Wednesday, May 6

Build Review – Part 2: Hong Kong Models 1/32 Mosquito B Mk.IV Series II

Today Gary continues on from where he left off in pat I of this new kit from HK Models of the Mosquito B Mk.IV pre-release test shot. In this part we look at super-detailing the cockpit and initial body assembly including wheels, props tires and bombs. It's looking pretty fine so far...

Mosquito Mk. IV
HK Models
1/32nd scale
Release date: Late May 2015
Test shot build Part II
By Gary Wickham.
In part 1 of the build I focused almost entirely on the cockpit and adding some extra detail therein. With this work complete and under a coat of primer for part 2 I wanted to explore the rest of the kit and give everyone a view of the major sub-assemblies provided by HK. I am almost ready to begin bringing the major parts together for final painting and that will form the 3rd and final part of our build in the future.

A reminder that what you are seeing here is a pre-release test shot and is almost certain to change prior to the kits release. The assembly instructions likewise are pre-release and subject to change.
HK Models have recently released the final box art and the marking options that will be provided in the final kit. For more breaking news on this kit be sure to check out HK Models Facebook page here
And now on with part 2 of our build...

With all the cockpit detailing work completed in part 1 I was keen to see what it looked like under a coat of primer. I think it turned out pretty well and the next challenge was to attend to the detail painting !!
The interior was first based overall with Tamiya X-18 Semi-Gloss Black. I find this provides a good dark base for interiors and allows you to get some tonal variations in corners and crevices fairly easily. The interior colour is provided out of the bottle by Gunze Mr Color 364 BS283 Grey Green followed by detail hand painting with primarily Vallejo paints 
For my pre-release kit I had no decals at all so here I have used some of my own Airscale instrument decals to compete the main instrument panel.
Building up paint on the layers of detail in the cockpit is how I approach this phase. I work on the lower (closer to the base) layers (like cabling etc) first and then progressively paint the top layers. It takes time with so many little parts but as they say “The devil is in the details."
Once all the details have been picked out a protective coat of Tamiya XF-86 Flat Clear is applied followed by a series of light oil washes ranging from raw umber to black around the edges of cables etc. I don’t have the steadiest hand when it comes to detail painting so the washes also hide many of my minor slips or errors.
Here we see the cockpit coming together. As yet the pilot’s seat has not been fitted and the navigator’s seat does not yet have any belts. A light dry brush of Model Master Chrome Silver has been added to the edges of most metal parts (need to be careful in a Mosquito cockpit because many parts are wood remember) to give a worn look.
The port sidewall is also now completed. I chose not to add much detail to the nose interior forward of the instrument panel as you just can’t see it at all. For hand painting of metallic parts I use the Games Workshop Citadel paints as I find they brush really well and look convincing as a metal finish.
The final shot of the port sidewall and cockpit floor gives us a sense of just how cramped the Mosquito office really was especially when you consider two men sat in here.
As I’m working with a pre-release version of the kit I have no access to decals or possible extra goodies like seat harnesses in photo etch etc. I have been looking for a reason to try out the RB Productions range of paper belts and this build provided the perfect opportunity. I purchased two sets of the 1/32 Sutton QK harness off eBay.
The RB set comes with individual textured paper for the harness straps. PE brass is used for the buckles, clips and grommets. If you use this set be sure to read the provided notes before starting as you need to be careful on the type of glue used (no CA) and how you weather the paper without destroying it.
As you can imagine assembling a full Sutton harness in 1/32 scale is fiddly time consuming work. You will need to be patient and have a magnifying glass handy.
I used Elmer’s Glue-All (PVA) to assemble the belts and a heavily watered down Vallejo Brown wash to dirty them up once complete.
I really like the final result you can get with these belts as they have a realistic scale texture to them and bend/sit quite naturally when added to the seat.
With the various parts of the interior now complete its time to bring it all together and re-join the fuselage nose.
It remains to be seen how much of my detailing work will be seen with the canopy in place but for right now I’m very happy with how its looking.
With the cockpit done and dusted its time to follow the assembly instructions sequence which continues with the tailplane section. Much has been said about the use of single piece melding by HK for the larger parts like the fuselage and wings but they have also used this technique for many of the smaller parts as well. The horizontal tail, as well as all the control surfaces, have been moulded top and bottom as a single piece. This means that as a modeller we do not have to worry about joining these and addressing the leading edge seam.
Here we see the fixed tail and elevator. The fixed tail is hollow and has a cut-out on the trailing edge. The elevator is also a single piece mould and the rounded leading edge is provided to be glued on. When the elevator is fitted to the fixed tail it is fully workable and sits snuggly into the recess and looks very realistic.
