High Planes 1/72 DH.94 Moth Minor

KIT #: 7281
PRICE: $25.00 SRP
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Peter Burstow
NOTES: Resin kit


Designed as a low wing monoplane replacement for the Moth series, the Moth Minor was first flown in 1937. Around 100 were built at De Havilland's Hatfield factory before WW2. Production was shifted to de Havilland's Australian subsidiary in 1939, were about 40 more were produced.

 Many were impressed by various air forces during WW2, being used for training, liaison work and as squadron hacks. The aircraft saw service with the RAF, RAAF, RNZAF, USAAC, Indian and South African air forces. Some are still flying in the UK and Australia.


Coming in a small end opening box, there are 25 pink coloured resin parts, and four vac-formed windshields. The one piece lower wing casting was a little warped. There are no visible bubbles. The parts have a smooth surface finish, with fine but soft raised panel lines. The prominent stringer is moulded nicely as are the anti-spin strakes. There is fabric detail on the control surfaces.

 Cockpit detail is sparse, with seats and control sticks to be attached to a floor, and instrument panels. There is some structure moulded on the inside of the cockpit walls, that a bit of painting should bring out. A bit more detail may be wanted as there is a relatively large cockpit opening and no crew figures supplied, although crew are shown on the box top. Some of the small parts were detached from the pouring stub and supplied attached to a piece of tape. The vac-formed windshields are tiny, delicate and very clear. A nice touch is the provision of spares.

 The decal sheet, printed by Wessex Transfers, supplies markings for five RAAF aircraft in a variety of schemes, all yellow, all silver, and some camouflaged examples. The instructions are two sheets of A4, clearly printed on both sides in English, showing a short history, assembly notes with details of extra bits needing scratch built, exploded diagrams, colour painting and decalling guide with coloured profiles and plans. It includes paint references with FS numbers. It does not show placement of the smaller parts, but most of these are shown on the profiles.


 The usual start for a resin kit was done, the parts were all washed in warm soapy water to remove any release compounds, and the remains of pouring stubs were removed from the major components. All cutting, sanding and filing was done wet to minimise dust. The pink resin was slightly soft and flexible, much more like polystyrene than the usual resins. It was easy to sand and shape.

 The one piece lower wing casting was a little warped and both the upper wing castings had a small twist. The warp and twists were easily fixed with very hot water and gentle pressure. The mating surfaces were given a light sand to clean them up. Unusual for a resin kit, locator pins were cast on the fuselage and wing halves, assisting in positive location.

 The seats and control sticks were attached to the floor, which had rudder pedals moulded. There were lugs moulded into the floor matching slots in the base of the seats, ensuring a positive location.  There was a small bubble on one seat, easily filled with a drop of superglue, and then hidden under a masking tape seat belt. The instrument panels were added to one fuselage half. I then painted the cockpit a light brown, to represent plywood. Then I picked out details and the instrument panels in dark brown, black and silver. There is some structure moulded on the inside of the cockpit walls, including a throttle and other unidentified controls, that detail painting brought out. I added masking tape seat belts.

 I had to thin the cockpit floor slightly to allow the fuselage to close up. I also had to remove some of the fuselage side detail which interfered with the front seat. I think I mounted the seat a little off centre on the floor. The floor fitted positively into lugs cast into one of the fuselage halves. Once the fuselage was closed up I ran a bead of superglue around the joint and left it to harden. Later I sanded and cleaned up the joint.

 I joined the two upper wing halves to the one piece lower half, there were a couple of small bubbles and one large bubble in the wing parts, all were filled with superglue. The leading edge joint needed a little filling and cleaning up. The wing to fuselage fit was not good, with a large gap between the wing top surfaces and the fuselage. It took a couple of sessions to fill this, first with Squadron green, then superglue. I then added the tail surfaces, the undercarriage main legs and the cowling nose, which was short and needed built up at the bottom and faired in to the fuselage. A thorough wash in warm soapy water to remove any dust, superglue catalyst and crud and it was ready for painting. 


 The supplied decal sheet, printed by Wessex Transfers, has markings for five RAAF aircraft in a variety of schemes, one all yellow, two all silver, and two camouflaged examples.

 Though the supplied options were tempting, I wanted to try something different. In 1941, inspired by a 'local artist' several RAAF aircraft were painted in experimental schemes designed to make them more difficult targets. It must not have worked well as the RAAF used much the same schemes as RAF or USAAF aircraft, though with generally darker colours. A Moth Minor was painted or more probably doped, overall a light colour then had dark wavy longitudinal stripes on the upper surface and fuselage, the lower surface being spotted. Two rather poor photos are in Pentland, and an interpreted profile, shown as silver background with black stripes. I have seen another photo of this aircraft, even poorer than the ones in the book, it was in the background and under some trees, which didn't help much. One advantage of this scheme is that no markings were applied to this aircraft, meaning I could put the whole decal sheet into the stash.

 I primed the model in gloss black enamel, my standard approach to metallic finishes, then after fixing a few glitches, started masking with blue-tack. After a number of sessions I finally finished the masking. Small lines over the upper surfaces and lots of tiny balls, about 150, over the lower surfaces. Small bits of blue-tack seem to stick to anything except gloss paint. The masked model looked very silly, and I was beginning to have doubts about my choice of schemes.

I then sprayed with Tamiya TS-30 “silver leaf” with a rattle can. I gave it three or four light coats. This paint gives a finish very like silver dope, and does not dissolve blue-tack, but I wasn't sure how well it would stick to the gloss enamel primer.

 I left it alone for about a week, to let the paint harden up, and because I kept putting it off. One morning I got stuck in and removed all the blue-tack balls and sausages, expecting disaster, but it all looked good. The Tamiya spray covered the black enamel well, it could easily be scraped off with a toothpick, but was strong enough for careful light handling. After a light clean with a cotton bud to get rid of traces of the glue balls, I gave it a coat of floor polish to protect the finish.


 I pre-painted and then added the little bits and pieces, the wheels and propeller. I replaced the resin tail struts with evergreen strip. The supplied vacformed windscreens were a little big, and needed some coercion to fit neatly. I didn't fit the tiny venturi and mass balances, they were just too small for me to handle. A tiny bit of touch-up painting around the cockpits, and another coat of floor polish and it was done.


 A easy and enjoyable build of a small resin model. There were no construction problems, other than the expected tiny parts and clumsy hands, and only the usual filling and sanding. I can't comment on the kit decals as I didn't use them, but they look OK.

 I complicated the build by choosing a difficult paint scheme, the masking was tedious and seemed to take forever. No doubt the 'rivet police' will complain about the stripes being too wide, the profile I copied shows about 18 stripes on each wing, I've only got 14. The weird camouflage makes it really stand out from the crowd in the display case. While it looks like it would only be effective if the plane was surrounded by zebra, the aircraft outline disappears against a dark and varied background.

 A nice addition to my De Havilland Moth collection. Recommended for anybody, and a good first resin kit with it's small parts count.



Geoffrey Pentland, RAAF Camouflage & Markings Volume 1, Kookaburra, Melbourne, 1980

Flight magazine, July 29, 1939 issue. (this article has a cut-away drawing and several good detailed photos, essential for the super-detailer)


Kit Instructions.

Peter Burstow

May 2013

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