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david leigh-smith
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Tamiya’s Mosquito masterpiece

May 10, 2017 · in Aviation · · 40 Comments

I'm not sure that there's anything left unsaid about 's Mossie. She is big, beautiful, and generous to a fault. Having coveted this kit for some time (and not being shy about sharing this fact), I received the Mossie as a gift last Christmas and after the shock of seeing it in person I thought, "this will take an age to build". How wrong I was, because the ease with which it went together and the self sustaining momentum generated by the sheer joy of the build meant the time just flew past.

The aircraft I chose to make is G/Capt Pickard and F/Lt Broadley's HX922, both crew shot down and killed by a FW190 on the return home from the controversial Amiens raid on February 18th, 1944.

The Mossie has long been one of my cherished aircraft, the lines and angles flow in a way that begs you to make her. One of my future projects has got to be making another (HK Models 1/32 Mark IV this Christmas? Is my darling wife reading?) and posing her in flight (the Mossie, not my wife) to capture that unbroken shape in her working element . But for the time being, the detail and sub assemblies of this kit meant I had to build her grounded. Can you tell that I enjoyed this?

I know the shading in this build won't suit everyone (I've heard this style described - on other forums I have to say - as 'cartoonish') but I love this look. And although the Mossie had no panels as such, the shading and gradients of colour has precedent in real life (below). I haven't quite finished with this kit as yet - I want to touch up the paint (there are a few blemishes including two glaring glue spots) and find a nice base for it, but I thought I'd share what I've done while she is in the 'finishing touches pound'.

I've heard it said that our hobby is divided by those who love to build, and those who see the building as something they have to do in order to get to the painting stage. This truly is a model that transcends that idea; beautiful to build and an absolute pleasure to paint. I tried to create an 'English winter' look for the model - without being too 'grungy' - and I was quite happy with the results. I airbrushed the registry letters and the spacing was a bit squiffy - but hell, it was 1944 and you know what ground crew are like...

I can sometimes understand people's aversion to 'shake and bake' models, but I think you have to have iron in your soul not to love this kit.

Oh, and she's big...

3 additional images. Click to enlarge.

40 responses

  1. A beautiful rendition of a beat of an airplane. Doesn't look cartoonish to me - it looks well done!

    Great job, David!

    • Not a Beat of an airplane; a BEAUT of an airplane. OOPS!

    • Hi Jeffry,

      Thanks - I loved this build and the engineering and design of the kit ensured it all but built itself. I definitely wouldn't like to build every kit like this, though. Be like scoring a birdie on every hole of golf you play - it's overcoming challenges and problems that often give us (as humans in general as well as modeling) that important sense of achievement. Gosh, philosophy at 07:00.

      • Well David, it's easy to see several things about this build. First, you loved it! The joy this kit gave you is apparent to us, the readers. Second, the kit is excellent. I would love to build one myself. I'm sure others share that feeling. Third, a blind man sitting in a dark room can see the overall satisfaction of a job well done (No offense intended.) A question, though; why not pose her in flight (your wife, not the Mossie) if she's agreeable? 😉 (Sorry - that was an attempt at humour!) Great job, David, and a pleasure to read your take on it. Thanks for sharing.

        I guess that's my fractured philosophy at 09:30. It's probably easy to see why I became a tank commander rather than a Doctor or a philosopher ...

  2. Great job on a great aircraft.

  3. One of the truly inspired aircraft designs.
    You have done it justice. It looks like the original.

  4. Nicely done, sir...a kit I've yet to obtain, but definitely on my want list (although I doubt mine will turn out as nicely as yours did).

  5. I think the finish turned out fine, not cartoonish at all. Kermit Weeks' Mossie in the EAA museum has the paint so thin that some of the grey areas are almost white and has the appearance that your version portrays with very dark staining along what panels are present on the bird. Awesome job on this. What is the wingspan and do you have photos of the cockpit before you buttoned it up? I normally do 1/48, but this might be one of my few 1/32 exceptions in the future!

    • Hi Josh.
      Just had a look at Weeks' Mossie and you are right, it's exactly the look I was going for (although I wanted that dark, rainy, wintery feel without too much weathering). I just added a photo with a rule as a size guide.
      Unfortunately I lost my phone which had a whole build journal on it with all the sub assemblies - as well as lots of other actually important photos (family,etc). I may have a copy or two somewhere and if I find any I'll stick them on the post.

      Thanks, Josh.

