Movie Star Mosquito

  • 52 posts
  • Last reply 1 month, 1 week ago
  • 1/48, 633 Squadron, Airfix, Mosquito Mk VI
Viewing 1 - 15 of 52 posts
  • George R Blair Jr said 2 months ago:

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

  • Erik Gjørup said 2 months ago:

    As usual, I am late coming to the dance, but I am ready to catch up.

    My, do you know how to make an entrance my friend! What a great idea – one of the things I have searched for is those movie planes, like the ToraToraTora T6 and whatnots, and lately I have been thinking of the movieship from BoB. . .
    You have really rolled out the big guns on this one – I’m strapped in, and to follow up, I think the movie may be shown on my screen tomorrow! I’ll be checking for accuracy, so you better be sharp 😉

  • George R Blair Jr said 2 months ago:

    Erik (@airbum), try this website for movie planes:

    This website is the Internet Movie Plane Database. They are trying to document all of the actual planes used in movies. They have a bunch of really good stuff. They say they have planes from over 7000 movies and TV shows. Plenty of info from 633 Squadron and Battle of Britain.

  • George R Blair Jr said 1 month, 4 weeks ago:

    Today was supposed to be the day I started working on the cockpit, but I realized I didn’t know enough about Mosquitos to begin. This build presents an interesting problem: The plane in the movie is supposed to be a Mosquito FB Mk VI, but using a Mosquito TT Mk 35 as a stand-in. Cosmetic changes were made to the TT 35 to make it look like a Mk VI. I know that the film crew basically painted over the nose glass, added dummy nose machine guns, and then painted the planes to represent the FB Mk VI. The problem is that I didn’t know enough about the Mosquito to make a replica of a Mk 35 that had been dressed up to stand in for a Mk VI. I really like the Mosquito, and I am embarrassed to say that my knowledge about the types of Mosquito was limited to the idea that one had a glass nose, one had a bunch of guns in the nose, and one version had cameras.

    Aside from the internet, my library had two books that proved very useful. The first was Mosquito: The Original Multi-Role Aircraft by Graham Simmons and the second was The De Havilland Mosquito: A Comprehensive Guide for the Modeller by Richard Franks. The first reference helped me realize that there were a huge number of variants of the Mosquito. The second reference was very useful because of its diagrams of each version, along with a description of the key features of each version.

    I wanted to first know what the characteristics were for the Mk VI, which was what 633 Squadron was supposedly flying in the movie. This version of the Mosquito had these characteristics:
    -Solid gun-nose, with four cannons located in the fuselage below the nose
    -Non-bulged bomb bay
    -Flat front canopy
    -Antenna wire from mast to tail
    -Single stage Merlin engines
    -Narrow 3 blade props on early version, wide 3 blade paddle props on late versions
    -Side entrance hatch to the cockpit

    Then I looked at the characteristics of the Mk 35:
    -Bulged bomb-bay
    -V-shaped front canopy
    -2 whip antennas instead of wire and mast
    -Dual stage Merlin engines
    -Wide 3 blade paddle props
    -Cockpit entrance through hatch on bottom of fuselage
    -Glass nose, with access to nose compartment under the instrument panel

    All of this is important because I know that the movie company made only cosmetic changes to their TT Mk 35s, so many of the characteristics of the Mk 35 would be seen on the movie planes. I went online and found photos to confirm that the movie planes contained all of the characteristics of the Mk 35, along with painted nose glass and fake guns.

    The cool thing about this Airfix kit is they give you a wide variety of extra parts that allow you to build almost any late model Mosquito. There are certainly all of the parts needed to represent the TT Mk 35 in its movie “costume”.

    I had planned to use the extremely detailed resin cockpit I had, which was designed to fit an Airfix Mk VI, but I quickly discovered it wouldn’t work for a TT Mk 35. As it turns out, the TT Mk 35 had an entrance hatch through the bottom of the flight deck, but the resin had a solid floor and a side entrance hatch. In addition, the Mk VI resin had an instrument panel that completely closed off the nose, while the TT Mk 35 had an instrument panel that allowed access to the nose. I think my plan will be to use the kit parts that will build a Mk 35 floor and save the resin for another kit. I don’t know if I will be able to use the Eduard photoetch I have, since it is for a Mk VI, or whether I will ask my shaky hands to detail the Airfix cockpit.

    Well, the value of research rears its ugly head again. I now feel much better armed to tackle all of the various nuances of this kit. On to the cockpit (again) tomorrow.

    8 additional images. Click to enlarge.

  • George R Blair Jr said 1 month, 4 weeks ago:

    By the way, I mentioned previously that George Lucas used scenes in this movie as a model for his attack on the Deathstar. I found this video on YouTube that blends clips from 633 Squadron with dialog from Star Wars. Very cool. Look for the characteristics of the TT Mk 35 on the planes in the movie. Enjoy!

