Fine Molds Tiger Moth

KIT #: FG8
PRICE: 4500 yen
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2016 boxing. Includes 1/20 Dola figure


Castle in the Sky (Japanese: 
天空の城ラピュタ Hepburn: Tenkū no Shiro Rapyuta) (known as Laputa: Castle in the Sky in Europe and Australia) is a 1986 Japanese animated adventure film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It was the very first film animated by Studio Ghibli and was animated for Tokuma Shoten. It follows the adventures of a young boy and girl attempting to keep a magic crystal from a group of military agents, while searching for a legendary floating castle. The film was distributed by Toei Kabushiki Kaisha. Laputa: Castle in the Sky won the Animage Anime Grand Prix in 1986 as well as a number of other awards.

The opening of the film shows the heroine being pursued by pirates headed by Dola and her sons. As the story unfolds, the pirates turn from being the bad guys initially portrayed into the good guys, though still pirates. Their ship is the Tiger Moth which contains four smaller craft held in a hangar bay. This model is that particular aircraft. If you have never watched an anime, at least a very well done one, this would be a good one to start with. It is available on-line from a variety of venues.


Miyazaki has always held a fascination with flying and you will find air craft of various types in all of his movies. This includes people and beasts flying. Though this film was released in 1986, this is the first kit I know of that depicts one of the main craft from the show. The Tiger Moth is the pirate ship and houses the crew and the smaller craft that are used for their pirate raids.

Typical of Fine Molds, the molding is first rate and I expect the engineering to match their past efforts as well. The kit is molded in brown and tan with the majority of the sprues in brown. There is a 1/20 figure of Dola included that is molded in tan as well. No scale for the Tiger Moth is provided so your guess is as good as mine regarding this.

All of the various modules have interior detail of some sort, though how much will be seen through the small transparencies is unknown. Filling any seams may prove to be a bit of a challenge, but it seems to me that this is as much of a snap kit as anything for the pins and sockets are quite large and should provide very positive alignment. The vast majority of the craft is to be painted in a wood brown and that means a darker brown that the often lighter wood offered by many companies. Gunze paint is the company of choice and these colors are listed throughout the build.

There is some structural frame work that attaches the captain's cabin to the rest of the ship as well as some side railings that will need the minimal mold seams removed. Once all the upper deck structures have been built, the hangar bay can then be built. Here is an option for either open or closed hangar door. Though not shown, I'm betting the four smaller craft will fit in there.

Once the main fuselage is built, one moves on to the wings, tail, and the upper bag. This craft gets its lift as much from an apparently helium or hydrogen filled bag like a blimp. There is a bank of props between the hull and tail section as well as 8 blade props on the end of the wings. The fuselage props are provided with sections of brass tubing to help them rotate. This all fits atop a display stand. One never sees the Tiger Moth on the ground so one assumes that it never really alights for long, though there is a bumper on the bottom of the hangar bay. A small decal sheet includes a stand name and the markings for the rudder.


This is, to my count, the third kit from this movie. The other two are robots, which also contain figures of some of the movie's characters. It will make for a most interesting addition to any collection.


November 2018

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