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General Modelling Forum => General Modeling topics => Modeling Blogs => Topic started by: The Wooksta! on March 02, 2021, 06:17:44 am

Title: The Wooksta's Mosquito Blog: Plan V3.0
Post by: The Wooksta! on March 02, 2021, 06:17:44 am
Perhaps not as interesting as the other two, as I'll be doing real rather than whiffed ones. However, there are some distinctly unusual ones that have caught my eye.

I've been doing a great deal of in depth research with the various books in my library and on t'interweb. Google can be useful but very frustrating.

Comments on this thread will go elsewhere when I set up the thread.

Title: Re: The Wooksta's Mosquito Blog
Post by: The Wooksta! on March 03, 2021, 06:16:29 am
I've been trawling t'nterweb and quite a few interesting aircraft and units, one of which being 1409 Met Flight. This particular one caught my eye:


It's a PR.XVI, one of several they had. Question is, do I wait for the Airfix one or do the conversion work with a Tamiya one?  I have the relevant bits...

There's a more famous aircraft flown by the same unit and I discovered I have the decals for it, but I really dislike D-Day stripes.

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Title: Re: The Wooksta's Mosquito Blog: Plan V3.0
Post by: The Wooksta! on March 06, 2021, 02:09:22 pm
I decided to do the conversion work rather than wait the year that it'll take for the Airfix kit to come out.

Fuselage is already done, but rather than do the aircraft above, I'll be doing ML897, D-Dorothy, which is somewhat famous.  However, the decals I've got are for later in it's career when it's wearing tiresome D-Day stripes which I frankly loathe as they just mean more work. However, part of 1409's Operations Record Book is online and it was flying with the unit in March of '44, well before D-Day and thus no pesky stripes.  So I don't have to bother with them.  Hurray!  In addition, being a mk IX, I can use the kit canopy rather than bothersome vacforms.

The real problem is going to be the engines.  I have several sets of the Attack Squadron ones, which once cleaned up look fabulous, but I want to keep them for other things.  The Paragon ones are nice enough but have pouring lugs in the most awkward place to clean up.  See which method I employ in part two...

I've been turning up some oddities in the books where the more whiffy types can go.  For instance, originally there was to have been a light strike force component of the post war  RAuxAF, with several squadrons getting Mosquito bombers (either B.16s, B.25s or B35s) but then Fighter command threw their toys out of the pram and the plan was quashed, although the squadrons that were to get bombers now got Mosquito nightfighters instead.  But one squadron DID start working up on the bombers, 502, and there's record of one B.25 being allocated to the squadron.  Mosquito bombers wearing RAuxAF codes or squadron bars has long been one of my plans, so it would be churlish to ignore such a might have been.

There's a few other PR oddities that will be on the list, apart from a pair of PR.IIs in speculative markings ie there's no photographs to prove me wrong.  The PR.32 with the long span wings is a distinct possibility when I get the wing tips moulded - I have one Paragon set spare but I also want to do the initial prototype NF.XV with the machine guns in the nose, so I'll need to clone the wingtips.  I'm not sure about the wheels either, they look to be smaller. 

I'm definitely NOT following either of Richard Franks books where he says that the tailplanes have the larger elevators, because there's a photo of one of the PR32s next to a photo of a PR34 and both have lowered elevators.  Only the latter is enlarged.  Frank's more recent Valiant Wings book on the bomber Mosquitos also has him claiming that the bulged bay B.16s and B.35s got the enlarged elevators.  Photos prove that they didn't - the bulged bay mk IVs that were converted to carry the 4,000lb bombs did, because it affected their stability and their performance with the bomb was marginal (627 sqn pilots who operated them were very unhappy), whereas the later B.16s had more powerful Merlins and the longer engines brought the stability under control, so no need.  As for the B.IVs, he also claims paddle props, plain hub wheels and single light wingtips.  Again, photographs prove that to be at best spurious - there's a whole series of photos of DZ637 P3-C being loaded with it's BFO bomb, and lo needle props, spoked wheels and twin wingtip light. Franks is talking bobbins, so anything in his Mosquito books is thus suspect.  I located yet another error in the SAMI Datafile. 

