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Hello everyone,

 

I'd like to have a play if that's all right. It's been the thick end of a year since I did any modelling at all, so am going for a relatively straightforward build of the first prototype Mosquito, which I've always loved since first visiting Salisbury Hall as a kid. My work probably won't trouble the judging too much, but it will be a valued addition to the collection so thank you for hosting this GB!

 

I shall be using the Tamiya 1/72 kit of the B.Mk.IV twinned with the Paragon Designs conversion set with the short engine nacelles, early wingtips and different tail surfaces. I shall make my own decals for the serial code, and decide whether to go for the first registration of EO234 or her more enduring identity of W4050 during the build. The roundels and tail flash will be cobbled together from my various 1/72 leftovers - but any recommendations for the correct shade of yellow would be welcome - from a rattlecan if possible as I don't have an airbrush.

 

I'm assuming that the props and spinners provided by Tamiya will be right for the job. I've heard tell that they're actually closer to those found on Lancaster kits, so this would be good to know.

 

Sprue and box shots will follow as soon as Hannants have processed my order, so in the meantime here's a shot of the 1:1 aircraft back in late 1940.

 

And belated New Year greetings to all - nice to be back!

 

MosquitoPrototypeW4050.jpg

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While waiting for the kit bits to arrive, here's some background: 

 

Built at Salisbury Hall, W4050 was dismantled and moved to Hatfield by road on 3rd November 1940. The aircraft was painted overall yellow for easy identification and carried the serial E0234. After reassembly, initial engine tests were performed on 19th of November, the first taxiing tests five days later. She was flown for the first time at 3.45pm on the 25th November by Geoffrey de Havilland Jnr., with John E. Walker as observer.

 

Following 35 hours of initial trials at Hatfield, the aircraft, by now officially adopted as W4050, was delivered to Boscombe Down on 19th February 1941 with camouflaged top surfaces and prototype markings for official service trials with Alan Wheeler as the first non-de Havilland pilot to fly her.

 

There was a mishap while taxying on 24th February when the tail wheel caught in a rut and the a fracture appearing the fuselage just aft of the wing trailing edge. The decision was made by Fred Plumb, de Havilland's Chief Engineer, to replace the fuselage with one built for W4051, the Photo Reconnaissance prototype. On March 18th she returned to Boscombe Down with the new fuselage and extended engine nacelles.

 

On the aircraft's 100th flight a maximum level speed of 392 mph was achieved at 22,000 ft with an all-up weight of 16,000 lb. During further handling tests the fuselage was fractured again in a heavy landing. This time the damage was repaired with an irregular patch on the port fuselage side just behind the wing trailing edge which is still visible today.

 

Service trials were completed on 23 May 1941, to be continued on more representative production aircraft. W4050 returned to Hatfield, where she was flown in a series of tests including how she handled with the bomb doors open and with a mockup turret fitted immediately behind the cockpit.

 

In October 1941 she was fitted with Merlin 61 engines, attaining 40,000ft with these engines on 20th June 1942. In November 1942, by now fitted with Merlin 77s, W4050 attained a top speed of 439 mph - the highest speed recorded by any Mosquito. In 1944 she prototype was grounded and allocated to de Havilland apprentices for airframe training.

 

W.J.S. (Bill) Baird, the Assistant Public Relations Manager at Hatfield, had become aware of the historical significance of the prototype Mosquito as early as 1945. When the aircraft was ordered destroyed he saved it from being burned, instead having it dismantled and then moving it first to Panshanger, then Hatfield for a short time, then to the factory at Chester and finally back to off airfield storage at Hatfield.

 

In the meantime, Walter J. Goldsmith, a retired Army Officer, had bought Salisbury Hall and upon realising that it was the birthplace of the Mosquito asked whether W4050 could go on display in the grounds. Thus a permanent home was found back at Salisbury Hall, where she was put on public display in the 'Robin Hangar' on 15 May 1959 - where she would remain for the next 52 years.

 

Today W4050 is undergoing a long and costly process of renovation. It's now more than 10 years since she was last 'complete' on public view and in the meantime the removal of different layers of paint has revealed a number of markings, including her camouflaged top surfaces, prototype 'P' and the original serial number of EO234.

 

10_fuselage_at_main_hangar.jpg

 

Pictured in 2011 (From www.mossie.org)

 

It's my intention to make a model of how she would have looked right at the start of her career: a simple, elegant airframe in plain yellow paint... the first of this fantastic breed.

 

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Hi Mish - you've clearly been developing special skills in my absence. According to my clock you posted that in three minutes' time (cue Doctor Who theme)!

