Valiant Wings have published the second volume in their 2-part study of the de Havilland Mosquito. This time the focus is on the fighter and fighter-bomber versions, but this actually encompasses photo-reconnaissance and training variants, as well as the Sea Mosquito.
Author Richard Franks follows the well-established format of the highly regarded Airframe & Miniature series in this mammoth 208-page work, with essentially a very useful combination of an overview of the various Mosquito marks covered by this volume, a detailed look at camouflage and markings, a selection of top quality builds of Mosquito kits in a variety of scales, plus a very comprehensive “walkaround” section using a mixture of vintage and modern shots to provide exactly the kind of detail modellers require.
Things kick off with a Preface
- the title of which hardly does justice to what is, in fact, a pretty comprehensive 34-page historical overview of the Mosquito variants under discussion and their service with air forces around the world during and after WW2. Obviously, whole books have been devoted to the many aspects of the iconic Mosquito’s development and operations, but – particularly in a modelling book – this section is pitched just right to set the scene for the technical descriptions which follow.
Chapter 1: Evolution - The Fighters (including Night-Fighters
covers each individual prototype and version, giving succinct detail of modifications and equipment carried, plus camouflage and markings. The section is packed with period photos and monochrome side-views by Seweryn Fleischer to illustrate the development of the fighter variants.
The same format is used in Chapter 2: Evolution - Fighters-Bombers and Photo-Reconnaissance
and Chapter 3: Evolution - Trainers, Target-Tugs and the Sea Mosquito
and, between the three chapters, this represents the most detailed and comprehensive coverage I’ve found of these Mosquito variants in such a readily accessible format.
In Chapter 4: Camouflage & Markings
, Richard Caruana contributes a plethora of his excellent colour profiles. There are over 30 pages of high quality artwork, coupled with a detailed explanation of the various colour schemes and a full-page diagram of stencil markings. Coverage extends to foreign users, so if you fancy modelling something a bit exotic - say a Dominican Republic Mossie, or a French machine serving in Indo-China - you’ll find plenty of inspiration in this section.
Chapter 5: Mosquito Kits
concentrate on models that have been released since 1998, but Valiant Wings cover earlier efforts and much more in a very useful PDF file which you can download from their website
Chapter 6: Building a Selection
brings together Valiant Wings’ regular modelling duo of Libor Jekl and Steve Evans, plus Dani Zamarbide with predictably spectacular and inspiring results.
Hasegawa FB Mk VIII - 1:72
Libor Jekl kicks things off and, as usual, the results are superb. I can only recall seeing Libor work in 1:72 and each time I could easily have mistaken the build for a much larger scale. This time he tackles Hasegawa’s kit, which has been rather eclipsed by its later Tamiya rival. The FB Mk VIII comes with resin modification parts and provides Libor with a great opportunity to demonstrate how to cope with such items when they are a poor fit.
Tamiya B-36 (FB Mk VI conversion) - 1:72
Inevitably, Tamiya’s small scale beauty is soon on the scene, but Libor Jekl goes for something a little “different” by converting it to a post war Czech B-36, complete with German machine guns and cannons.
Airfix FB Mk 26 (FB Mk VI conversion) - 1:48
Steve Evans takes the reins with Airfix’s vintage kit and shows that it can still look very decent in skilled hands with a bit of extra detail added. Steve goes for another unusual colour scheme - this time a Chinese Nationalist machine that fought against Communist forces.
Tamiya BOAC courier (FB Mk VI conversion) - 1:48
It’s Tamiya time again with what’s become the definitive 1:48 Mossie, and Steve Evans once more goes for something a rather spectacular by converting the standard kit to a BOAC high speed courier with the aid of Vingtor decals.
Tamiya FB Mk VI - 1:32
The last word goes to Dani Zamarbide as he applies his remarkable painting and weathering skills to Tamiya’s gorgeous 1:32 kit finished in Australian markings. For me the only slight disappointment is that he built the kit with all the panels and cowls in place (possibly to meet the publishing deadline), so we’ll have to wait for a future build to see him go to town on the Merlins, guns and bomb-bay.
Chapter 7: Building a Collection
once again covers the different Mosquito versions, but this time with annotated 3-D views by Wojciech Sankowski, backed up by more original photos. I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a way to combine this material with that offered in the Evolution
chapters to present one ready-reference section instead of splitting it, but it is ideal for modellers in the way it highlights the elements needed for any particular version you intend to build.
If there’s one thing we modellers can never get enough, of it’s reference photos, and Chapter 8: In Detail
will be the only excuse many Mosquito enthusiasts will need to buy this book. Over 40 pages are packed with close-ups of each area of the airframe, with a mix of original photos and illustrations from servicing manuals and pilot’s notes, well chosen period photos and modern colour shots of preserved airframes. No less than 11 sections cover the Mosquito in almost forensic detail, from the cockpit, radio and radar equipment, through the airframe, engines undercarriage, to the armament and various ordnance carried.
offer useful lists of Mosquito Kits, Accessories and Decals & Masks, while everything rounds off with an excellent set of fold-out 1:48 plans.
This is another excellent addition to the Valiant Wings catalogue of modelling references. It will also appeal to anyone interested in the Mosquito from a purely aviation history angle, but the focus is definitely on modellers and the sheer quantity and quality of material included allows the volume to cover all the bases and makes it a real “one-stop shop” for anyone tackling the Mosquito fighter/fighter-bomber variants. Thoroughly recommended.
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