De Havilland’s wooden masterpiece, the Mosquito needs no introduction. The
type is a legend – the “Wooden Wonder” that served the R.A.F. as a fast
bomber, fighter bomber, night fighter, long range reconnaissance aircraft and
trainer and target tug. The U.S. Army Air Forces also took a shine to the
Mosquito, with a number seeing service as night fighters and weather
reconnaissance birds for the 8th Army Air Force in N W Europe. Post
war, Mossies saw service with air forces as diverse as the newly formed Israeli
AF and China
– and of course, here in New Zealand with No.75 Sqn, RNZAF.
the Mosquito was to be replaced by another legend, the English Electric Canberra
jet bomber, which went on to compile its own outstanding record of service over
is not so well known is the civilian use of the Mosquito during WW2 by BOAC –
the then British Overseas Airways Corporation. This came as result of the fact
that the British government had contracted with the Swedish government to buy
that country’s entire stock of ball bearings, a vital component of a
mechanized military in wartime. Alongside this was the need to maintain a link
to the British Embassy in
, which provided essential intelligence “eyes and ears” across the Baltic
– and also into neighbouring occupied
service started in late 1939 with British Airways Limited running flights from Perth
respectively. These flights were undertaken using Junkers Ju-52/3m aircraft.
well as bring back the precious ball bearings, the flights also helped keep up a
British “presence” in those countries as a counter-balance to German
propaganda efforts in the region.
March 1940, the service was transferred to BOAC control and after the Soviet
attack on Finland
and the German occupation of Denmark
Norway, only the Stockholm
run was still in operation. Not only was the service of huge importance to the
British, but to Norway
as well as large numbers of Norwegians had made their way into Sweden
and needed to be brought back to the U.K.
to continue the fight against their country’s occupiers.
1941 BOAC established a service flying from Leuchars in
in Stockholm. Flights were undertaken using Lockheed Hudsons and later Lodestars purchased
in the U.S.A. by the Norwegian Purchasing Commission. These were operated in BOAC colours,
but were crewed and owned by the Norwegians. While being reasonably safe during
the dark winter months, Hudsons
and Lodestars were very vulnerable to attack during the long Northern summer.
requirement therefore existed for a high-speed, high altitude aircraft to fly
the route. BOAC approached the British government for a solution and were
offered – wait for it – Albermarle and Whitley bombers! These of course,
would have made even larger and slower targets than the Hudsons
and Lodestars already in service and were politely turned down.
was only one type that really made the grade – the D.H. Mosquito, which left
most Luftwaffe fighters choking on its contrails and exhaust.
the 5th of August 1942, a 105 Sqn Mosquito B.IV (DK301, GB-H) carried
out a courier flight to
Stockholm. The aircraft was painted overall grey and devoid of any markings.
flight proved successful, BOAC received their first Mossie on December 15th
1942. This was a Mosquito PR.IV, ex RAF DZ411. During the spring of 1943, the
first of six Mosquito FB.VI were received by BOAC, followed by another three in
April 1944. These aircraft were all demilitarized – stripped of weapons,
armour plate and exhaust shrouds. All gun ports and ejector chutes were plated
or doped over to minimize drag. This was a speed thing after all. Initially the
Mosquitoes flew alongside the Hudsons
and Lodestars, but as German fighter activity increased in the Baltic, the two
Lockheed twins were grounded. Norwegian crews flew with British BOAC crews and
as the Norwegians were never happy with the load carrying ability of the
Mosquito compared to the Lockheeds, the Hudsons
and Lodestars were eventually airborne again. With the removal of all armament,
every nook and cranny on the Mosquito could be used to carry cargo –
especially those ball bearings. Those “lucky” enough to be a Mosquito
passenger could look forward to several hours on their back, wearing an
electrically heated flying suit, lying on a cot in the bomb bay with an intercom
link to the pilot and navigator above and a flask of tea and some biscuits. Kind
of puts budget airlines in a whole new light!
