and complexity is shown here.
    Exceptional engine part detail and complexity is shown here.
  • Exceptional interior and fuselage detail is shown here. Not the prominent joint tabs on the forward end of the fuselage halves.
    Exceptional interior and fuselage detail is shown here. Not the prominent joint tabs on the forward end of the fuselage halves.
  • Multi-media materials include some non-traditional components. The screwdriver tip is on a stack of disc-like magnets in two sizes. The screws, nuts, and bolts are used in construction and the magnets are applied to the flame dampers on the exhaust pipes and the radiators. The screwdriver is 2 inches long.
    Multi-media materials include some non-traditional components. The screwdriver tip is on a stack of disc-like magnets in two sizes. The screws, nuts, and bolts are used in construction and the magnets are applied to the flame dampers on the exhaust pipes and the radiators. The screwdriver is 2 inches long.
  • Exceptional cockpit detail and fine surface engraving is shown here. Note the textured cover at the control column base.
    Exceptional cockpit detail and fine surface engraving is shown here. Note the textured cover at the control column base.
  • Finely engraved surface detail as shown here is prevalent throughout the kit.
    Finely engraved surface detail as shown here is prevalent throughout the kit.
  • The part for assembling the tire are shown here. Tire “bodies are to the right, with “sidewalls” shown directly above. Individual tread segments or sections are visible in the lower-middle image.
    The part for assembling the tire are shown here. Tire “bodies are to the right, with “sidewalls” shown directly above. Individual tread segments or sections are visible in the lower-middle image.
  • The U. S. export version of the kit has clear plastic engine cover parts, should you want to show the engine detail.
    The U. S. export version of the kit has clear plastic engine cover parts, should you want to show the engine detail.
  • The U. S. export version of the kit has clear plastic engine cover parts, should you want to show the engine detail.
    The U. S. export version of the kit has clear plastic engine cover parts, should you want to show the engine detail.

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