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Hasegawaís 1/72 Mosquito B. Mk. IV

 

By Tom Cleaver

The Aircraft

"The Wooden Wonder" needs no introduction to anyone familiar with the truly great aircraft of the Second World War. The Mosquito began as a private venture on the part of de Havilland Aircraft to take advantage of their experience in making wooden airplanes, and to take advantage of the use on "non-strategic" materials and industries in production of a combat aircraft. Initially, the project met with complete derision from the Royal Air Force, whose bomber barons were busy flying Wellingtons, Hampdens and Whitleys and were planning Stirlings and Halifaxes at the time. Only Air Board Member Sir Wilfred Freeman saw the potential and gave the project sufficient backing to construct one prototype; even this would have been given the axe by Minister of Aircraft Production Sir Max Aitken in the summer of 1940 had it not been made of wood.

When the first Mosquito flew, the potential of a bomber that could outfly a fighter was not lost on those now in control of things. In fact, the bomber version now took back seat to a heavily armed fighter version and a high-speed photo reconnaissance version. The Mk.IV bomber only reached 105 Squadron - previously a Blenheim-equipped unit of 2 Group - in the fall of 1941 and only went operational in the Spring of 1942.

When Wing Commander Hughie Edwards, VC, returned to his old unit that May, the Mosquito came into its own, with the legendary low-level daylight pinpoint attacks on Gestapo Headquarters in Norway, strikes across Germany, etc. By the end of 1942, the Bomber Barons were determined to have their own force of Mosquitos, and both 105 and 139 Squadrons were removed from 2 Group and joined 109 Squadron in the ranks of Bomber Command's night air offensive against Germany, carrying Oboe and later Gee electronic navigation systems for pinpoint attacks. The bombers bombed Berlin so many times without loss to enemy fighters that they were known as "The Berlin Express" to the "Wilde Sau" pilots of JG300 charged with stopping them, and their routes were called "Track 1," "Track 2" and "Track 3." It was not until the advent of the Me-262 at night in the hands of Kommando Welter that the Mosquito finally became vulnerable to fighter interception, and January 1945 was far too late to have any real effect on the outcome of the struggle.

The Kit

The last new 1/72 Mosquito was the Airfix F.B.VI kit, released in 1971, with the last 1/72 B. Mk.IV kit being the truly ancient version from Frog, circa the early-mid 60s and renowned for its inaccuracy. This new kit from Hasegawa more than fills the gap, with crisp, state-of-the-art molding and production quality.

How does it measure up? Think "scaled down Tamiya." In fact, the Hasegawa offering provides a very similar kit engineering to the Tamiya kit, with the forward fuselage from cockpit forward being separate from the rest, promising the fighter version before too long. The bomb bay can be displayed open or closed - unfortunately with only the two bombs in the rear section associated with the fighter-bomber version. The cockpit is typical Hasegawa, with seats, black boxes, decal instrument panel, bomber control yoke, and little else. The canopy comes in two very clear halves, as was done by the old Monogram 1/48 kit, and the nose bubble is sharp and clear. With these clear parts so thin, itís a pity that Hasegawa did so little in the interior.

Decals allow the modeler to create DK353 "E - for Eddie" of 105 Squadron at the height of the daylight strikes in 1942, or "F-for Freddie" of 109 Squadron in early 1943. All stenciling is included, as has become common for the larger-scale releases, and the national insignia are the right colors of dark blue and dark red.

Conclusion

Itís taken a while, but finally thereís a modern Mosquito model. For the modeler willing to invest in Paragon's selections of 1/72 Mosquito sets, it should be possible to create every version of the Mosquito bomber. For those who donít want to buy the Paragon sets, this is a kit that will look good straight out of the box.




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Air Intelligence
1999 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/32 Scale Guide $18.00
1/48 Scale Guide $25.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color
Reference Guide $15.00

Please add $3.20 Postage in the US.

TacAir Publications

PO Box 90933
Albuquerque NM
87199-0933
USA

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