By Tony Goetz
After World War II, Great Britain had found itself with many unused combat aircraft that hadn't been delivered to squadrons, as well as more aircraft being produced. Most orders were cancelled, only adding to the inventory. Many of these Mosquitos were sold to re-established air forces, such as Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, and Turkey. And of the 280 de Havilland Mosquito NF.XIXs delivered to the Royal Air Force by the end of WWII, 60 of these were delivered to the Swedish Air Force post war.
The first Mosquito delivered to the SAF in July 1948 was painted in a silver paint job (which was not what was ordered), with following planes painted in the requested medium sea gray and dark green. All of these aircraft were assigned to the F1 wing at Västerås in three separate divisions where their ability to fly in almost all weather was appreciated. Here the radar used frequently suffered from breakdowns. The installation of a G-meter showed that all the damage was done after landings, where the aircraft would vibrate on the rough landing areas, but new concrete runways built at F1 solved the problem.
Unfortunately, the Mosquito had a much shorter life than expected in Swedish service, with the last being retired in 1954 and replaced with de Havilland Venoms.
The Airfix 1/72 Mosquito comes with a choice of 3 markings: a D.H. Mosquito NF.XIX of the RAF based in Swannington, or a J30 of the SAF based at Västerås. You can build the Swedish version as one of two planes, either an aircraft from No. 2 division or one from No. 3 division. I chose to build mine as "B" from No. 2.
The cockpit is relatively simple, made up of a floorboard, a radio stack mounted to the cockpit wall, a bulkhead/instrument panel, control stick, and two seats with nearly identical pilots. Before I painted or glued anything together, I removed the forward part of the fuselage for the Mk. XIX modification using an X-Acto to score the molded recess indicating where to cut. The fuselage interior, floorboard, and seat was then painted a somewhat dull green, and the control stick, radio stack, and instrument panel painted black or dark gray.
I let these parts set aside to dry, and glued together the tail wheel and painted it. When everything was dry, I assembled the interior pieces and glued them to one side, as I did with the tail wheel (don't forget it!). The two fuselage halves were then glued together without much effort. Not a lot of work had to be done to get the seam hidden, and since the plywood fuselage had very little detail, not much was in danger of being sanded away. The nose for the J30 went on well, with surprisingly little body work. Unfortunately, it looks like Airfix got the profile wrong of the nose. Comparing it to Bob Pearson's profile shows that the bottom of the nose doesn't cut up as much as it does on the kit.
After primary trimming and test fitting, I airbrushed the area around the landing lights the main gray color so that I wouldn't have to mask them off later, and painted the inside of the upper wing around the light silver. I also painted the radiator and area around it black. I glued the lights in, drilled out the holes for the underwing slipper tanks, and glued the wing halves together. They went together pretty well, though around the wingtip there was some bodywork to be done.
I painted the interior of the engine nacelles and doors the same green as the cockpit, and all landing gear components aluminum with a black wash. The tires were a dark gray, drybrushed with brown. If you can get the landing gear pieces together, congratulations! Now you have to get them into the nacelles! The landing gear and nacelles probably gave me the most trouble, because you also have to keep the propeller shaft in place. I decided not to have a freely moving prop, and cut off the retainer so I could glue the prop and spinner on later. Remember that the Swedish J30 had a four bladed propeller, not three like most Mosquitos. The exhausts were painted a reddish-brown, then drybrushed with a light gray and brown.
Once you have the nacelles assembled, attach them to the wings. I had some trouble here with the top of them being molded into the tops of the wings. A little trimming and sanding, though and they fit correctly. I also had problems at the back of the nacelles because there were dimples on top of them. They also didn't fit too well at the rear, so a lot of the detail there was lost. Those were the only trouble areas for this part of the kit.
The wings fit snuggly into the slots in the wings, and only minor work had to be done to get them perfectly. The hardest part here was alignment. When the wings were in, I glued on the horizontal stabilizers, aligning them perpendicular to the rudder. Now I glued in the slipper tanks, which needed filling and sanding to blend into the top of the wing.
Painting and Decals
Once all bodywork had been done, and the landing gear, cockpit, and anything else that needed to be masked off, I gave the entire model a coat of Testors Model Master primer. This acted as primer and also paint when flaws were removed. The instructions don't give you much in the way of which colors to use, just Humbrol numbers. I would suggest a lighter color for the gray- what I used was just too dark. The green was some home mixed color or whatever I had on hand, but I think that Testors Dark Green could be used as a base to mix it. Using masking tape, I masked off a hard line where the green comes down to on the fuselage, then freehand airbrushed it according to the instructions and Björn Karlström's "Flygplansritningar 2". The spinners were painted with Testors water based "French Blue".
The decal sheet comes with many decals, down to the tiniest notation. Better yet, the decals go on quite well, with very little work other than positioning them. The blue they used looks a little light, but consider it "scale effect". These were applied as shown by the instructions and given a shot of flat coat, and the markings were completed.
Finishing and summary
The last steps were weathering (done with soft pencil lead) and attaching the canopy (thick for 1/72) and antenna. The real J30's had sets of antennae on the tops and bottoms of the wings, but the kit didn't show or include them (see Flygplansritningar 2 for details).
This is an overall good kit and I'd recommend it. Being a Mosquito, there's plenty to build it into! The detail is all right, accuracy is great except for the nose, and the assembly is rather easy. A nice kit, and looks good sitting in the collection!
Flygplansritningar 2, Björn Karlström, Alt om Hobby, 1984
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