Airfix 1/72 Mosquito Mk. II/VI/XVIII

KIT: Airfix 1/72 Mosquito Mk. II/VI/XVIII
KIT #: 03019
PRICE: NZ $17.00
DECALS: Three options


Ok, as there are several very fine Modeling Madness reviews/previews of the various Mossie kits currently (and previously) available, for a full, detailed and accurate history I suggest you take a look there. Alternatively, the terrific website is a great one-stop-shop for all your DH.98 info needs! I could rant and rave and go on in a massive essay – with footnotes – about the history of this most elegant of wooden warplanes, but I won’t.

 Airfix, in the meantime, says: “Probably no other aircraft during the Second World War captured the public’s imagination more than the de Havilland Mosquito. Its daring low-level raids against selected targets in enemy occupied Europe and the success it attained in the night-fighter and anti-shipping roles all added up to one of the most outstanding aircraft of the period.

 The prototype two-seat Mosquito first flew in 1940 to an Air Ministry specification B.1/40, for an unarmed high-speed bomber-recce aircraft. Further development produced a night fighter version, the NF.11, of which 466 were built, service entry with RAF Fighter Command coming in January 1942, the type equipped initially with A.I. Mk.IV radar.

 “Following the success of the Mk.II on intruder operations, came the Mk.VI fighter bomber, the most widely used of all Mosquito fighters (2,500 built). In addition to the four 20 mm cannon and four .303 machine guns in the nose, internal and external bombs could be carried as well as eight wing-mounted rockets. From the beginning of 1944, this version operated with Coastal Command with considerable success against convoys and coastal shipping and with the addition of a 57 mm Molins gun, the designation change to    Mk.XVIII (27 built).

 “Prior to D-Day, Mosquitos undertook many precision low-level attacks on the Continent including one on the jail at Amiens and another on the Gestapo Headquarters in Copenhagen. In the Far East Mk.VIs operated against the Japanese from the beginning of 1944.” 


Well, where to start? In your top-opening cardboard box you get an instruction booklet of two A3 folded in half, with six steps including paint/decaling. The decal sheet itself is rather glossy, but the colours look to be about right – my copy had small dents, almost like pinpricks, on several areas of decal. Nothing likely to affect it, but that’s ok as I was planning on raiding my spares box anyway. The kit options are: a NF.II of 23 Sqn RAF (DD712/YP-R), an FB.VI of 1 Sqn RAAF (A52-520/NA-B) and a Mk.XVIII of the curiously-numbered 248/254 Sqn RAF (PZ468/QM-D). What I find interesting – and commendable in some ways – is that Airfix included markings for an FB.VI NOT of the RAF, principal user of the type. I’m not complaining as I’ve seen precious few “mainstream” kits issues with RAAF decals, but it is interesting considering the usage of this most numerous subtype by English units.

 The kit itself is what we have come to expect from Airfix over the years. Four sprues of grey and one of clear (crystal at that, although very thick and probably best replaced by a vacform example), with the fuselage halves and wing uppers and unders loose, all in a sealed bag (except for the clear sprue, left floating around to its own devices). Considering the markings and variant options you get a good amount of “kit” in your kit – shrouded or unshrouded exhausts, drop tanks, underwing bombs and rockets, the XVIII-exclusive Molins cannon installation (these were nicknamed “Tsetse” by their crews) and a standard four-gun-four-cannon nose, AI antenna, and the obligatory pilots. I think most builders who visit this site will possibly leave them on the sprue!

 The plastic is, again, standard Airfix, nicely formed with a bit of flash (mostly around gunports) and fairly thick. This may pose a problem to those of us – like me – planning to have the bombbay doors open, or the crew entry hatch (not sure how I’ll manage that), or who want to modify the kit into a bomber variant. Not impossible, but skills would be necessary. The panel line detail is raised, so those so inclined will likely delete and rescribe. There is also pronounced rivet detail around the radiators and on the nacelles, which is a touch overscale compared to photos of preserved examples.

 The cockpit is what really lets this lady down. There’s a floor, the aforementioned crew (one of whom, presumably the nav, is legless!), a very simple instrument panel, two identical bucket seats and a Black BoxTM. I don’t want to bore you with the pedantics of how inaccurate this is – I tend to get raging headaches when I do – so I’ll just say it’s just as well the canopy is so thick. I was considering for a while investing in an aftermarket set to make this look a bit more pretty but eventually changed my mind (see below). However, if you are determined to make this lady look her best, do yourself a favour and source a new, thinner canopy first.


As far as I’m aware, in 1:72 for your Mossie pleasure you have this, the Hasegawa range (about which I’ve read and seen little) and the Tamiya wonderkit. Some of you are likely thinking, “why go for the decades-old Airfix offering when there’s the Tamiya gem?”. And fair enough, too. Dry-fitting this bird and looking at the work to get alignment and panel lines right, as well as the barren cockpit, had me thinking the same. I’ll put it simply: for the price of the Tamiya Mossie in this scale, I could buy TWO of this kit. And for a 20 year-old supermarket employee, that’s a big difference. Besides, I’m planning to make this my final 1:72 kit before converting fully to 1:48…THEN I’ll invest in a Tamiya kit! And she will be a thing of beauty! Watch this space.

 Long story short – if you, or your kid (or grandkid!) want a Mosquito and you want it NOW, grab this. A weekend wonder of the Wooden Wonder.

 Review kit courtesy of my MasterCard.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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