Flight Will Be Delayed by JG 5..."
Mosquito BOAC Airliner
Mosquito FB VI Airliner from the Monogram kit, Part 1.
by Mike Still
I n t r o d u c t i o n
In my Mosquito XIX article, I outlined the Monogram kits dimensional problems - tail height and fuselage width. Sure, they may be problems, but they are also opportunities to exercise your plastic cutting skills.
Just fixing the tail on the XIX made a major difference in the kits looks, and broadening her beam is well within the capabilities of the aspiring kitbasher.
B a c k g r o u n d
I saw the Mosquito airliner photo in Bill Sweetman and Rikyu Watanabes Mosquito book when I started the XIX in 1997 (guess that project sat in the "in-progress" shelf awhile!), and I decided it would be a neat piece in the future.
The future came when Colin Ritchie informed me of Aeromasters out-of-print Mosquito sheet with a BOAC airliner modification a month ago, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to try stage two of a corrected Monogram Mossie.
BOAC, according to Sweetman, operated an early, short-nacelled PR Mossie and 12 modified FB. VIs for the "ball bearing" run to Sweden between 1942 and 1945. All 13 birds were unarmed, and accommodations were made for four passengers in addition to the two-man flight crew. High-quality Swedish ball-bearings were a frequent return passenger to the BOAC terminal.
Over 500 runs were flown in the three-year period, and four Mossies were lost. The title of this article refers to one potential obstacle to a safe flight - Jagdgeschwader 5 "Eismeer" (Polar Sea Wing), which deployed some of its staffeln in the Scandinavian regions for much of the war.
Even though much of this discussion is moot, given the arrival of the Tamiya quarter-scaler FB VI/NF II, the Monogram kit still is the only game in town for a 1/48 B Mk. IV or PR mark - at least until some enterprising resin manufacturer makes a new nose for the Tamiya kit or Tamiya does it themselves.
So lets look at part one of tearing up a perfectly marginal but classic kit . . .
B r o a d e n i n g T h e B e a m
Some up-front warnings: This is a cosmetic job, and I believe the Airfix article called for a 1/8" widening of the fuselage. I only went with an .040 styrene spacer on this conversion, but an eyeball comparison with the Revell 1/32 Mosquito fuselage shows that .040 inch looks pretty close. Technically, the wingspan should be adjusted for the increase in fuselage width, but the radiators and nacelles would have to be brought back toward the fuselage somehow. A dry fit of the kit parts showed (to me, at least) that it made little difference in the overall appearance.
So, if you dare, first cut off the fin and rudder from each kit and shorten the parts per the description in the NF XIX article (Photo 1). If you want to build a bomber, leave the Monogram bomber nose in place. Obviously, for a fighter conversion, cut away the molded-on nose. To do a bomber youll also have to widen the kit clear nose piece and bomb aimers floor, and mold a new piece. Now you see why Im doing the fighter/airliner!
Next, cut away all fuselage locating pins except the rearmost tail cone pin. Get some .040 styrene strip (.040x.040 will work best here for handling reasons). If you look at photo 2, youll see that I tapered both sides of the strips starting 3" aft of the cockpit opening on the dorsal area and 1 5/16" aft of the bomb bay doors on the ventral strip. The upper strip is then glued in place from the cockpit rear to the front of the fin fillet, and flush with the exterior of the fuselage. The ventral strip is glued from the front back to the front of the tail wheel well, also flush with the exterior.
Trim away the excess strip inside the halves, and super glue one-inch pieces of wide .020 strips in strategic places for new locators. Dont forget to bend the locators a little so one fuselage half doesnt spread and form a step on the joint later. Also, add a shaped styrene spacer from .060 sheet to fill the now-gaping fin root (Photo 3).
Photo 4 shows the mud guard that goes in the tail wheel well. I made this from a curled styrene strip roof and sheet sidewalls glued with Tenax and trimmed to shape when dry.
The kit tail wheel unit is marginal, but using the magic Dremel (Photo 5) to hollow out the yoke and grind the anti-shimmy tread into the tire makes the part look pretty good.
The cockpit floor also has to be widened (Photo 6). I thought an .020 strip on each side of the part would work, but it wasnt enough. Actually, glue .040 strips to each side, and dry fit and sand until the fuselage halves fit together.
