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de Havilland DH.82a Tiger Moth Kit

Airfix 1/48 de Havilland DH.82a Tiger Moth Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2020 Manufacturer Airfix
Subject de Havilland DH.82a Tiger Moth Scale 1/48
Kit Number 4104 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Newly tooled kit, nice details Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $24.95

First Look

de Havilland DH.82a Tiger Moth Kit
de Havilland DH.82a Tiger Moth Kit
de Havilland DH.82a Tiger Moth Kit
de Havilland DH.82a Tiger Moth Kit

The de Havilland Company had developed a family of trainers and sport aircraft around a versatile biplane airframe called the DH.60 Moth. A number of variants of the Moth emerged as its popularity grew in the early 1930s. de Havilland tried to sell the aircraft as a military trainer with his DH.60T, but its design didn't allow the occupant of the front seat with a reliable way to bail out of the aircraft with a parachute. The de Havilland engineers incorporated the feedback received from the military and designed the DH.82 Tiger Moth. This design was robust, easy to fly, easy to maintain, and would become the gold standard for military trainers in the Commonwealth. As Great Britain was drawn into World War II, the Tiger Moth was training the pilots that would go on to defend her skies and take the fight over Germany. After the war, the Tiger Moth would continue as a primary trainer into the 1950s and many can still be found still flying around the world as private aircraft.

The folks at Airfix have been turning out an interesting number of new-tool kits into their catalog and here is one of their latest: the de Havilland Tiger Moth. For such a popular aircraft, the subject has been produced fairly well in 1/72 scale, but not so much in 1/48 or 1/32. The 1/48th options include Aeroclub vacuform, Aurora, Artiplast, Smer, etc. Most of the tooling dates back several decades. A similar story in 1/32 scale with the Matchbox kit (and the Revell reboxings) being the only injection-molded kit and it too can be carbon-dated. Airfix has rendered this kit in an easy-to-build format while offering far more details than any other injection-molded kit in any scale to date. The kit is molded light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees. Among the features and options:

  • Detailed cockpit interiors
  • Instrument panels provide the accurate horizontal-mounted compasses front and back
  • Positionable cockpit entry doors
  • Engine is molded integral to the fuselage halves yet provides nice detailing
  • Positionable cowling panels
  • Choice of two propellers
  • Nice rigging instructions in this kit (take note other manufacturers!)

The kit has some hints that other variants may be in the future. The rear fuselage in this kit is molded with the older upper deck ahead of the tail feathers, but this kit also provides a jig that slips over the rear fuselage which acts as a guide to file away a portion of the upper deck to accommodate the leading edge (anti-spin) extensions to the horizontal stabilizers. The kit provides both the horizontal stabs with and without the extensions, but the latter is not used in this release. There is no tailwheel nor sliding canopies provided in this kit but could be added to render Canadian or other warbird options.

Markings are included for two 'warbird' options:

  • DH.82a, K-2585/ANKT, Shuttleworth Collection, 2018
  • DH.82a, K-4259/G-ANMO, 2018

It would be nice to see this kit released in WWII colors/markings in RAF, Commonwealth, and allied service.

This kit is clearly the nicest injection-molded kit of this classic aircraft in any scale. I can only hope that Airfix will consider up-scaling this kit to 1/32 as well!