The de Havilland Mosquito is a much loved aircraft that has inspired many impressive kits- from Tamiya's very detailed and well-engineered 1:48 and 1:72 kits, to Airfix's giant 1:24. Due to the large number a variants, it is impossible for mainstream manufacturers to cover all of them. 1:72 scale modellers are lucky to have the small resin manufacturers produce conversion sets to cover a lot of them.
Paragon Designs have produced a conversion for the prototype, however their's requires a significant amount of work- the nacelles from the kit have to be converted with the short rear section, and exhausts and intakes removed and replaced. I believe this conversion doesn't provide the increased forward projection of the engines, nor the round-profile tailwheel tyre (Tamiya's anti-shimmy wheel was not see on the early aircraft). However, if does provide the shorter wing tips of the first prototype.
In 2004 Model Aircraft Monthly made available to its readers a conversion set that completely replaced the Tamiya kit's nacelles. The conversion was mastered by Paul Lucas, who's accompanying research was published in the April 2004 issue. In the summer of 2010, Freightdog Models re-released this conversion set, under their new Silver Cloud brand. This time the resin parts were accompanied by a set of decals to represent a B.Mk.I series i of 105 Squadron in May 1942.
Opening the box
The set arrived very promptly after it was dispatched. It arrived in a Jiffy bag, with addition bubble wrap around the box. The box is very tough, made from corrugated card- it would probably be safe in the post without any additional packaging (even considering the Royal Mail's handling!). Inside the resin parts were in a zip-lock bag with additional polystyrene foam to protect them.
There are seven resin parts- the two nacelles, two upper cowlings, tailplanes, and a tail wheel. The tailplanes are shorter span than than the kit parts. The small sheet of decals has markings for one aircraft.
Quality and details
The resin is very well cast- few if any air bubbles present, and clean-up should be very quick. The intakes have been finely recessed, and the tailplanes have detail of a similar level to the kit parts. The tail wheel is also excellent, with sharp details- I would have liked at least a hint of the forks not being in contact with the wheel, particularly at the front. All the large surfaces are very smooth, and with a wash to remove the mould release agent, shouldn't require any preparation before priming.
The colours of the decals are almost spot on, to my eye. The national markings are certainly as good as any I have seen, in terms of colours. The sky codes are perhaps a tiny bit to far towards the yellow in my opinion, but they are much better than most mainstream kit manufactured. The only complaint would be that the sky does not completely overlay the white base printing for the codes- so there is a 0.2 mm white border on the left hand side.
Although there is only one marking option included, Freightdog do have addition schemes planned for a decal sheet that will cover many Mosquito conversions sets that they are releasing. The markings for these early Mosquitos aircraft were all standard sizes, so could be made up from generic sets- the exception being that the PR.I's at first carried red-white-blue-yellow equal spaced roundels on their sides, which were later over-painted to just red-blue roundels, which meant they were a non-standard size of 42 inches in diameter.
The instructions come on a double sided A4 sheet, colour on one side for the markings guide. The fitting instructions highlight areas where modeller may need to use filler (the tailplane joints), and where the kit parts need to be cut (only the upper cowling removal requires cutting). The paint call-outs are for Humbrol, Xtracrylix and Xtracolor, Lifecolor, and Modelmaster- as well as the FS codes for the equivalents.
The dimensions of the parts all seem to match the two plans I have. Even in the Model Aircraft Monthly build using their conversion parts (see MAM April 2004, Vol.3, Issue 4) the engraved line for the rear section of the nacelles that collapse into the body of the nacelle when the flaps are lowered was questioned. Unfortunately, this has not been changed. The line is at too steep an angle, according to plans than are published in the same MAM issue, and the plans that accompany the conversion kit in this release. It is not a big task to fill and re-scribe this line. I have not been able to find a photograph where this joint is visible- it seems much less prominent than panel lines.
Other minor nits are the angle of the ejector exhaust appears too close to horizontal, compared to photographs, and the start of the intake for the ejector exhaust is very slightly too far forward- see the red overlays on the photo. These could both be fixed in a few minutes with a razor saw and drill to re-hollow the intake.
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Highs: Should be straightforward to fit the parts, best option for making the early mosquitos, high quality casting.Lows: Minor inaccuracies; easy to rectify if you are bothered by them. Slightly out-of register code decals.Verdict: Excellent to have this conversion available again, and to a wider audience than its first production run.