images below to see larger images
1/48th scale Mosquito kits (B.IV/PR.IV, FB.VI/NF.II, NF.XIII) are
some of the best of their 1/48th scale range. Typically easy to build
with plenty of moulded in detail, a great model can be had straight out of the
box. Of course, there is a wealth of aftermarket stuff out there for them –
decals, resin and photo etch if so desired. I’ve built this model pretty much
“OOB” leaving out of course all the bits that go “bang” and closing the
bomb bay and crew entry door for a nice “clean” model. All gun ports and
ejector chutes have been filled and sanded flush. Apart from the decals, the
only aftermarket stuff is Ultracast's great set of resin exhaust stacks. There
is really no hidden peril to building a Tamiya Mossie – it’s a vice free
the paint scheme that makes a BOAC Mossie stand out – it’s quite different
from an RAF Mosquito, even if wartime camouflage colours are still used. For
many years it was accepted that BOAC Mosquitoes “must” have been painted
Dark Green and Dark Earth over Aluminium undersides. The large civil codes were
“of course” Roundel Blue with Aluminium borders. This appears to have been
extrapolated from several colour photos of ex-military types such as the Vickers
Warwick (looks like a bigger
) in BOAC service. Aeromaster created BOAC markings for one of their Mosquito
decal sheets and faithfully followed this assumption. Trouble is, it’s turned
out to be, er, wrong.
undertaken in the late 1990s by Nils Mathisrud from Norway
using eye-witness interviews and BOAC documents has shown that the Mosquitoes
were in quite different colours. To cut a long story short, the were two
“official” schemes in existence: the Civil Land Scheme of Dark Earth and
Dark Green and the Civil Sea Scheme of Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey.
The underside colour for both schemes was nominally Aluminium, although other
colours could be substituted as required. The Mosquitoes were painted in a
variation of the Civil Sea Scheme. The registration codes were to be painted in
Night (black) and underlined with red/blue bands on the topside of the wing and
red/white/blue bands on the underside of the wings and fuselage sides. Photos of
BOAC Mosquitoes show that a lighter colour than Night was used – possibly
Ocean Grey or Light Sea Grey. The undersides were painted Sky with Night codes.
In late August 1943 BOAC ordered two Mosquitoes G-AGGC and G-AGGD to have their
undersides repainted in Night and the underside codes to be repainted in Light
Slate Grey. The underside bands were to be red/blue only, although there is
photographic evidence of G-AGGC with Night undersides retaining the original
red/white/blue bands. In April 1944 BOAC ordered all Mosquitoes to have their
undersides repainted Night and instructed that the codes be repainted Night on
the wing topsides and fuselage sides, with the underside codes being Light Slate
Grey. The actual camouflage pattern used was based on a BOAC pattern for
multi-engine aircraft and is quite different from standard RAF patterns. The
upshot of all this guff is a nifty model of a Mossie in a very different paint
decals for this model come from a Liveries Unlimited decal sheet, which I was
lucky enough to recently acquire. This sheet is very closely based on the
Norwegian research and has markings for two Mossies G-AGGF (ex RAF HJ720) and G-AGGC
(ex RAF HJ680). Both are Mosquito FB.VI fighter bombers – disarmed of course!
“Golf Charlie” was delivered to BOAC on the 16th of April 1943
and subsequently returned to the RAF in November 1944 after having flown some
114 round trips in BOAC service. “Golf Foxtrot” had a shorter life; being
delivered on 24th April 1943 she crashed at Glenlee in
after only having flown 4 round trips. The decals are Microscale quality and
– according to the instructions are “Y2K Compliant” being "Certified
to perform on or after Dec. 31st 1999" – that was a real
used Tamiya enamels throughout (except for the cockpit – that’s Humbrol
#78). The Civil Sea Scheme is Tamiya XF24 and XF22 - these give a reasonable
match for Extra Dark Sea Grey and Dark Slate Grey respectively. The undersides
are XF1 for Night (black). Tamiya X22 gloss clear is my varnish of choice –
decals just lurve this stuff and
always settle down well over it. A final coat of matt varnish tops everything
off – well, it would have until the stuff turned blotchy white after drying!
More fool me for using the dregs of an old jar of Humbrol Mattcote…. After
using the words *&^%%&*!! And ())()*&^%&!!! I managed to cure
the problem by applying two solid coats of gloss and then a coat of matt using a
new jar of Testors Dullcoat – phew!
little family of Mossies have plenty of scope for a large variety of models and
markings and it was great to be able to build something a little off the beaten
track. It’s whetted the appetite
for another Mossie or two, or three….