Revell 1/48 Mosquito B.IV Kit First Look
|Date of Review||January 2009||Manufacturer||Revell|
|Kit Number||4555||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Most detailed Mossie in any scale, lots of options||Cons||Landing gear, prop spinners (see update below)|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||About $20.00|
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.
I was a little surprised to hear that Revell/Germany was planning an all-new-tool Mosquito in 1/48 scale. First, Tamiya has their series of Mosquito kits on the market in 1/48 that are absolute beauties. Second, Airfix had their dated, but still nice Mosquito also in 1/48. Last, but certainly not least, is Revell's own 1/48 Mosquito kit that came from the early days of Monogram. That kit is certainly not as detailed as contemporary kits, but it is still a nice build. While I haven't built the Airfix kit, I have built three of the Tamiya kits and a few of the Monogram kits previously.
What was going to be different in this box?
Well, we have a completely new-tool Mosquito kit. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on five parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts. The modularity of the kit reveals that we might see a few additional variants beyond this Mark IV Bomber.
Looking at the parts break-down of this kit is interesting. Comparing this kit to the Tamiya kit is like it was a few years back comparing the (then) new Tamiya Moquito with the Airfix kit. Each one is better than the previous, and this kit is no exception.
Construction starts off with the bomb bay and the kit has the fuel cells visible as did the Tamiya kit in the top of the bay. This kit has rather intricate bomb racks that mount to the top of the bay. It would almost be a shame to install the bombs and cover up this nice work.
Like the Tamiya kit, the main section that serves as the top of the bomb bay also serves as the mount for the cockpit floor and also has main spars molded in place to make wing integrity and alignment easy - similar to the Tamiya kit.
The cockpit is very nicely appointed with details that will really negate the need for aftermarket parts. The detail in here is as nice as the bomb bay and those are definitely improvements over the Tamiya kits.
One very interesting bit of engineering adds a new plate that has the integral tailwheel well molded into the center of it. This plate extends out the sides of the fuselage to provide a spar and alignment for the horizontal stabilizers. This is the first time I've seen this done in the Mosquito (or any other kit for that matter) and is an excellent enhancement.
So what other features/options are in this box?
- Positionable crew entry door
- Optional boarding ladder
- Detailed cockpit
- Choice of streamline, bulged, or teardrop bulge side cockpit windows
- Detailed bombardier nose
- Positionable rudder
- Positionable ailerons
- Positionanle elevators
- Positionable flaps
- Two optional Merlin engines
- Positionable engine access covers on both engines
- Positionable landing gear
- Positionable bomb bay doors
- Detailed bomb bay
- Choice of narrow or wide chord propellers
- Optional slipper tanks
- Optional external bomb racks
- Six optional bombs
Markings are provided for three examples:
- Mosquito B.IV, DZ548, 105 Sqn, GB-D, Marham, Jun 1943
- Mosquito B.IV, DK333, 109 Sqn, HS-F, Marham, 1944
- Mosquito B.IV, DZ518, 627 Sqn, AZ-F, Oakington, Jan 1944
In addition to the three sets of distinctive markings, there is also a set of maintenance stencils included. The instrument panel is rendered as a decal, as are the seatbelts/harnesses.
I received some interesting feedback after this review was first published highlighting a few glitches in the kit. Once again I pulled out the Revell and Tamiya kits and looked over the two areas in question - main landing gear and prop spinners:
- The main landing gear struts are too short. I wondered if it was simply a matter of how they were installed in the nacelles or if they were simply too short. In comparison to the Tamiya landing gear, they are significantly shorter which results in the aircraft sitting too low. The wheels are very slightly larger in diameter than the Tamiya wheels, but well within the margin of interpretation. Not so the landing gear
- The spinners had looked okay at first glance, but from the sides, they are too blunt and detract from the streamlined look of the actual aircraft
Are these fatal flaws in the kit? Not really. The model will build fine out of the box for many modelers. For us AMS modelers, there is far more that is right with this kit than wrong, so you have several choices. Remember that we're talking about a detailed, all-new-tool kit that retails for around $20 USD (though US MSRP has yet to be announced). So here are your choices:
- Build the kit as-is
- Pass on the kit
- So some modeling and fix the kit
For me, I can rob the gear struts and spinners out of an Airfix, Tamiya, or even an old Monogram kit. While that sounds odd, remember that AMS modelers will spend significantly more on aftermarket details than the original cost of the kit.
Some modelers might like to use the Revell kit as a source for lots of detail parts like flaps, separate flight control surfaces, cockpit and nose interior details, and that really nice bomb bay. Think of the Revell kit as an inexpensive detail set and dress up the Tamiya kit.
Whatever your preferences, I'm going to build mine. This kit is still recommended!