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 1 month, 4 weeks ago:

    Hi George @gblair!
    What an entrance, my friend! Your chosen subject is absolutely cool, in that it mystically connects the modified planes used in aviation movies with the actual variants they were supposed to represent.
    No more purist thoughts of using other variants modified to look like the desired variants. Now, these modified variants have their own great posture, and I hope I my view is understood, which is a bit difficult if someone reads my above chaotic comment (lol).
    I am really amazed by your motivation and projected implementation.
    What a great choice!
    Please, count me in!
    I will definitely be tightly strapped on here!

  • Erik Gjørup said 1 month, 4 weeks ago:

    And the usual @gblair research wheel gets turning. . . – great introduction to the build George.

    From your pictures you might be able to use the resin instrument panel if yoy cut off the sideconsole – the rest looks identical, but of course that will ruin the resin set and if the IP is the only item to be used that may well be a big waste of good resin.

    The kit-parts look reasonable, but as you point out they may need a steady hand to paint. Keep that movie rolling!

  • George R Blair Jr said 1 month, 4 weeks ago:

    Thanks, Erik (@airbum) and Spiros (@fiveten). I have been considering the various options for the cockpit. First, I can use the kit cockpit, which is correct for the build, and add the missing details. Second, I can use the kit cockpit, but add the Eduard set for the Mk VI, which isn’t correct but probably close enough. And last, I can use the resin set, which would require a hole cut in the resin floor for the entrance hatch, but is incredibly detailed. In addition, I have discovered that the resin set, which is for the FB Mk VI, has a stick instead of a yoke. This would require the use of some kit parts to get a yoke into the cockpit. The sidewalls for the resin are also designed for a plane with the side entrance hatch, which would also have to be modified since the Mk 35 has the bottom entrance hatch. My decision changes each hour, so I am not sure which way I will go.

  • George R Blair Jr said 1 month, 3 weeks ago:

    Today was the day when I wanted to decide whether I would build the cockpit using kit parts, or kit parts with Eduard photoetch, or the resin cockpit. The problem with the resin cockpit and the Eduard photoetch is that, although they are both designed for the Airfix kit, they are also both designed for the Mk 6 Mosquito. The cockpit for the TT Mk 35 is different than the Mk 6. After looking at the various options, I decided to use all three. The resin parts are very detailed and I wanted to use them if I could, and they all fit in the Airfix fuselage perfectly. The only resin parts that won’t work are the cockpit floor (side hatch vs bottom hatch) and the instrument panel (solid nose vs glass nose). I discovered that the cockpit floor from the kit will mate perfectly with the rest of the resin cockpit without any modification. Although the resin cockpit is very detailed, I doubted if my painting skills would do it justice, so I plan to use the Eduard photoetch instrument panel.

    The first step was to grind all of the detail off the interior of the Airfix fuselage, and then glue the resin cockpit sides into place. Only the right side required any modification, which was to delete the hatch frame from the side panel.

    I wanted to try the painting technique that I use on the exterior of my planes on the cockpit. I first painted all of the cockpit pieces with Tamiya AS-29 Gray-Green (IJN) from a spray can. When this was dry, I sprayed a very thin mix of Tamiya XF-11 IJN Green into all of the shadow areas using low pressure on the airbrush. After this, I sprayed a very thin mix of Tamiya XF-71 Cockpit Green, built up slowly using thin coats. Once this was complete, everything was set aside to dry overnight. Tomorrow it will be time to paint the details in the cockpit, weather the cockpit, and then assemble the whole thing. Till then, cheers.

    3 additional images. Click to enlarge.

  • Tom Cleaver said 1 month, 3 weeks ago:

    You have the right Mosquito kit to do this. You might check my build of this kit as a PR XVI (here and at Modeling Madness) for any glitch solutions I had (I forget, it was two years ago and that’s a millenial eternity nowadays).

    They solved the problem of Cliff being American by making him a former Eagle Squadron pilot. I was always impressed that they did their detail research sufficiently to have the correct shoulder patch fo the Eagles on his uniform. Not widely-known information.

  • Tom Cleaver said 1 month, 3 weeks ago:

    That video is amazing. It’s definitely where they got the sequence. The Dambusters would have given them the idea.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 1 month, 3 weeks ago:

    Nice progress, George @gblair!
    Love those resin extras!

  • George R Blair Jr said 1 month, 3 weeks ago:

    Thanks, Tom (@tcinla) and Spiros (@fiveten). I had actually read the book before I saw the movie. In the movie the lead character was British and they were flying the Douglas Boston (A-20 Havoc), then converted to the Mosquito. As you might guess, the book had a lot more character development and several other flying raids before the attack on the refinery. The events in the movie are basically the last part of the book.

  • Erik Gjørup said 1 month, 3 weeks ago:

    The sidewall looks great!

  • Greg Kittinger said 1 month, 3 weeks ago:

    Very cool project!

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