HK Models 1/32 de Havilland Mosquito B.IV Series II Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|de Havilland Mosquito B.IV Series II
|Impressive kit engineering, great details
For a brief history on this aircraft, check out our first look at the Revell 1/48 Mossie B.IV here.
What a great year to be a large scale modeler AND a Mosquito lover! Within weeks of one another, we have the HK Models 1/32 Mosquito B.IV and the Tamiya 1/32 Mosquito FB.VI. What's the difference? The B.IV is a tactical bomber with a clear nose for the bombardier to aim. The FB.VI has the gun nose with four .303 machine guns with four 20mm cannons below.
If you've read some of my Mosquito write-ups, you'll know that my son's godfather was Jim Luma, an Air Berlin 707 pilot when I knew him in Berlin, but during WWII, he was an American that volunteered to fly with 418 Sqn (RCAF) and operate under the RAF in the UK. During his time with 418 Sqn, he had been credited with six air kills, and numerous ground kills. Also during his time with 418 Sqn, the US had entered the war and as the USAAF was gearing up operations in the UK, they attempted to bring Pilot/Officer Luma into the USAAF. In a stir that went to 10 Downing Street, the USAAF agreed to let Jim complete his tour with 418 Sqn BUT he had to wear a USAAF uniform. So if you've seen photos from 418 Sqn, he is the one smoking a pipe and wearing the USAAF uniform. For his time in 418 Squadron, I need Tamiya's FB.VI kit.
While Jim didn't talk much about his missions after moving over to the USAAF, he did fly reconnaissance Mosquitos and he had some interesting tales about flying the lighter, faster, Mosquito reconnaissance aircraft. It was by luck that I found an image from the Imperial War Museum archives of Mosquito PR.XVI while it was assigned to the 25th Bomb Group and there is Jim Luma with his pipe. Now I have a starting point for an aircraft he flew for his special OSS missions over Germany.
To render a PR.XVI, I can use this HK Models B.IV as a starting point. before we go any further, let's take a look at what we have to work with. This kit is an engineering marvel with its (literally) one-piece wing (they've molded the top and bottom of the wing as one piece and you simply slip the movable landing flaps in place before closing things up). The two wing images to the right show the top and bottom of that one-piece wing.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 24 parts trees (duplicates not shown), four trees of clear parts, and one fret of photo-etched parts. This initial release also includes two beautifully sculpted gray resin flight crew figures posed standing in full gear ready to fly. The molding of the kit is very nicely done with no signs of flash and when you can find them, minimal ejector pin marks.
Among the features and options in this kit:
- Nicely detailed cockpit with decals for instrument faces
- Photo-etched Sutton harness crew restraints
- Nicely detailed bombardier nose
- Cockpit transparencies are modular (important - more on this below)
- Positionable cockpit entry door
- Movable elevators
- Positionable rudder
- Positionable ailerons
- Movable flaps
- Two Merlin engines with nice detailing
- Cowling panels can be installed, partially removed, or completely removed to display Merlins
- Detailed radiators
- Detailed fuel cells in bomb bay
- Choice of standard or bulged bomb bay doors
- Choice of four bombs or one large bomb in bomb bay
- Positionable landing gear
- Detailed main landing gear wells
- Detailed main landing gear wheels and struts
- Optional slipper tanks
This kit has markings for three examples:
- B.IV, DK296, 305 FTU, Errol AB, Soviet AF, 1943
- B.IV, DZ637, 692 Sqn, P3-C, Graveley, RAF, 1944
- B.IV, DZ637, 627 Sqn, AZ-X, Woodhall Spa, RAF, 1944
The decals are printed by Cartograf and include a set of airframe stencils. And yes, DZ637 does appear in two different units at different times in 1944.
It's obvious by the design of this kit that HK Models will be releasing other variants of the Mosquito and some of those parts are in the box. Not mentioned in the instructions are the inclusion of both the narrow and wide-chord propellers as well as those modular parts in the cockpit transparency. If you look carefully at the clear parts, you see the flat side windows of the FB.VI and other fighter-bomber versions as well as the bulged side windows used in this version. More importantly (for me), the kit also has the bulge in the overhead escape hatch that was used on several variants including the reconnaissance Mossies.
So in this box, I have almost everything I need to buid the PR.XVI except one key detail, the two-stage Merlin cowlings. If you look behind Jim's head in the photo above, the carburetor intake is there which is common to all of the Merlin-powered Mosquitos. It is the air intake over his head, immediately under the spinner that distinguishes the two-stage Merlin. That detail isn't in the box, but I have found a solution here.
HK Models clearly sent an advanced copy to Eduard as they have given this kit some love including:
- 32839 - Mosquito B.IV Seatbelts Fabric
- 32840 - Mosquito B.IV Interior Detail Set
- 32841 - Mosquito B.IV Seatbelts Color Photo-Etch
- JX182 - Mosquito B.IV Masks
Eduard also has 32376 Bomb Bay and 32377 Exterior/Engine Set coming next month.
Finaly, HK Models provides a paint guide featuring Gunze, Tamiya, and AK Interactive paints. Here is an expansion of the table with the other colors in our database: