KIT: Revell/Matchbox 1/32 Tiger Moth
KIT #: 04712
PRICE: £12.00
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Patrick Barratt
NOTES:  

HISTORY

The Tiger Moth trainer prototype was derived from theGipey Moth DH 60. The main change to the DH Moth series was necessitated by an effort to improve access to the front cockpit since the training requirement specified that the front seat occupant had to be able to escape easily, even wearing a parachute Access to the front cockpit of the Moth predecessors was restricted by the proximity of the aircraft's fuel tank directly above the front cockpit and the rear support struts for the upper wing. The solution adopted was to shift the upper wing forward but sweep the wings back to maintain the centre of lift. Other changes included a strengthened structure, fold-down doors on both sides of the cockpit and a revised exhaust. It was powered by a de-havilland gipsy III 120 hp engine and first flew on October 1931

From the outset, the Tiger Moth proved to be an ideal trainer, simple and cheap to own and maintain,

The RAF ordered 35 dual-control Tigermoths which were designated the DH60T. A subsequent order was placed for 50 aircraft powered by the de havilland Gipsy I engine (130hp) which was designated the DH 82A tigermothII. The Tiger Moth entered service at the RAF Central Flying School in February 1932 By the start of the Second World War, the RAF had 500 of the aircraft and large numbers of civilian Tiger Moths were impressed to meet the demand for trainers.

During a UK production run of over 7,000 Tiger Moths, a total of 4,005 Tiger Moth IIs were built during the war specifically for the RAF,

Canada manufactured 1,523 of the DH 82C, which had a 145 hp D.H. Gypsy Major 1C engine and other modifications including a tail wheel replacing the original tail skid, a stronger undercarriage with wheels set farther forward and and enclosed cockpit with a sliding canopy necessitated by the northern climate.

THE KIT


The kit comes in the Standard Revell end-opening box and consists of approximately 100 parts although not all would be used, as several variations are possible. The Manufacturer presumes you will build a military version and instructions are supplied for a DH82A, UK version and a fully enclosed cockpit DH82C Canadian version. In addition the Canadian version has the option of skis. Also supplied is a set of floats but no mention of these is made in the instructions but it does look like all the parts are there but I can’t be sure. You are also, thoughtfully supplied with a couple of pilots and a mechanic (with an impossible task) One minor criticism would have to be the thickness of the wind shields which look like 3” armoured glass…but as they are so basic it would not be out of the question to make a new pair of your own a little more to scale.

Also supplied is a spool of cotton thread for the rigging that if used would be way out of scale I suspect.

As 90% of surviving civilian Tiger Moths are ex military it is really up to you how you choose to finish your version.

Tiger Moths were not very big and while it may seem obvious to some, don’t expect a large kit, even at 1/32 it is slightly smaller than a 1/48 Swordfish.

It should also be pointed out at this stage that this is a 30 year old kit and was always intended to be a fun model and not a museum standard display exhibit! As such, it has a few short comings with some detail, elevator horns, cockpit doors, wind shield frames and so on, being rather on the heavy/thick side, these are problems that could be easily addressed by an experienced modeller I will leave that decision to you, should you find these supplied parts out of keeping with the rest of the kit.

CONSTRUCTION

Construction is straight forward and the sequence of 60 steps called out in the instructions seems fairly comprehensive and the order of construction seems reasonable. I think the detail level is quite adequate but I have seen others criticize this aspect of the kit but only in previews and I was unable to find a review on line so I take this criticism with a pinch of Salt. Certainly with two large open cockpits on view and liftable engine covers, there is ample opportunity to show off you scratch build skills with some super detailing should you feel the need. Cockpit doors can be posed open or closed, as can be the engine cowlings.

Where this kit excels is in its rigging. The instructions are very comprehensive and show you how to rig a by plane in a simple but effective way.

The wings come in eight parts, two lower and two upper both in two parts each.
 Construction is called out so that you assemble the two lower half’s of the upper wing to the fuselage and the to upper parts of the lower wings to the fuselage. What you have then is the four halves of the wings fitted and at this point you can do the rigging. You will need a small drill to open a few holes (I used a .3mm drill as I was using .275mm nylon fishing line). The rigging lines can be fed through the holes in the wing halves and glued on the inside before fitting the other half of each wing, thus making all the attachment points invisible. I certainly recommend anyone who is not confident with rigging to give this method a go and this could be the ideal kit to practice on.

The fit of all the parts is good and the surface detail about right I would say. The preview I read said that the engine cowlings looked as if they would not fit but with patience and some dry assembly, I had no problems.

COLORS & MARKINGS

 Decals for three military options are supplied: 1943 RAF No5 Glider training school, 1940 No6 Elementary flying school RCAF, 1947 Netherlands army Air force.

They seem of reasonable quality although I should add I did not use them.

This is a great opportunity for those of you who like different paint schemes and get bored doing the STD camo paint jobs. There are literally hundreds of Moths still flying around the world in civilian hands and consequently the sky is the limit when it comes to finding a suitable set of colours. If you’re in the UK, a quick trip down to your local airfield will almost certainly find you a Moth to photo for reference. I chose G-AMNN (loosely) that lives at Shoreham on the UK south coast partly because it’s local and mainly because it seemed like a simple enough colour scheme to replicate on to the kit. The logo “Spirit of Pashley refers to Cecil Pashley having instructed at the forefront of Shoreham Airports aviation activities form 1911 to retirement in 1964, amassing over 20,000 hours instructing pilots of both world wars. The multitude of original paint schemes means this part really can be as easy or difficult as you wish to make it. (Coincidentally, Shoreham airport is the UK’s oldest surviving civil airport and still has a magnificent Art-Deco 1930s main building/departure lounge/control tower.

I used Tamiya spray cans here and some Tamiya masking tape, as there are no feathered edges to worry about. AS16 USAF Grey, TS 54 Blue and TS 47 Yellow

I printed off my own registration decals using BMF clear decal paper and an STD ink jet printer. The Tiger’s head on the tail seemed to fit in here and came from the spares box, an Italian Tiger meet SEPECAT Jaguar if I remember correctly.

 

CONCLUSIONS

I didn’t really know what to expect with this kit, the previews were unfavourable, the Revell name and cheap price tag did not bode well in its favour. The fact that it is a re-hash of the old Matchbox kit did not help either.

I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised! The fit of the parts is as good as I have seen, The surface detail/fabric wings looks the part and the opportunity to super detail is there should you so choose.

I like to build from the box for reviews so that inexperienced or born again modellers can see what they are getting in the package without extra expense but any detailing here would be scratch and thus free! The only mod I did was to add a couple of seat cushions, made from flattened rolls of 10mm Tamiya masking tape and dipped in Tamiya dark brown, to the basic metal pan seats.

I suppose that in summing up I would have to say, this is the first time I have built a kit and felt that I would like to build another just the same straight away because I know I could do better next time and this is one of those kits that says “ come on then, show me what you can do”, I suspect you will reach your own limitations before you reach the limitations of this kit  ……….. I did, and is that not what many of us are looking for in a model?

REFERENCES

http://www.glue-it.co.uk/aircraft/de%20havilland/dh82a/index.html

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Tiger_Moth

PS If you couldn’t find the £10,000 for a flight in the subject of my last review, (EE Lightning F6) you could always have a go in one of these for £99

 And it maybe almost as much fun!

Chocks away!

Patrick Barratt

August 2007

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