If youre going to open the access door and want an accurate cockpit interior, you will have to lower the forward cockpit floor. I first cut away the forward floor level from the bomb bay piece. I then divided the navigators and pilots sides with a VERTICAL cut, leaving a section with the mounting hole for the instrument panel.
A new port floor was cut from .010 plastic sheet and glued on the underside of the vertical section of the kit floor and the mounting hole (Photo 7).
A piece of .080 styrene bar was glued to the back of the new floor, allowing the floor to be glued below its original level on the bomb bay unit (Photo 8).
The kit cockpit is pretty terrible overall, so break out the Dremel tool and grind away the support for the navigators seat. Carve and sand a new seat cushion from .020 styrene, and add a new seat back from styrene using the many references on the market (I used the cutaways in the Sweetman-Watanabe monograph).
Things get hairy at this point. I wanted a fairly flush cockpit wall to detail, but the Monogram kit root is prominent inside. So . . . . assemble the wings and landing gear per kit instructions. Detail the radiators in your favorite method, and open the underwing holes for the slipper tanks (although Im sure BOAC pilots would had loved to have rockets . . . .). BUT be sure to leave the tanks off until after decaling. Trust me on this one.
Be sure to cut away the main gear axles and bore out the axle sockets to take styrene rod or aluminum tube axles. Also, fill, file and sand any seams in the wing half joints (and there are plenty) with super glue and accelerator. Thin down the trailing edges too.
Mill out the carburetor intakes , if youre brave or foolish enough (I was foolish enough, since Id done it on the NF XIX). Finally, add .040 strip caps on the end of each locator tongue on the wings to compensate for the earlier fuselage work
Attach each wing to its respective fuselage half and break out the Dremel tool again. Using small steel ball cutter and glass etching bits, I milled down the radiator roots so the cockpit walls were continual surfaces (Photo 9). Be careful not to cut through the roots, though. Some of the interior wing socket will be left, but the radio shelf part hides most of this. Finish out the smoothing with putty and sanding sticks, and reinforce the wing-fuselage joint around the radiator from the outside with super glue and accelerator.
The cockpit opening is also wider, now that youve shimmed things. To avoid the canopy falling through the hole, securely super-glue more .040 strip around the opening. Shape this to fit the outer and inner contours.
S t a c k s
The BOAC option in the Aeromaster sheet requires one more bit of surgery - exposed exhaust stacks.
This may not be for the faint-hearted, and it certainly was a moment Id been happy to avoid for the last 20 years. But nows the time, and a little suffering is good for the soul - especially when you can read how not to do it!
Now that youve got the wings assembled and finished, its actually a good time since you can compare and align the stack openings on both nacelles. Cut slots in the exhaust shroud mounting area, about 5 mm aft of the cowling front and 1.XXXX cm toward the rear. These slots should be about 3.5 mm fron top to bottom, also.
Since the spinners and backplates are not installed, glue pieces of styrene block behind the slots for mountings for the stacks. Remember that the mount surfaces should be parallel to the thrust line, not flush with the backs of the slots!
You can cadge some useful stacks from a Monogram 1/48 P-51D (not B), since the kit contains the stamped metal units and the more defined individual ejector stacks suited to this project. I tried cutting and bending new stacks from plastic tube, but I just dont have the eye for it. Instead, I milled out six-stack units from solid styrene blanks with a Dremel tool and fine bits (Photo 10). It probably is harder, but I was happy with the results. Install whatever stacks you use and breathe a sigh of relief, because youre over the hard part.
Add strip around the instrument panel to fit the new interior. I chose to keep the kit part, but I ground out the plastic around the rudder pedals. It looks a lot better.
The fighter nose part needs all its gun ports and troughs blanked off for the BOAC airliner. Next, dry fit the fuselage halves together with masking tape and place the nose to see where the nose width is narrower than the new fuselage. Mark that area with a pencil or marker, and cut new cheek pieces with .020 or .030 sheet (Photo 11). For an open access door, I cut open the hatch before adding the cheek pieces, and reopened the hatch afterward.
Dont putty and sand the nose to shape until after youve attached it permanently.
I had no information about passenger accommodations on the airliner Mossie, other than that the bomb bay seated four uncomfortably, so I didnt go into that area.
Now that youve gotten this far, you can see that it should go together. Most of the work is easy stuff that youd have to do to make the Monogram kit look halfway decent anyway. So take a breather and wait while I finish the rest of this ritual mutilation!To be continued...
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