Airfix 1/48 de Havilland Mosquito B.XVI/PR.XVI Kit First Look
By John Doerr
|Date of Review||September 2008||Manufacturer||Airfix|
|Subject||de Havilland Mosquito B.XVI/PR.XVI||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||7112||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Detail improvement over previous releases, only Mk XVI kit||Cons||Detail could be better, raised panel lines|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$34.50|
I do not believe that any other aircraft has gone from being unwanted and rejected to mastering so many roles. The de Havilland concept of building a light bomber from non-strategic materials (wood) was rejected when initially proposed. The reasoning behind the concept that was pound for pound, wood is as strong as aluminum, there were adequate supplies and an army of skilled workers available. The company did not accept the rejection and continued with the project, building the prototype at its own expense. The flight trials completely vindicated the concept and a true wonder weapon was born.
The Mosquito went from an unarmed light bomber to fighter-bomber, night fighter, strike fighter, photo reconnaissance and full fledged bomber able to carry a 4,000 pound bomb. In all the roles thrust upon it, the wooden wonder excelled. It became a special irritant to Herman Goering, and as far as I know the only allied aircraft that rated a unique and special effort by the Luftwaffe to combat it. If imitation is the sincerest compliment, then the decision to have Dr. Kurt Tank build a German Moskito (Ta 154) is the highest praise imaginable.
While a superb performer, the Mossie was not invulnerable. If caught by single engine fighters it could be vanquished, but usually only if the fighters had height and speed in hand. A special stripped version of He 219 night fighter was built to combat the nocturnal Mosquitoes. I know of no other allied aircraft that commanded the single-minded effort to defeat it.
If that was not enough, part of the technology developed to build the Mosquito lives on today. According to one author, a special two-part glue was developed to bind the plywood sheets that formed a large part of the airplane. This was the first known use of Epoxy.
The kit comes in a very sturdy tray and lid type box, which is standard with all the newer Airfix 1/48 scale kits. It is molded in gray plastic with a combination of raised and recessed details. The panel lines, screws, and fasteners are raised while the appropriate scoops, vents and outlines of the control surfaces are recessed. There are eight trees, six gray and two clear. The trees come in three bags, three gray trees per bag and the clear parts are bagged separately. None of the trees contain any identifying letters or markings, but the numbers are clearly stamped next to the parts.
While the level of detail is an improvement over most of the Airfix kits in this scale, especially in the cockpit, it still is not equal to the other Mosquito models in this scale. While it is better, I would want to add improvements. The main problem to me is lack of any detail on the gauges in the instrument panel. Fortunately Mike Grant does have his line of gauge decals
The clear parts are very clear but slightly thicker than I would like, and the various blisters certainly distort any viewing through them. On the positive side, I could read the instructions through the flatter areas of the main canopy. There are two main canopies, one with and one without the blister in the center of the canopy roof. The instructions do not make clear that the flat topped canopy is for the B.XVI version.
The kit has the options of building either the B XVI or PR XVI. The options included the bulged bomb bay and 4,000 pound “cookie” or the smooth bay with clear camera lens portholes. On the negative side the both are one piece units that must be cut if you want to display them open. The aft fairing is attached to the bulged doors and must also be cut off. While not difficult it represents one more chance for me to make a mistake. Also the fuselage camera portholes are flashed over and require drilling out. This includes two that are on the aircraft centerline seam, which makes drilling tricky
The kit includes decals for three options. They are a USAAF and South African PR. XVI in Italy and a RAF B.XVI in England.
There was also a clear tree with flat windshield FB style canopy included. There was no mention of it in the instructions. I do not know whether that was intentional or free bonus mistake during packaging
The instructions are the current standard, multi-language, international, picture type. Each company has their own format and this one is standard Airfix. The 27 step drawings are clear and unambiguous. The instructions include three nicely done three-view drawings. For some reason the Airfix painting guide only gives Humbrol numbers. Most other companies include either the proper paint names or a chart where you can find the names and/or several popular paint brand stock numbers. In order to find out I had to go on line and copy a chart of the Humbrol numbers.
All in all, I am satisfied with the kit so far. I do have the other Mosquito in that scale, and it makes the Airfix offering appear quite inferior. Had not that kit been on the market I would be happy with the Airfix offering. If you don’t want the Airfix kit and want to do a B/PR XVI, then you have to get the slightly more expensive Tamiya B/PR IV offering and do the conversion yourself