The tailwheel and bay is well detailed with the mud guard and interior bracing being provided. This photo shows the painted bay and tailwheel with the external cover removed. The fit of these parts is close to perfect with very tight tolerances being achieved by HK.
The vertical tail and rudder are once again moulded in single pieces. The rudder, like all the other control surfaces, has a rounded part for the leading edge which needs to be glued on and the seam removed. Part K12 is attached to the rear interior of the fixed tail part and is curved to allow the rudder to perfectly mate as on the real thing.
Construction now turns to the main undercarriage and nacelle/wheel wells. The main gear on the Mosquito is quite interesting as De Havilland used many alternate techniques to try and once again reduce the need for metal. The main struts do not use the common hydraulic oleo strut shock absorber system but rather they are simply filled with rubber rings that when compressed (on landing) perform the shock absorbing function. The undercarriage door closing mechanism is likewise ingeniously simple and consists of a series of cables that literally pull the doors closed as the gear retracts. 
This photo shows a useful overall view of the externally visible parts of the main undercarriage. Note the complex looking piping framework attached to both struts. This looks imposing but in reality its whole purpose is to manually push the gear bay doors open as the gear rotates down. To close the doors during gear retraction a length of wire cabling was used to pull them as the gear went up.
Both left and right main undercarriage assemblies are reproduced accurately by HK and hence consist of many parts. Normally I like to leave attaching the wheel to the very end of a build but in this case the wheel needs to sandwiched between both struts and so some painting needs to be completed prior to assembly.
A simple enhancement was made to the axle clamp by trimming the kit part (shown on the right) and adding some bolt heads from punched discs.
The only extra detail that I felt needed adding to the struts was the single brake line that runs down the outside of the each strut.  Note that each tire already has a flat spot to give the impression of weight and you need to be mindful where this is located on the tire when you attach the wheel to the strut.
A good photo of the rear of the main wheel well showing the gear door retraction springs (no hi tech hydraulic retraction here). The gear bay is quite sparse compared to other aircraft largely in part I suspect because being a twin configuration the engines are stuck out on the wing by themselves so there is little need for the wheel bays to be filled with cabling and fluid lines like many other aircraft. 
The nacelles house the wheel wells and forward of the wing, the engines. Some piping detail is moulded on the roof of the kit wheel well and this could be enhanced if you so desire. The sidewalls have ribbing and the inevitable ejection pin marks that need to be removed.
Once again the fit of the parts is very good and the three parts that form the nacelle almost snap together.
A simple addition we can make to dress up the rear of the main wheel well is the gear door retraction springs. Here I have used some copper wire to fashion some springs and fitted them to some plasticard mounts. Simple but effective.
Likewise the front of the wheel well can benefit from some extra detailing in the form of piping and hydraulic lines. The main oil tank for the engine is mounted in the wheel well with tubes and pipes running into and out if it thru the bulkhead. Assorted sizes of lead wire have been used to simulate this piping.
Here we see the main parts of the undercarriage and nacelle loosely assembled. The forward bulkhead is a critical part as it is what the main gear is anchored to as well as providing the weight bearing attachment point for the engine (note the U shaped protrusion which slides inside the main engine block.) I’ve said it before but the fit of all these parts really is very good which definitely enhances the enjoyment factor of the build.
With the nacelles assembled and the main gear done its time to turn your attention to the engines. HK provide two full engines, including the mounting struts. I don’t plan to display the model with the cowlings off so won’t be adding extra details like piping and electrical cabling that would be the icing on the cake for this part of the model.
The Mosquito Mk IV was fitted with single stage Merlin 21 engines. The layout and mounting of the engines were fairly straightforward on the Mosquito and HK have done a good job in capturing the general shape of the V12.
The completed engines look pretty good and would form a solid base for any super detailing efforts. HK have gone down the path of providing moulded on cabling/piping details which is not optimal for 1/32 and I would have preferred to see them make several of these parts separately so when glued they stand proud of the engine block.
The early Mosquito engines (as found on the Mk IV) had 5 exhaust stubs for each bank of 6 cylinders, the last two cylinders sharing one exhaust tube. You can see here that the end of each stub is lightly hollowed out and with careful painting will be enough to give the impression of a hollow tube. I’d expect that the likes of Quickboost will jump on this and give us resin replacements soon enough. Bear in mind that if you plan to leave the cowlings on then none of the engine (or exhaust) will be seen as the Mk IV was originally fitted with integrated flame damper coverings.