It's becoming depressing.

However, something I noticed in a photo in the SAMI Datafile when I got it, way back in 2000.  There's a photo of an ex-FAA PR.16 in rather fetching Aluminium with yellow trainer bands.  They apparently had quite a few rather anonymous machines and some were sold to the Isrealis.  This particular photo of one, G-AOCL, appeared to have arrestor hook fairings, but the serial was unknown and the photo too small. I knew that the three PR16s that went with 618 to Australia (more of which in a moment) were navalised, but this wasn't one as the 618 aircraft were scrapped in Australia. Filed away in me head as an oddity.

Some years later, I get sent a photo by Tony O'Toole of another PR16 in FAA markings, with four blade props.  Then I get some more info, said airframe having some of the same mods as the Sea Mosquito - port side strake added and the lower starboard hatch aft of the wing moved to beneath the fuselage. Hmm, another oddity, filed away for future use if I find more info.

Fast forward to last week when I'm trawling for photos.  I find a very clear shot of G-AOCL and yes, there is an arrestor hook attachment.  I was right, it was a navalised aircraft.  So, hackles now raised, I start looking for more photos and then I get it - a shot of the port side and there's the other strake.  Slam dunk. The same site gives the serial code, RG173 and I go to the books - RG171-173 hooked for Navy.

The question is why?  Was it a back up for the Sturgeon PR?  Were the Navy planning on using the Mosquito in a PR role in addition to torpedo strike? 

618 Sqn.  During the trawl, I find a photo of one of the Barracudas that they used for deck landing training.  But then I find that a photo on the same site also shows two of the unit's PR16s.  They're the two nearest the camera in the centre, one's coded X1 and appears to be in overall alumium dope.



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Title: Re: The Wooksta's Mosquito Blog: Plan V3.0
Post by: The Wooksta! on March 07, 2021, 07:42:52 am
I've just downloaded, amongst others, the Operational Record Book for 618, which covers all of the unit's life.  It's got everything in it you could possibly need.  Serials for all the aircraft, types (they were using a pair of Beaufighters as well as Ansons - one had the serial NK595- the latter type as navigation trainers).  13th July 1944 saw them getting ten FB.VIs as well as a T.III for conversion training.  Later that month, the pilots got their deck landing training, using Baracudas.  Don't think the Navy was too happy that the crabs damaged five and ditched a sixth.

Two of the three PR16s they received were NS572 and NS577, arriving 13th Sept 44.  FBVI HR375 had arrived a week earlier as a replacement aircraft.  One pilot pranged a Spitfire, mk VIII JF286, when he landed it.

Apparently they got twelve FB.VIs in Australia for training, but we only have serials for three and decals for one - three different manufacturers have done the same sodding aircraft!  One, HR576, exploded over Sydney in May 45.

The third PR16, NS735, dived into the ground and killed both crew on 19th June '45.  No cause was determined as both crew were highly experienced.

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Title: Re: The Wooksta's Mosquito Blog: Plan V3.0
Post by: The Wooksta! on March 10, 2021, 03:27:57 pm
Having just cleaned up few Paragon canopies, I find they're oversized - the Tamiya one fits nicely inside. So I've decided to put any 16 based aircraft planning on hold until the Airfix kit comes out.

The B.35 that's assembled is getting a hybrid canopy, kit canopy with Paragon side bulges.   They fit after some trimming. I can live with the canopy on the NF.XV but it may well get a hybrid canopy in due course.  Mk.IXs of course have the original canopy, so they can proceed.

I had intended to use the Hasegawa kit for those but not only do I despise that kit, I utterly loathe it, so they'll be whiffed instead. RAAF most likely, although the one that is fully assembled and was going to be a far east B.35 is now going to be one of the RAAF squadrons in the UK that got Lancaster's, but get re-equipppedd with Mosquito's to cut losses. The Paragon bulged canopy that came with his original Highball conversion for the Matchbox kit just about fits, so think I can live with it.

