Tamiya 1/48 Mosquito NF.XIII/NF.XVII Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||May 2005||Manufacturer||Tamiya|
|Subject||Mosquito NF Mk.XIII/Mk.XVII||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||61075||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Beautiful radar Mosquito out of the box||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$38.00|
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.
As radar continued to develop, the first radar dish systems were installed on the Mosquito. The dish replaced the earlier blade antennas, but the dish required a radome to protect it from the wind and the elements. To accommodate this new radar, the four Browning machine guns were removed and the dish radar was mounted in their place. The resulting radome gave the Mosquito a hog-nosed profile.
Tamiya's 1/48 Mosquito NF Mk.XIII/Mk.XVII builds on their growing line of Mosquito kits. The molds were masterfully designed to facilitate a variety of nose changes and this release is no exception.
Molded in light gray styrene, the kit parts are identical to their previous Mosquito releases with the exception of the parts tree in the second photo which contains the nose and bomb bay door parts. This set of parts provides the fighter cockpit, the side-entry door, the hog-nose radome, the under-nose 20mm gun fairing and the bomb bay doors with the shell ejector ports.
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 photo walkarounds of the Mosquito 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.
Decals are provided for four examples:
- Mosquito NF Mk.XVII, ZQ-H/DZ659, Fighter Interception Unit
- Mosquito NF Mk.XIII, KP-R/HK415, 409 Sqn