Tamiya 1/48 Mosquito NF.II and British Light Utility Car Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|Mosquito NF.II and British Light Utility Car
|4,600 (about $49.50 USD)
The de Havilland Company had a concept for a light bomber whose only defense was speed. With war looming on the horizon, emphasis was placed on aircraft that could be produced from non-strategic materials like wood. The only significant metal components in the design of de Havilland's Model 98 were the engines and landing gear.
The Air Ministry was initially cool on the de Havilland concept though a single prototype finally authorized 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 Rolls Royce 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 and 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.
When Tamiya first released this kit over 10 years ago, it quickly became the best Mosquito kit in any scale. I've built two of these kits and Tamiya's tooling literally falls together. A few new-tool Mosquitos have been released since this kit and Airfix has announced an impressive 1/24 scale Mosquito coming in the future. With the kits released to date, this kit still has my vote as best Mosquito in any scale.
Tamiya has re-released this kit in the NF.II configuration bundled up with a new-tool kit, their British Utility Vehicle which is a nice companion kit for the Mosquito. This release is rounded out with three new figures posed standing beside their aircraft.
Molded in black styrene, the kit comes on eight part trees, plus a single tree of of styrene clear parts. Despite being billed as an NF.II, the kit still retains the parts to render the FB.VI as well. As with its first release, this kit has some nice features and options:
- 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
As I mentioned before, I've build two of the Mosquito FB.VI kits ten 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). Between Aires and Eduard, there are a number of good detail sets available for this kit as well as for the more recent Revell Mosquito whose aftermarket parts can be used here as well. Check out the photo walkaround 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.
Two sets of decals are provided in this kit, the original FB.VI and NF.II markings:
- Mosquito FB.VI, MM417, EG-T, 487 Sqn
- Mosquito FB.VI, RS625, NE-D, 143 Sqn
- Mosquito NF.II, W4087, RS-B, 157 Sqn
And three new options unique to this release:
- Mosquito NF.II, W4076, 169 Sqn, 1944
- Mosquito NF.II, DD712, YP-R, 23 Sqn, 1942
- Mosquito NF.II, DZ238, YP-H, 23 Sqn, 1943
British Light Utility Vehicle
Here's the latest off the press from Tamiya. When Tamiya launches a new 1/48 scale vehicle kit, they initially bundle it with one of their applicable kits just as they recently did with the Humvee and the F-117A as well as other examples. This kit represents a typical airfield utility vehicle used by the RAF during World War II that was essentially a 10 horsepower mini-pickup truck.
For a simple truck, look at the detailing that Tamiya has provided in this kit. The body is an intricate molding which shows that Tamiya continues to enhance their production capabilities. One tree of parts molded in gray accompany the truck body and provide some nice detailing. What is interesting is the clear parts tree that also accompanies this kit - the canvas cover for the truck's cargo bed is molded in clear. Of course you'll have to paint it, but interesting where they chose to put those parts.
This kit is still an excellent kit straight out of the box and with the right detail painting, can make for an impressive straight-out-of-the-box contest entrant. With the variety of aftermarket details and decals that have been produced for this kit, you can certainly have an AMS field day with the kit as well.
My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!