  6. What a pleasure to read and view, David. I find it quite difficult to give some sex appeal to the wide unriveted surfaces of this aircraft and you did it very well with color variations.

  7. Thank you for the comments, Halvar.
    I'm a real admirer of your work and the detail and 'feel' you find in your builds, so your observations mean a lot to me.
    Very best,

  8. Well done David !, this is gorgeous ! Looks like it was a lot of fun to build. This is one of those models that actually looks better than the real thing in the picture. Yes !, I like it !

  9. Very nicely presented. An excellent project.

  10. One of my favorite A/C, just over all beautiful from any angle. Very nice job David looks like Santa was especially nice last year.

    • Cheers, Tom.
      I agree, the mosquito is lovely all over. The fact that she is so efficiently deadly just adds to the attraction. Like a real bird of prey; death and beauty in combined.

  11. You lucky man David, not only did you get the kit for Xmas, but you have done a wonderful job too on her.

    • There's actually a charming Christmas story there. I was on holiday with the family in December and there was a 'wishing tree' in the central square where we were staying (people would write their wish on a leaf shaped note and tie it to the tree). Of course I wrote "a Tamiya 1/32 scale mark VI mosquito) channeling my inner 8 year old with no expectations whatsoever. Unknown to me my 11 year old daughter was watching this and after I placed the wish with the other 300 or so notes, my daughter went searching for my wish, eventually spying my handwriting and gave it to her mum. You can imagine my surprise on Christmas Day when this was handed to me!

  12. As someone who definitely doesn't like the "cartoon" style of painting, aka "the Spanish school," you didn't go there. The shading looks like what would happen normally with high-altitude sun-fade (really the main kind in Europe with all the clouds).

    That's a very nice, realistic-looking model. You've done excellent work here. How about more pix?

    • I have mixed feelings about the 'Spanish school' of painting. On one hand I can see that when it's done well it's technically brilliant, but the slightly surreal look to it jars me out of the 'real' when it's applied to actual military subjects. For me it works brilliantly with fantasy or sci-fi builds.
      Thanks for the comments, Tom. I'll edit the post a bit when I get the Mossie finished and on a nice base, and add some better quality pix.

  13. An excellent model - the paint and finish work look great! I'm of the camp that a little artistic license adds visual interest to something that can seem a bit "drab" if it was too realistic, and I don't mind when folks seem to cross the line just a bit. However, the Mossie looks both realistic and visually interesting! I've got a 72 scale Tamiya Mossie that I've yet to build, and am hoping to experience a similar well-designed fit when I do!

    • Thank you very much, Greg.

      I think artistic license is an important part of modeling style. I don't think I'm the only one (as I'll explain in a second) but there's something about what a subject 'says' to me that determines how hard or soft to shade, how much to weather, and the 'look' of a subject. With the Mossie I wanted a slightly washed out look because I was going for a wintery, rainy, 'feel'. I've definitely noted several variances in style with other modelers on this forum where the same person produces different 'looks' - so I think somehow (like any artist, and I have no hesitation in calling many of the posters here artists) modelers are responding to their subjects.

      Didn't mean to go on...

  14. I'm very glad you've posted this, David, I think it's the first article about this kit on iModeler. Your enthusiasm for the model really shows through and it looks like a great model.

    • George, it is a great kit. Although if I had to make models like this all the time it'd quickly become very stale. I think most of us love a bit of a struggle and making a silk purse from a pig's ear - even if only in our own eyes.
      Thanks for the comment. I've said it before but I really admire the supportive and motivational philosophy that imodelers share,

  15. Very nice David, well done sir! I think she looks great. 🙂

  16. Thank you, Gary. Really appreciate your support.

  17. Looks superb David - a step on from the Revell kit I remember from the early 70's!

  18. Profile Photo
    P.k said on May 12, 2017

    Nice build MOSQUITO


  19. David, Your Mossy is top notch... I'll bet it takes up some space too. Two thumbs up Sir ! I really like it...

  20. Thank you, Louis. Yep, building in 1/32 in general takes up a lot of aqueous footage, and the Mossie is a big bird. My biggest challenge at the moment is creating a space for the 1/350 Big E - will be starting her in the summer and hoping it's not a case of her or the wife...

  21. Looks just great to me David; realistic weathering too. You've done a first class job here. I reckon it's living room standard. Good luck with your domestic negotiations!

  22. Thank you. So far still have the Mosquito...and still married.

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