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Welcome this sounds good look forward to it

 

Les

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Lovely choice and thanks for an update on current status of the real article.

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Waiting by the letterbox for my bits to arrive! Meanwhile I've tried to get an updated picture of the progress on the 1:1 restoration.

 

It seems that the volunteers have chronicled and documented each layer of paint and the locations of every marking, but there's too much time and damp in there to restore original 70 year-old paintwork, so whatever colours she appears in will be fresh on a replacement skin.

 

They also found the original short nacelles hidden intact under the more familiar extended versions!

 

It's apparently been decided to restore W4050 to the configuration from late 1942 when she was officially the fastest aircraft in the world, as this corresponds with the majority of original parts on the airframe. This means fitting Merlin 77s (she was given a pair of old single-stage engines after being grounded and used as an instructional airframe), putting the longer nacelles back over the original short ones and painting her with Dark Earth/Dark Green over Trainer Yellow.

 

All of this means that I've decided to make my model that of her first roll-out at Hatfield - or as close to it as my skills allow! This will mean somehow mocking up a set of leading edge slats which were part of the initial design and only abandoned later in the development process.

 

Gulp!

 

I'll start the hunt for references now, I think!

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Halfords Fiat Broom Yellow looks to be a reasonable match.

 

Many thanks, Wooksta - I was hoping that might be the case. I've got a big can of it for a couple of rally cars I'm building!

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Right, I've found photos of Handley Page leading edge slats fitted to Tiger Moths and Lysanders. These were fitted, found to be unnecessary and disabled, being kept in place and covered with doped linen. I might try and cut some Plasticard to shape and glue the slats down as 'closed'.

 

lysanderv9281preservedw.jpg

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Thanks Guys thats wourth knowing

 

Les

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I've been using Fiat Broom Yellow as Trainer Yellow for some years now.

 

Hopefully I can eke my new can out to cover a 1/32 Skoda Fabia S2000, a 1/32 Proton Satria Neo and now the 1/72 Mossie.

 

Shouldn't be a problem, but will work on putting down thinner coats in the smaller scale!

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Light pink rather than white is a good undercoat, strangely.  Been using that trick for prop tips for a while now.

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Are you using topcoat rather than primer then Wooksta?

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Airframes get primed with Halfords, but not props unless they're resin or white metal.  

 

Paint the blades black, then the tips a quick coat of pink and then a quick coat of yellow.  All done with Xtracrylics and a hairy stick.

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This is all new stuff for me, but very much appreciated, thanks Woosta

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This is a very worthy project. So many prototypes don;t last long but it is entirely fitting for the Mossie, an aircraft that was immediately successful, that the prototype had a long and eventful life.

 

I really appreciate the way your love of aviation history inspires your model making.

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Thanks Peter, it's definitely a case of interest outstripping skill when it comes to capturing my subjects! I'll be very glad to see the completed restoration of W4050 in 'correct' colours - but that's still some way off. As the volunteers working on her point out, she may be an icon but their total budget is less than it costs each and every time that Vulcan XH558 gets airborne !

 

I'm sure the result will be worth the wait b for most of my 40 years I've known W4050 as an all-yellow beastie, so all-yellow she'll stay... in 1/72 at least!

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A yellow Moz will look the part, glad you're fearlessly embracing that trickiest of all colours to bring off!  At least W4050 isn't in the hands of some businessman with all the budget in the world, but a determination to fly and crash the result... it's sad this history has to be done on a shoestring in our supposedly wealthy societies... but perhaps I have to save this for the discussion thread.

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Thanks Peter. I've done some half decent yellow slot cars, so optimistic that I can pull it off - with or without Wooksta's pink undercoat! Snow's starting to clear so fingers crossed my parcel arrives soon...

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At last! Here's the sprue shot with the conversion kit on top. Terrified? You bet! Having managed to almost put a straight-from-the-box build in the bin, I've now got to cut and modify wings and nacelles and then paint it yellow... the 'Scottish Play' of colours.

CIMG9602_zps96333784.jpg

I also forgot about the serial numbers, so have had to order a sheet of 4" - 8" letters. Plenty to get on with in the meantime.

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It's going to be stunning. Take it steady, don't rush, be worth all the care and effort.

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Thanks Col. Certainly the bits are impressive!

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If I have to cut wings I start from the inside, scribe a line in (hopefully) the right place, then gradually deepen it by pushing a razor saw along a straight edge so it 'planes' away the plastic with the frontmost tooth. Keep holding the outer surface up to a light source so you can see where the break will appear.

The Scottish Play might be a curse for actors but it's great for audiences!

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