Tamiya 1/48 Mosquito FB.VI/NF.II Kit First Look
|Date of Review||May 2005||Manufacturer||Tamiya|
|Subject||Mosquito FB Mk.VI/NF Mk.II||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||61062||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Gun-nose fighter-bomber or night intruder||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$34.00|
The de Havilland Company had a concept for a light bomber whose only defense was speed. With war looming on the horizon, the emphasis was placed on developing the aircraft from non-strategic materials - wood. The only significant metal in the design of the de Havilland Model 98 Mosquito was with the engines and landing gear.
While the Air Ministry was initially cool on the concept, a single champion authorized the production of a single prototype at the end of 1939 and the prototype first flew 11 months later. When the Air Ministry saw the Mosquito literally accelerate away from their top fighter, the Spitfire, orders started straight away.
Powered by a pair of Merlin engines, the clean lines of the Mosquito made the aircraft the fastest aircraft in the skies for most of the war. Its ample volume allowed for the airframe to be adapted to a wide variety of missions, making the Mosquito the first multi-role combat aircraft. The Mosquito carried a crew of two. In the bomber version, the second crewman doubled as flight engineer and bombardier. Its glass nose provided an ideal sighting platform for getting bombs on target.
The Mosquito fighter/bomber and night fighter configurations were nearly identical with the glass nose of the bomber version replaced with a solid nose containing four Browning .303 machine guns and the forward weapons bay loaded with four Hispano 20mm canons. In the early days of night fighter operations, the Air Ministry did not want British radar technology to fall into German hands, so the night intruders that operated over the European continent did not carry radar, all attacks were conducted visually.
This was the first of the Mosquito series released by Tamiya in 1/48 scale. When it was first announced, the Airfix 1/48 Mosquito was the best in any scale, but this kit has definitely raised that standard! Molded in light gray styrene, the kit comes on six part trees, plus a single tree of of styrene clear parts. What distinguishes this kit from its older Airfix brother include:
- Beautifully detailed wheel wells and main gear, including the oil tank in each well for the Merlin engine
- Choice of two different exhaust shrouds or bare exhaust stacks
- HIGHLY detailed cockpit, including radios and a radar set for the NF.II version
- Bomb bay doors can be positioned open to reveal the bomb bay fuel tanks and two 225kg bombs
- Choice of underwing stores, including slipper tanks, external bomb racks, or rockets
- Positionable crew entry door and access ladder
- Removable nose fairing to reveal the four 50 cal machine guns
- Choice of wingtip types
- Choice of narrow or wide chord propellers
Note: Please ignore the pre-painted parts in the second photo - when I decided to re-shoot the Mosquito parts for this review, I'd forgotten that I had started painting this kit to build another Mossie!
I've build two of the Mosquito FB.VI kits several years ago just after they were first released as this is one of my favorite aircraft. I was amazed then at how easy the kit assembles and how the mainspars that are part of the cockpit/weapons bay assembly extend through the sides of the fuselage halves and into the wings to provide a solid and perfectly aligned assembly.
While I can't emphasize enough how well the kit goes together, there are a few details worth noting. If you want to display the aircraft with one of the engine nacelles open, you'll need to get an aftermarket Merlin engine (of course). I am not aware of anyone releasing an engine bay kit for this aircraft, but you'll need some photos to help you along. Check out the Mosquito Reference Section here on Cybermodeler Online to help you along. The kit doesn't have a firewall in the forward part of the main wheel well (this is hidden by the big oil tank in the wheel well) so you'll have to start there. The engine mounts for the Mosquito are different than the Spitfire, so you won't be able to simply drop a Spitfire engine bay into the solution. Again, check the photos and you'll see the details, none of which will be difficult to fabricate.
The weapons bay has the extended range fuel tank molded in place and would look great to display the weapons bay doors open. Unfortunately, straight out of the box, the kit does not have the Hispano 20mm gun details in the forward weapons bay so you'll need to get an aftermarket set should you want to display the doors open.
Lastly, the flight controls are molded in place, but there are resin flight controls available. The aileron and rudder aren't that critical to replace, but on the ground, the elevators drooped and you may want to pose the flaps down as well. These are all simple modifications.
Markings are provided for three examples:
- Mosquito FB.VI of 487 Sqn (EG-T)
- Mosquito FB.VI of 143 Sqn (NE-D)
- Mosquito NF.II of 157 Sqn (RS-B)
This kit has definitely set a new champion for best Mosquito kit in any scale.