Step 24 in the assembly leads us onto that impressive one piece wing. The wing is not literally moulded as a single solid piece of plastic, it is in fact hollow and the best way to imagine what it looks like is if someone took the models wings, both top and bottom, and they glued the leading edge for you and handed it back. The trailing edge is open and as per the instructions we need to glue in place parts K13, 14, 17 and 18 which form the gloves into which the flaps and ailerons will sit. 
Like the larger wings piece, each control surface is also moulded as a single piece (well top & bottom & sides anyway). You need to glue onto the flaps (and ailerons and elevators) their leading edge. The fit here was pretty good but I chose to fill and sand the seam and then re-scribe as needed.
The flap and aileron pairing for each wing come together quickly and are designed to be workable when fitted to the wing (they literally snap fit into mounting hinges on the wing rear)
The kit comes with a choice of weapons lead-out. You can fit the impressive 4,000lb “Cookie” bomb or as I have chosen to do the more common lead-out of 4 x 500lb bombs. From what I have read the RAF had to modify the tails of the standard 500lb bombs to fit 4 of them into the Mosquito, hence the stubby tail fins you see here. In front of the bombs and rack is the fuselage fuel cells assembly consisting of two fuel bladders that sit in the top of the bomb bay.
A wartime photo (what better reference can you find) shows the very distinct colour difference between the bomb bodies and tail fins. I also like the dog riding on the bomb trolley :-)
The flaps and ailerons are a click fit into the rear of the wings. Some work to the flap hinges will be needed as I want to display them in the down position.
HK provides two options for the wingtips. Both the earlier two light and later single light configurations are provided in the kit. 50 gallon wing slipper tanks are also provided.
The port outer wing section with both the early wing tip and aileron fitted.
I am not sure if I will end up using the wing tanks on my build but decided to glue them together now just in case.
Once the nacelles are glued in place you can choose to cover up the engine detail (as I will be doing) with the array of covers. I have not been able to test the fit of these parts as yet but will report back when I get to this point.
Show here are the top and side cowling covers along with the exhaust flame damper covers. Surface detail here is nice with the characteristic cover clips being reproduced by HK around the edges. 
HK provides both styles of propeller blades used on the Mosquito. The standard blade as shown here and the later paddle blades are provided.
Step 29 brings together the main wing and fuselage assemblies. I have already done some dry fitting of this join and I expect no dramas when I get to this point.
As mentioned above HK provides all the parts to enable you to model a modified Mosquito with the “bulged” bomb bay used to carry the 4000lb. Cookie bomb. I do find it a bit odd that HK asks us to fit the bomb bay sidewalls after we install the bomb itself. I don’t plan to use this sequence of assembly myself.
Like most water cooled engines, the Merlin requires an external radiator to fulfil its significant cooling needs. On the Mosquito the designers cleverly installed the radiators into the wing leading edge between the engine nacelle and fuselage. A radiator “flap” was fitted and adjusted from the cockpit to allow the pilot to control the amount of air flowing thru the radiator as needed.
The radiator is supplied by HK with nice detail on the front and rear face. The “flap” is separate and can be mounted in any position desired by the modeller.
The undercarriage doors and non-bulged bomb bay doors are provided with solid mounting points for the hinge assemblies. I think I will add some panel detail to the inside of the bomb bay doors as these look a bit plain as supplied by HK.
The main gear doors are very nice with subtle rivet details and accurately surface detail in terms on lumps and bumps.
So that’s the end of part 2 of the build. I am now at the point where I will commence painting of the sub-assemblies like the undercarriage and interior areas like bomb bay and wheel wells.

As an aside, a few people have asked me what I think of the announcement by Tamiya of their own new tooled 1/32 Mosquito FB and how this will possibly affect the success of the HK kit. Obviously I have not seen the Tamiya kit as yet but I think we all know what it will be like based on their previous kits (some of which I have built). It will be incredibly detailed and probably a complex and challenging build in its own right. By contrast from what I have experienced to date of the HK kit it is fundamentally a less complex and therefore easier kit to build, making it more accessible I think for the average modeller. I think there will be solid markets for both the Tamiya and HK kits, at least I hope so.

It really is a great time for our hobby when we are so spoiled by being able to have not one but two excellent 1/32 Mosquito kits to choose from.

Stay tuned for the 3rd and final part of our HK Models Mosquito build.

Gary Wickham
 The new 1/32nd scale Mosquito MKIV kit will be available worldwide by the end of May 2015 from HK Models Distributors worldwide.