Trainers. There's a lot of really nice ones that I want to do and the Pavla conversion has issues, Blackbird's too. Both are fixable, but I object to paying nigh on twenty notes for a kit and then half the cost again for a conversion that I have to fix, especially when I have some moulding rubber and the knowledge of what needs doing.
So I do a set of moulds and they work okay but really, I wasn't happy so the mastered have been reworked. I also need some resin as the small amount I have has gone off.
I did have enough resin bits kicking about to bodge a second trainer interior, so that's assembled and should be painted up tomorrow. The mods to the wing, the leading edge landing light, are already done.

I've yet to decide on a scheme for it  - I have decals for two aircraft - but frankly there's a lot of trainers that I *really* want to do.

Comments on this thread go elsewhere, Iink is upthread. Look, I'm using a tablet that's a real pain, so I can't spoon feed you today.
Title: Re: The Wooksta's Mosquito Blog: Plan V3.0
Post by: The Wooksta! on March 11, 2021, 05:27:50 am
I've just read mention that the prototype, W4050, at one point after it got two stage Merlin's, was fitted with the same high altitude extended wingtips fitted to the NF.XV, although no pressure cabin and with the early 3 blade props.  A high altitude bomber version? Although a shortcut high altitude PR version would be more likely.
Title: Re: The Wooksta's Mosquito Blog: Plan V3.0
Post by: The Wooksta! on March 12, 2021, 09:16:24 am
I've discovered yet another error in the Xtradecal Mosquito sheet.  I was never convinced on the silver FB.VI, needing a photo. And I have it.  Yes, it is silver, but the codes look to be red rather than black (the profile of the aircraft in the SAM Warpaint has them red) and the photo shows tropical filters.
Title: Re: The Wooksta's Mosquito Blog: Plan V3.0
Post by: The Wooksta! on March 15, 2021, 05:22:33 am
Managed to get the revised T.3 masters into rubber,  I really wasn't happy with the ones I did a few weeks back so they had to be redone.   I also did some other bits that may come in handy, such as the high altitude wingtips.  I'd like to do W4050 when she had the two stage Merlins and the longer wingtips, although I may wait for the Airfix kit. 

They're also handy for PR32s and I've a hankering for the first NF.XV, MP469, in the early configuration with the machine gun nose.  It also had the original wheels, rather than the smaller ones of the later XVs.  What to use for the machine gun nose?  Well, I had planned on doing it years back with the Matchbox kit and managed to cobble together a new nose from a spare Airfix FB6 one and the Matchbox bomber nose.  Still got it somewhere.  Anyway, looking at the Paragon nose for the FB.XVIII gave me a thought and cloning it for use here was too good to pass up.  I have a spare B.IV that's being reduced to spares as some bits have went walkies, so if I get it wrong, well, it's not so bad.  In any case, Pavla did a B.IV detail set for the kit that replaces the nose section, so I do have back ups.

Next lot of moulding may well be the nose parts from the Tamiya NF.XII/XIII, although it'll have to be a two piece one, largely because the kit is now as rocking horse dung.  You've more chance of seeing Sunderland AFC win the Champions League than finding one in the UK at the minute.  Anyway, a spare fighter nose that I can possibly convert back to the thimble nose variant, with a replacement if I get it wrong, gives me more scope.  I do have the Airkit thimble, but it's intended for ye olde Airfix kit (it was the best about when the conversion came out) and the contours of that are likely to vary from the Tamiya.

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Title: Re: The Wooksta's Mosquito Blog: Plan V3.0
Post by: The Wooksta! on April 07, 2021, 03:03:47 pm
"I don't know why you bother ever!"

Back to 618 Squadron. Originally, when Highball was being mooted, the plan was to equip 305 (Polish) Squadron and the Poles were very happy to be getting Mosquitoes - they'd be even happier when told they'd be going up against the Tirpitz... Then someone at Bomber Command got rather annoyed about that plan, which reads more as "We don't trust Jerzie Foreigner with our new secret weapon" and they came up with the idea of retraining 105 Squadron to use the weapon instead. And then apparently they got bored and handed the whole lot over to Coastal to deal with instead.  This info isn't, as you'd think, in with the Highball chapter in the Sharp/Bowyer Bible, but in a chapter on production.  There is mention of another Squadron to be formed for use in the Med - Taranto mk 2? But plans for it fell by the wayside.

So that's three speculative aircraft to play with. I still have a hankering for an operational Oxtail one with BPF style markings and a deck code for an appropriate carrier.

Then, during a trawl through another book, there's a photo of a Highball aircraft landing on a carrier. Definitely one of the Oxtail aircraft, listed as DZ542 but no code letter given. Looks to be in the same scheme as the aircraft photographed in Australia but given that it's taken during training in the UK it's still got Type C markings.  Guess which one moves to the head of the queue?

There are photos elsewhere on t'interweb of 618 enroutre to Australia and the aircraft are shown on deck.

That chapter on production also mentioned use of B.IVs in the far east and possible production in India. Thoughts of Mosquitoes with chakra wheels are somewhat appealing.

Pinterest is a fascinating but frustrating site to use, especially on a tablet. Took a whole day to find a particular photo.   A rather bland B35, in overall silver with black codes, but I liked it, OK?   Anyway , once I'd found it, I went to check the unit codes, only to find it was one of the aircraft used  by the Central Signals Establishment and one I already had a code tie up but no photo. Slam dunk and yet another one for the Airfix kit...

Link to comments thread further up if you can be bothered.
Title: Re: The Wooksta's Mosquito Blog: Plan V3.0
Post by: The Wooksta! on April 18, 2021, 07:52:33 am
"Wait a minute, wait a minute...Who's this Mary?"

Still with 618 sqn...

A trawl through their Operational Record Book has yielded more airframes of interest.  I have the serials of the ten FB.VIs they were allocated in July 44 and they're not the aircraft that went to Australia.  The FB.VIs used there were aircraft taken from the batch of De Havilland built airframes for the RAAF, and the serials for those are in David Vincent's Mosquito Monograph, along with all the B.IVs that 618 got for Oxtail.  That book yielded several interesting photos in the chapter on 618 Sqn, including one of their Barracudas in an NMF finish.  Apparently they had six for inter carrier communication but four must have gone back to the Navy as there's photos of only two in use in Australia.

One of the UK based FB.VIs was sold to New Zealand after the war, although from the brief history I have it looks to have been used only as an instructional airframe.

In addition to the UK based FB.IV, there are two PR.XVIs listed in the ORB and, again, these are not the aircraft that went to Australia.  That's another one to add to the list for the new Airfix XVI kit, a list which seems to be growing exponentially.

The ORB mentions that they received a T.III from RAF Dyce, but frustratingly, they don't list the serial and the list of production T.IIIs I culled from the master list has no mention of 618 Sqn.  I do have the serials of the two Ansons they had for navigational training use whilst the Spitfire VIII that was pranged was apparently allocated to 618 sqn and it survived until 1948.  I have a Hasegawa mk VIII that's awaiting primer, so that'll do nicely.

Also frustratingly, the ORB gives the serials  of eight B.IVs and the squadrons they were loaned from (four each from 105 and 139 sqns), but no specific code.  Again, these are aircraft of interest and I'd like one representative.  I've a book written by a guy whose father had flown with 105 Sqn and whilst it doesn't have a lot in the way of (for me) interesting aircraft photos, it DID have serial code/letter tie ups and I managed to identify one of the four aircraft loaned from 105 squadron.  Slam dunk, although I'll have to make the serial so perhaps not.  I was going to do a 105 Sqn B.IV straight from the box - I have a photo of the one in the Tamiya kit with a 139 Sqn T.III in the background and I'm doing that so it made sense to do it - but this one may be just that shade more interesting.

Need to trawl the ORB for the Beaufighter II serials, but it's a LONG document running to 218 pages which in some places are just grey mush and I can't face it again today.  For those, I can either use a Highplanes kit or convert the Airfix one with the Alleycat conversion I already have tucked away.  I'd be tempted to get another, but Alleycat's glacial timescale on delivery of orders means there's more likelihood of me playing as a striker for Sunderland AFC in a champion's League final than me ordering from him ever again.

I do have one of the Tse-Tse Flies done, using a cloned Paragon conversion.  It's looking good and I've a choice of two aircraft to do, either one I have a photograph for (albeit at De Havilland's) or another that I don't.  The latter being the aircraft that Des Curtis was navigator, so I'm leaning more towards that one.

My last comment is a bit more Tempest related.  I found that I had a decal sheet that included a 249 Sqn aircraft, but it had been separated from the instructions, so much searching ensued before it was finally located.  I was decidedly annoyed before it turned up, as it's an Eagle Strike sheet and they're rarer that NUFC wins these days.

Anyhoo, 249 Sqn was of interest as I knew they had flown Mosquitoes in Kenya before being sent to Iraq and converting to Tempests.  I have a photo of their T.III, but no codes and Tony O'Toole sent me a photo of one of their Canadian production FB.26s.  Can I use the codes for a Mosquito?  Yes and no.  The codes on the photo look to be the right colours, red with white outlines, but the style is wrong. The Tempest also gives me some rather nice unit badges which would look rather natty above the fin flash. I may just do it anyway - who is going to prove me wrong?

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Title: Re: The Wooksta's Mosquito Blog: Plan V3.0
Post by: The Wooksta! on April 18, 2021, 03:18:45 pm
"Gotcha! Gotcha! Gotcha! Driving Instructor my bottom! You're a vampire and there's no denying it!"

A quick flip through Bowyer's Mosquito Squadron's of the RAF has given me the serial/letter tie ups for several of the UK based FB.6 aircraft. I had suspected that they were possibly some of the detachment aircraft, but now I know for sure.  As for scheme, I found another aircraft from the same batch and that was in the night fighter scheme.  So, result all round.

If only I could find that elusive T.III...

Comments blah blah fishcakes. Link above.
Title: Re: The Wooksta's Mosquito Blog: Plan V3.0
Post by: The Wooksta! on April 19, 2021, 06:05:42 am
Another read of Bowyer's Squadrons has yielded more info.  Used along with the production list, I've now got the serial/letter tie ups for four of the eight aircraft 618 borrowed from 105 and 139 Squadrons, two of each. One is easily modifiable from the kit decals from the Revell rebox of Hasegawa's abortion.

The upshot of this is that I only have to do the one 105 sqn aircraft and the one used by 618 is ex 139.

There's just something about 105 sqn that I don't like. Perhaps it's the overexposure or their aircraft are relatively plain. 139 on the other hand are more interesting, especially their post war aircraft in several different schemes at the same time.

You know the drill by now.
Title: Re: The Wooksta's Mosquito Blog: Plan V3.0
Post by: The Wooksta! on April 20, 2021, 07:05:21 am
"Sausages - it was a Tuesday."

Well, after an hour's work with a chopped up clone of an Airkit mk.XII nose - the radome - some plastic card scrap as hard core, superglue, baking soda and much sanding, I now have something that resembles a mk.XII nose that fits a Tamiya Mosquito.
I had tried using the Airkit nose proper, but the cross sections were too different as it was intended to fit the Airfix kit. Chopped off the radome, attached to an assembled Tamiya nose in place of the nosecone and built it up.

Superglue and baking soda is a noxious mix but is quick and will polish to a glass like finish. I do need to fit the gun camera fairing and then I can look to moulding it, although given the last attempt with an assembled Tamiya bullnose section, I'm not confident as I was getting a one in five success rate with the castings and that is simply not good enough.

The 618 research has as far as I think it can. I can't find the T.3 they acquired, although as they got it from RAF Dyce, home of 8 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit, a look for T.3s used by them could narrow down the search. It did, although I'm left with roughly 20 suspects and no photos.

RossM on Britmodeller pointed out that F.II DZ700 was flown by Des Curtis whilst he was with the 618 Detachment - it's in his logbook - and I have the decals for it whilst it was with 333 sqn. That's another one. Curtis also mentions a Dominie in his book, along with a serial. I have a Heller one tucked away somewhere.

You know where comments go if you can be bothered.
Title: Re: The Wooksta's Mosquito Blog: Plan V3.0
Post by: The Wooksta! on April 24, 2021, 04:55:51 pm
"Yes, we heard what you said and it was very boring!"

Rather interesting and useful page popped up during a general trawl.  Hyperscale, full of JMNs, a veritable den of puritanical vipers and rivet counters.  However, even these people can have useful information, and so this is.


