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George R Blair Jr
76 articles

Movie Star Mosquito

October 25, 2020 · in Aviation · · 13 · 2.3K

I built this for the De Havilland Group Build. There are a lot of great choices of planes to build for this group, but I wanted to be a little creative in my choice. One of my favorite flying movies is 633 Squadron, which is based on a book by Frederick Smith, and concerns a WW2 Mosquito squadron flying a bombing mission in Norway. The movie isn't necessarily a standout for acting and dialog, but the flying in it is pretty cool. The RAF had retired the Mosquito in 1963, but there were several contractors who still used the Mosquito as a target tug when the movie was made in 1963-1964. They collected 9 or 10 Mosquito TT Mk 35s (target tug) for the movie, and converted them to look like Mosquito Mk 6s. There is a lot of information about the movie and its aircraft, and (of course), a lot of information about Mosquitos.

This build proved to be interesting. I first had to figure out the characteristics of a TT Mk 35, then figure out what they did cosmetically to change the planes into a Mk 6 for the movie. Basically, all they did for the movie was to add WW2 camouflage and codes to the TT Mk 35s. Pretty simple, build a TT Mk 35 and paint it with camouflage. Of course, I did some research to find out the characteristics of the Mk 35, and then watched the movie several times to pick up weathering and so on.

The kit I used for this is a really old kit of the Mosquito Mk 16/PR Mk 16. This kit was first released in 1977, and then years later had some parts added to allow building the PR version. So, when you open the box you find almost two complete kits. You get the parts to build a gun-nose version and a glass nose version, as well as various options for engines and interior, and so on. The only problem is that you get some really old parts from the 1977 release and some much newer parts from the later releases, and the two groups of parts don't fit very well. Here are some of the key features of the TT Mk 35: glass nose, bottom entry hatch, two-stage Merlin engines, bulged bomb bay, 2 whip antennas instead of a wire antenna, and bulges on the top and sides of the canopy. For the movie, the glass nose was painted over and mock machine guns were added. If you want a blow by blow of the build, please visit the In-Progress posts in the De Havilland Group.

By the way, there is a ton of info and photos from this movie. You can find all of the registration numbers for all of the TT Mk 35s used in the movie, as well as the codes and registration numbers used for each "Mk 6" in the movie. I wanted to build a model of the plane that carried code HT-G, registration HR113 in the movie. This was one of the planes used in the flying sequences. A couple of the Mosquitos were actually destroyed for crash scenes, but you can also find out what happened to the rest of the planes. Many ended up in museums. Another cool factoid is that the star of 633 Squadron, Cliff Robertson, was an accomplished pilot. He wanted to do his own flying in the movie, but insurance underwriters wouldn't let him. When the movie was over, he wanted to buy one of the planes. When this fell through, he apparently bought a Spitfire and flew it for many years.

Stay safe everyone.

Reader reactions:
14  Awesome

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13 responses

  1. Watched this from the beginning. Great work, @gblair!

  2. “It’s a wrap” as they say in the movies. You turned that old kit into a star attraction. Glad you persevered. This has been a fun GB.

    I can’t remember if the movie “663 Squadron” is any good.

  3. Thanks, Eric (@eb801) and Robert (@roofrat) for the positive comments. I really like the movie, Eric. Like many war films from the 60s, it is a little stilted, but this movie was made when they still used actual planes in the movie. There are a lot of flying scenes, as well as planes on the ground, and so on. They did use some models to film some of the more dangerous scenes, and they are very easy to pick out from the real aircraft scenes. You can rent the movie from Amazon for about $3, and I hear that it is available on sale at some of the big box stores for about $3. It also turns up on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) periodically. Another movie that is worth watching is called Mosquito Squadron, but it is a little harder to find. Stay safe.

  4. That’s a rough kit. Nice work, George!

  5. Having followed it from the start, l can state that this is a great model, out of a very challenging project, George @gblair!
    Standing apart from the "usual" Mosquitos, I cannot recall to having seen it modeled before.
    Nice "historical" background, too!

  6. You created a perfect looking Mosquito, George.
    If I remember my modelling history correctly, those old Airfix kits did indeed not fit very well.
    A great improvement they made over the last years.

  7. Thanks for the kind words, John (@j-healy), Spiros (@fiveten), and John (@JohnB).

  8. Nice movie mossie! Fun little "project with a twist," always livens up the hobby!

  9. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    Nice work on that model George.

  10. Thanks for the kind words. (@gkittinger) (@de4ever) I'm always looking for something a little different, so it was fun to do this build. There is actually a lot of detailed info and photos from the movie, which made the project easier.

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