As usual, I am late coming to the dance, but I am ready to catch up. My only excuse is that I was completing a Special Hobby kit and a Valom kit, and I needed some time to acquire refills for my sandpaper and filler.
My first contribution to the group is a Mosquito that depicts one of the aircraft used in the filming of the 1964 movie 633 Squadron. Although this movie didn’t do well with the critics, it has a bunch of really cool actual flying sequences, and I have been a fan of the movie ever since I first saw it.
1. Movie poster, thanks to Wikipedia
If you are unfamiliar with the movie, here is some background:
This movie, about a WW2 Mosquito squadron was filmed in England in 1963 and released in 1964. It is based on a novel written by a former RAF officer, Frederick Smith. The movie tells the story of a Mosquito squadron which is tasked with destroying a very difficult target that lies at the end of a very narrow fjord which is lined with anti-aircraft guns. The producer chose an American actor, Cliff Robertson, in the key role of the squadron commander, in the hopes that he would attract a larger American audience to what was essentially a British film. Robertson, who was a proficient pilot and who owned a Spitfire, was not allowed to fly any of the Mosquitos because of insurance restrictions. You may also remember Robertson as the actor who played John Kennedy in the movie PT-109.
1. One of book covers from one of the many different editions of the novel.
1. Cliff Robertson from the movie, thanks to CinemaEssentials.com
Prior to this movie, the flying action sequences in flying movies were often taken from archival film from WW2. This movie was to be one of the first to be filmed in wide-screen Panavision, so it was decided that archival film wouldn’t work for this movie. The RAF had retired the Mosquito in 1963, but there were a number of contractors in England who used Mosquitos as target tugs for the RAF. The producer found 10 Mosquitos to use in the flying sequences in the film, with an additional airframe used to depict an aircraft crash and fire. The flying scenes in this move are still really cool. Some of the more difficult flying scenes were produced using models, and they are really easy to pick out in the movie. The flying scenes were flown in Scotland, especially in some of the lochs near Glen Coe. RAF Bovington was used as their base in the movie.
1. Movie still photograph
1. From the movie, thanks to CinemaEssentials.com
The aircraft used were mainly TT Mk 35s that were changed to look like Mosquito FB Mk 6s. The main cosmetic changes include glass nose and side windows were painted over and dummy machine guns that were added.
1. from imcdb.org
2. Notice front glass painted over and dummy machine guns.
1. Thanks to VintageWings.ca
2. Painted glass, dummy guns
Although this movie was based on fictional events in the novel, the author based many of the raids in the book on actual WW2 Mosquito raids. I really liked both the book and the movie, even though the critics didn’t share my thoughts. It did apparently have some effect on modern movies, however. George Lucas has stated that the scenes from 633 Squadron of the Mosquitos flying down a steep fjord with anti-aircraft guns firing at them led directly to his vision of the rebel fighters making the “trench run” in Star Wars. He said he would run the Mosquito clips side-by-side with the clips from Star Wars to make changes in post-production. Wikipedia has a really good article on the movie (search for “633 Squadron”), so check it out if you are interested. If you have never seen the movie, here is a short clip from Youtube:
My plan is to build a Mosquito as it might have appeared in the movie. Basically you need a fuselage with a glass nose and side windows that you can paint over and then add dummy guns. I have a 1/48 Airfix Mosquito B Mk VI/PR Mk VI in my stash. I have had this kit for a long time, but have never really looked at it. I was amazed to find almost two complete kits inside the box. There are two complete fuselages, one with a glass nose and side windows, and one without. There are two complete sets of glass for the Mosquito with several different canopy styles. I think I can build an “accurate” model of the Mosquitos as they look in the movie. I went digging through my stash of resin, etch, and masks, and found a good selection of things I can use. I was amazed to find a resin set for the cockpit that was designed for the Airfix kit. I still need to piece together some decals, but I plan to make some masks for the aircraft codes. Wikipedia lists all of the aircraft codes used on the movie Mosquitos, so I can accurately depict one of the movie codes.
All I need to do now is dive in and see how all of this will fit together. And all I need to do for motivation is to dig out my copy of the movie and watch it again. :o)
11 additional images. Click to enlarge.