I've known that some Mosquitoes with single stage Merlins had six stack exhausts on the outboard side of the cowlings.  They generally have five, as the last two are gathered into one stub as inboard they foul on the radiator housing, but there were some oddities. DK290/G, the first Highball aircraft, definitely had 6 stack outboard. At least one of the BOAC operated aircraft did.

Handily, the article has some rather neat drawings, so if and when I decided to do DK290 as the Highball trials aircraft - and given I'm tracking down any 618/Highball related stuff I probably will do it at some point - they could come in rather useful.

In the article Jennings said that the modification was apparently only seen on bomber nose types.  Erm, no.  I can name at least one fighter that got that modification, DD744 which flew with 60 Sqn SAAF as a PR.II, whilst ALL of the Australian production FB40s had the same mod.  Some Canadian aircraft did also, whilst I'm sure some of the RNZAF aircraft had it too, although the majority of theirs were UK built but some were supplied by Australia.

Richard Franks claims that Australian aircraft had longer cowlings, but I've pooh-poohed that as given the level of assumptions, errors and downright falsehoods in his Mosquito books, I'd sooner trust Boris Johnson.  No one else has ever put this forward so I think it's a right load of old Tottenham.

Not Mosquito, but 618 related. I've dug out the Alleycat Beaufighter II conversion and after some minor cleaning up, I've done a test fit of the wing to the fuselage and it doesn't look to be a bad fit, so I may try and get that together over the next week, although I have other things higher on the priority list, not least of which is the mammoth task of scanning a load of reference photos for a specific project.

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Title: Re: The Wooksta's Mosquito Blog: Plan V3.0
Post by: The Wooksta! on April 25, 2021, 08:18:46 pm
"Hi, Neil! Want some champagne?"

There's a discussion thread on Britmodeller currently about 618's Mosquitoes.  I started it, asking for assistance in tracking down the elusive T.3 they received in 1944.  However, for some odd reason, it's descended into speculations over the underside colours used on the modified B.IVs, for which I blame Tony O'Toole entirely.  Now, some sources say they're in PRU Blue, others Azure Blue - which I tend to favour - but Troy Smith has argued the case that they may have been repainted in Australia with RAAF Sky Blue, which is considerably lighter.  Photos of the aircraft at Narromine appear to be lighter than usual - Azure Blue and Med Sea Grey are virtually identical in a monochrome photo - so he could well be correct.  Short of someone turning up a strip of fabric from one of the wrecks on the farms, I doubt we can solve it either way.

There is some evidence for repainting.  There are photos of the aircraft parked on the decks of Fencer and Striker as they were en-route to Australia and they still retain standard RAF Type C fuselage roundels and fin flash.  I can't see the upper wing roundel, but presumably they're the usual Type B worn by Mosquitos until late 44.  Once the aircraft got to Australia, the national markings were repainted to match RAAF styling.

Aircraft aboard Fencer:


Careful examination reveals the standard C type roundels.  I suspect, given what appears to be a smaller fin flash, that the fin in the foreground belongs to one of 618's PRXVIs.

A recent posting in the thread had a link to a site about HMS Implacable and a series of decent photograph of one of 618's Mosquitoes doing touch and go practice.  I suspect it's DZ542, as I've a similar photo in Rawlings' book on RAF Coastal and Special Support units.  Definitely type B upper wing roundels. Surprisingly, one photo shows a fuselage code letter, either M or W and given the tone, probably in dull red rather than the Sky codes that at least one aircraft (DZ582 U) was photographed wearing during drop trials at Loch Striven.

Given the above photo and IF the fin in the foreground is a PR16 and therefore in PRU Blue - and one of them definitely was - the colour underneath the B.IVs is something lighter, using the underside of the aircraft immediately behind that fin to compare and contrast.  Then we get to the upper surfaces, which is another can of worms entirely.  The dark patches are definitely Dark Green, so I'm prepared to bet that the lighter of the two upper colours is Ocean Grey, which means that the undersurface is most likely Medium Sea Grey.

So, with this in mind, here's my colour reading after pulling all of the vague bits of evidence together.

