Sunday, September 13

Gary’s HK Models 1/32 Mosquito B Mk.IV Build Review - Part 3

In part I we looked at the kit’s cockpit, detailed assembly and did a dry fit, in part II we painted some of the insides – now in part III of Gary’s build review the structure of the lovely HK Models De Havilland Mosquito B Mk. IV in 1/32nd scale goes together. See how he super details these internals before he finishes off the exterior in today’s build review.

Build review:
De Havilland Mosquito B Mk. IV
HK Models

1/32nd scale
320 Parts + Photo Etch
Decals for 3 Aircraft from Cartograf
Price around $170 USD from HK’s Distributors Worldwide

It’s been a while since we provided an update on the HK Models Mosquito build but be assured that I have been busy at work on the bench finishing off this impressive kit. I hope it’s been worth the wait.

In part 1 and part 2 of the build I focused primarily on the construction of the model. With this work mostly complete now it’s time to get to the painting, decaling and weathering steps. Remembering that my model is a pre-release test shot I did not have access to the final kit decals or paint options. I therefore looked elsewhere for inspiration and found myself drawn to the boxart of the latest release of the Revell kit.
The thing I liked the most about this scheme was the invasion stripes on both wing top and bottom and round the entire rear fuselage. This made the scheme (and hopefully my model) more visually interesting.
The final kit has now been released and as expected there were lots of small changes & tweaks made by HK Models since my test shot. Adam did a full review of the production kit here when it arrived if you are curious what changed and what you will get in the box yourself.

And now on with part 3 of our build.

One of the main references I used during my build was the Aero Detail book. As I was studying the line drawings of the Mosquito one thing that jumped out at me was the panel line and rivet detail present on the metal parts. I think it stands out in drawings because the Mosquito being made almost entirely from wood means that the few metal areas with rivet detail are quote noticeable.

HK unfortunately has not made any attempt to reproduce the surface rivet details on the nacelles so I figured this was a good chance to get out my riveting tool (Rosie the Riveter) before I started to assemble the parts. 
While consulting the Aero Detail drawings I also noticed that more rivet detail could be added to the nacelle upper surface.
Using the Aero Detail drawings (and a quick visual check of the Tamiya 1/48 kit) led me to remove and replace several of the panel lines in this area as well. I’m not 100% confident the drawings are accurate but I decided this after I had done the modifications and didn’t want to second guess myself too much :-)
The cowlings had a few missing panels and rivet details so I used my trusty Pactra tape and Tamiya scriber to add them back in.
With all the surface detailing completed it was time to break out the paint. First up was the interior of the main wheel wells. A primer coat of Flat Black was followed by a light coat of Mr Color H364 BS283 Aircraft Grey Green. Detail painting of the moulded in wiring and cables followed and finally an enamel wash.
The Mosquito undercarriage is a fairly complicated mechanism and so the model parts likewise are broken down into many parts. Take care and test fit at this stage to make sure everything lines up correctly before you commit glue. I saw one photo with the engine oil tank painted in the primer red color found on the fuselage fuel cells. This was a custom blended paint I made up from Tamiya acrylics. The metal parts of the undercarriage are “silver paint” on the Mossie and I have simulated this Alclad Aluminium coated with Tamiya Flat Clear which takes off the Alclad metal sheen and makes it looks more like paint. 
Both nacelles are now assembled with the engines painted in black. The general fit in this area is very good with almost no adjustments needed.
Because we needed to put the undercarriage in place before main painting I needed to find a way to mask it carefully. Everyday household aluminium foil was ideal as it was able to wrap around the whole wheel assembly and then be secured using Tamiya tapes strips. It was also a good opportunity for me to try out some Vallejo Masking Fluid which performed well much like Maskol or Mr Masking Sol. 
Next up the clear parts were attached to the forward fuselage and the masked. This has been done “by hand” as no pre-cut masks are available yet for this model. All the clear parts fitted brilliantly. I was most impressed with the canopy itself as this literally clicked into place and was held down by a few small drops of CA.
A loose dry fit of the major sub-assemblies is always a good idea prior to gluing. I’m happy to report no major fit challenges here. 
A combination of Tamiya Tape and Vallejo Fluid was used to mask off the main canopy. There are no less than five separate pieces that make up this canopy and they all fit perfectly. Very well done HK. 
With the nacelles glued to the wings, it was now time to attach the nose to the wings. This was a pretty good fit and I used a clamp to keep everything lined up as the glue dried.
A view underneath shows the as yet incomplete bomb bay. I have pre-painted the fuel cells and will mask them off before assembling the bomb bay sidewalls.
At this point the main assembly was done. A small amount of Milliput was used to blend any gaps present between the fuselage and wing. I have also applied a coat of the cockpit interior colour to the canopy framing. Anyone looking thru the clear parts later will therefore see the correct interior colour on the framing.
The whole model next received a coat of Tamiya Grey Primer. This is the stuff that comes in a rattle can which I decant from the can and then spray through my airbrush.
The last thing to be painted before getting started on the main camo was the Bombay. The side walls have now been added. The Tamiya primer provides an excellent surface onto which the top colour coats can grip.
The fit of the nacelles on my model was a bit tricky. I needed to do a bit of trimming to get them to align properly with the wing. I put this down to this kit being a test shot. I was no big drama. I have used some foam to quickly plug up the radiator intake prior to painting. 
My biggest concern going into the painting phase was how to break up all that empty expanse of wing and fuselage. Normally we can rely on panel lines and rivets to help us generate some visual interest on the models surface. Unfortunately that trick does not work with a wooden aircraft like the Mossie. No metal, no panel lines, no rivets!! What to do? I’m not (nor have ever been) a big fan of pre-shading (panel lines in particular). However always open to try new things I went searching on the web. I remember seeing an Arado 196 built by fellow Aussie modeller Ralph Riese where he used an interesting technique to break up the surface texture before painting. Ralph made it look easy and the result was fantastic. I wondered if his idea might be applicable to my Mossie. The basic idea was to cover the surface of the model with areas of light and dark. I did not want to use black (too stark) so I mixed up a random mixture of red brown and black.
The “pre-shading” mix was sprayed over the whole airframe, top and bottom. Heavier coverage was made in corners and crevices where the top paint colour should look darker (like say a shadow). There was no formula here, I just followed my nose.
Once the pre-shade was dry I loaded up a fairly thin mixture of Tamiya XF83 Medium Sea Grey. I applied this over the lower surfaces in several light coats, building it up in a random fashion. I was not trying to get a uniform coverage, in fact quite the opposite. Once this had dried I added some white to the base colour and again randomly went over the surface to make it look “splotchy”. 
At this point I was convinced that it was too much. What I have done in the past is talk myself out of leaving it and “tone it down”. This results in the thing looking better at this point but once I add more weathering, washes etc the overall effect becomes muted. This time I ignored the voices in my head and left it alone confident that further down the track that it would all be well (fingers crossed). 
The demarcation between lower and upper camo on the Mosquito (like most RAF aircraft) is a hard line. Thin strips of Tamiya tape serve perfectly for this task.
Gary's fourth and final part of this build will be with us in a day. This will include the final weathering and painting of his wonderful kit. 'Till then stay tuned.

 Gary Wickham
The new 1/32nd scale Mosquito MKIV kit is available worldwide from HK Models Distributors worldwide.