Available from Hobbylink Japan: http://hlj.com/product/TAM60326/Air
The Wooden Wonder
I’ve heard the De Haviland Mosquito described as the ‘Grandfather of the multi-role aircraft‘, and this is a very fair description, considering the wealth of jobs it did in its life time: photo recce, bomber, night fighter, heavy fighter, ground attack, torpedo bomber, and courier.
One of the most remarkable aircraft of WWII, the DH-98 Mosquito was the collective brainchild of a design team formed by Ronald E. Bishop, to investigate the idea of designing a light, wooden bomber which could penetrate an enemy fighter screen through sheer speed. This was not a bolt from the blue, however. De Haviland had a good deal of experience in making fast, streamlined, and rather unconventional wooden monocoque aircraft during the inter-war years – including the remarkable DH-88 Comet, designed for (and winning) the McRobertson Air Race in 1934.
Initially, the Air Ministry was rather skeptical of Bishop’s Baby, and with only the support of Air Marshall Wilfred Freeman, the project seemed doomed, as the War Office as a whole seemed to prefer single engine fighters and heavy bombers… Indeed, the whole Mosquito effort became known as ‘Freeman’s Folly,’ for he refused to let the matter rest.
Thankfully, Freeman’s eye for such matters (after all, he is the man who green-lit projects like the Hurricane, Spitfire and Lancaster) proved accurate, and working on the idea that an aircraft made mainly from wood could be easily constructed without straining the increasingly scarce supply of metals, the War Office gave approval for a limited order of fifty to be built, on the understanding that De Haviland did not reduce their agreed war output in favor of the untried ‘Folly’.
Though air raids and the interference of Lord Beaverbrook put the De Haviland staff back a good way, a prototype took to the skies on the 16th of January 1941, and outpaced a Supermarine Spitfire at operational altitude, which gave the design team – and Air Marshall Freeman – the leverage then needed to recommend the plane be offered to the services for appraisal.
So positive were the RAF comments that an order was drawn up in June, and between September 1941 and January 1942 orders for over 1300 ‘Mossies’ of bomber, fighter, and reconnaissance types were made, in addition to smaller numbers of more specialized airframes.
The bomber version, which formally came into service in Spring 1942 took full advantage of the increased power of powerful Merlin engines, which not only helped give the already fast Mosquito a speed edge, but the power to lift heavier and heavier loads. In the design brief, 500lb of bombs were thought all the frame could mange, but as the Mosquito proved itself again and again, its load was gradually upped to the 4000lb which made it just short in power to a fully loaded B-17 bomber on a long range mission (which was 4,500lb, cut from its max of 8,000lb owing to the fuel requirements of a round trip to Germany).
Indeed, some of the B mk XVI Mosquito frames were retrofitted to carry a 4,000 ‘Cookie‘ type bomb.
Maybe it was a ‘Jack of all Trades’, but the old Mossie was master of enough of them (and good enough at all roles to which it was turned) that the RAF and Fleet Air Arm loved it. From crashing German propaganda meetings, to acting as Pathfinders for large RAF raids, and being the most fearsome night fighter in the skies, the Wooden Wonder never seemed unable to rise to the challenge.
And today, it remains as beautiful as ever… Freeman’s Folly is still flying free in the dreams of all who love aircraft.
1/32 de Havilland Mosquito FB Mk.VI by Tamiya
I cannot stress how long I have been waiting for this kit…
I’ve loved the Tamiya 1/32 fighter series for some time. Pricey, to be sure, but so very detailed and complete, and when I heard about this one, I practically fainted on the spot.
And, thanks to Tamiya and a generous hobby shop, here it is.
I’ll be doing the review here in more stages than the usual unboxing/build style – as you shall see, there are reasons for this, and the plane requires much more work than any other aircraft I have tackled before (even the Volks Horten is crude by comparison).
Opening up the box is something of a shock to the system… So many sprues!
Let’s dive in to mountain of mayhem!
The detail on these parts is outstanding.
NOTE: The kit also includes a detailed photo/history pamphlet in the retail version, but it was not included in the sample I received.
Moreover, the export version includes transparent paneling of some sort.
This one is going to be a long job, and I am not going to rush it.
I’ve been waiting for this kit and I’m intimidated by it in the extreme.
Let’s see if I am up to the challenge of the Wooden Wonder!
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