Down and locked One of the best attributes of Corgi’s larger scale aircraft has to be the option of displaying the landing gear in the extended or retracted position. A honking big stand is included, but be careful: the Mossie is seriously top-heavy when mounted on it; an errant nudge will topple it.
Being able to display the aircraft in a clean configuration (gear up, flaps fully retracted) is a real plus, especially with a clean dynamic design like that of the Mosquito; however, it creates some design problems, particularly with gear doors. Corgi’s solution is not elegant, but it works. The gear extends and retracts nicely, but the gear doors consist of two separate sets: one open, one closed. The open doors have funky wire springs that hold them in place. To my eye, they look a little too cocked, but this is a minor quibble. The gear itself is accurately portrayed and, like the real thing, a marvel of simplicity. The rear wheel retracts independently, and Corgi deserves a nod for the authentic tailwheel. The unusual design helped to moderate high-speed shimmy; on heavy tailwheel aircraft, a tailwheel lock is incorporated to avoid castering on takeoffs and landings and is unlocked for taxi. Should this lock fail (or not be set), the wheel loads up and shimmies at an alarming rate; it sounds as if the tail is attempting to rip itself apart.
Merlin’s magic Removing the tin (cowling) allows closer inspection of the two-stage supercharged Rolls-Royce Merlin E 76/77 V-12 powerplants that produced more than 1700bhp. The two-stage blower was required to maintain performance in the thinner air at high altitude, and this Merlin variant is easily identifiable by the additional air intake below the spinner on the cowling. This added scoop above the smaller carburetor intake, directed air at the second stage of the supercharger. The Mk XVI did not have shrouds over the exhaust, and that increased its overall speed by a few knots. The detail here is OK, but I would love to see the aircraft model manufacturers take a hint from the premium car modelers and detail and plumb the powerplants. Mounting the cowling is a little tricky; you have to partially remove the exhaust stacks to successfully attach the side cowlings. This aircraft is correctly depicted with American-made paddle propellers that also boosted its high-altitude performance.
Cockpit and interior The seated crew members are well sculpted and painted, but as the interior is sealed on this model, detail here is obviously limited. The transparent plastic used for the cockpit and nose is a bit too thick. The Mossie’s greenhouse canopy has the potential to transform a fine model into a superb replica, but Corgi is not quite there yet.
From where I sit, jammed in among replicas of aircraft and cars, I always find my eyes wandering over the Mosquito. I imagine it alone at 36,000 feet, Merlins crackling and fussy, canopy frosted over, tingle of vibrations of an aircraft as taut as drum redlined and streaking for home. That’s the highest compliment I can give: when I look at it, my mind goes flying without me. The model’s sheer size commands attention, and its clean lines show an elegant and purposeful design. A Corgi strong point is the consistency with which it packs detail into a its models while holding firm on price. The Mosquito has a few areas that would benefit from some additional polish, but that doesn’t change the fact that it remains a beautifully distinctive aircraft and a fine addition to any model collection; I highly recommend it.
The B Mk XVI is the quintessential unarmed bomber. Carrying a larger bomb load, it was faster to Berlin than the Boeing B-17, faster than fighter F Mks, flew higher than many of its enemies and enjoyed one of the lowest loss rates in the RAF, though one suffered the dubious distinction of being the first official kill of the newly operational Me 262 jet.
|» Wingspan: 54 ft. 2 in.
» Length: 40 ft. 6 in.
» Fuel capacity: 597 gal. with 4,000 lb. cookie bomb
» Maximum bomb load: 6,500 lb. or a 4,000 lb. cookie bomb
» Maximum takeoff weight: 25,200 lb.
» Operating ceiling: 28,500 ft. (initial), rising to 39,000 ft. post target
» Maximum operating range: 1,100 miles (550 mile radius)
» Maximum speed: 408mph (loaded); 419mph (post target)