All of the B.IV aircraft for 618 Sqn were delivered direct from De Havilland to Vickers at Weybridge in April 43 to be fitted with the Highball equipment.  They would have been finished in the standard Mosquito Day Bomber camouflage scheme of Ocean Grey and Dark Green uppers, with the usual Type C1 fuselage roundels, Type C fin flash and type B wing markings.  At 618, they got a single code letter, as was the practice with Coastal Command squadrons at the time.  Possibly in dull red, although DZ582's letter in the rather poor photo looks to be Sky.

The surviving aircraft go back to De Havilland in early 44, some have the Highball equipment removed.  DZ534 certainly did and was later converted to carry the 4,000 bomb and issued to 627 Sqn at Woodhall Spa. After Operation Oxtail is given the go ahead, the Highball aircraft all go through Marshalls at Cambridge to get their new shiny engines, four blade props and other navalisation mods before going back to 618 so they can play with them on board Implacable. The spinners of the aircraft seen landing on Implacable are a light shade, possibly Medium Sea Grey or even Sky.

Off they go to Australia, but there's no real need for them to be repainted and they don't have time to do it anyway.  Once they get there, some bigwig decides that they need to conform with local requirements re roundels, and they get repainted at this point.  So the Ocean Grey becomes MSG and the undersurfaces either Azure blue or more likely given the lighter shade, RAAF Sky Blue. The national markings applied are RAAF style.  Had the aircraft actually gone into action, they may well have sported British Pacific Fleet style markings. 

One of the three PR.XVIs remains in PRU Blue, one of the other two is repainted in Aluminium dope.  We don't know the colour of the third aircraft, NS735, as she was lost, but it would have been delivered from De Havilland in PRU Blue.  The photo of the graveyard at Narromine shows the two surviving PR.XVIs in two different colours.

And so ends my colour odyssey for today.  It's a lot of conjecture, but does draw on standard practice.  It also means that I can do the same aircraft in two different schemes at diffent points in it's career, DZ582 immediately springs to mind.

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Title: Re: The Wooksta's Mosquito Blog: Plan V3.0
Post by: The Wooksta! on April 30, 2021, 01:26:06 pm
"By the looks of it, you failed them all."

The 618 research has hit a wall, largely because I think I've got most of everything available. At least, I looked in all the usual places.

But the references themselves can be wrong. The Sharp/Bowyer the on the type lists all of the aircraft converted for Highball, although it doesn't list DK290. However, I'm not sure if that aircraft carried the full kit and not just mock ups for aerodynamic tests.  This list threw up an oddity. DZ582 isn't listed as one of the original aircraft modified but I have a photo of it with Highball but before the Oxtail mods - indeed, I did it years back with the Tamiya kit and the original Paragon conversion as one of the Operation Servant Tirpitz raiders - so the list is clearly wrong. Or is it the photo caption? The serial isn't clear enough in the photo to be sure.

Another airframe that's missed off the list is DZ493, listed in many sources online as being written off when the undercarriage collapsed after the aircraft swung in take off and hit something. The location? Weybridge. Pilot? Someone called Hutchinson and DZ493 is listed as being allocated only to 618 Sqn. Weybridge is the Vickers facility that did the Highball conversion and Hutchinson was the CO.

Finally, someone on a Highball thread on the Key Aero forum has had confirmation that the Oxtail aircraft had a bulletproof bulkhead in front of the controls that sealed off access to the nose from the cockpit. That's never been mentioned in any of the references. Too late for the Oxtail one I have ready to prime, but I do know that the fighter bulkhead will fit the bomber nose in the Tamiya kits, so an easy fix for the future.

You know where the comments go.
Title: Re: The Wooksta's Mosquito Blog: Plan V3.0
Post by: The Wooksta! on May 08, 2021, 07:33:32 pm
"Ah hah! Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha! Driving instructor my bottom! You're a vampire and there's no denying it!"

Still trying to track down Highball related stuff and have unearthed several areas of further research.  I knew that post war, the Navy were trialling the weapon under the codename "Card" but the tests seem to have been carried out by the Maritime Armament Experimental Establishment.  They were based at various places, Spilsbury and Conningsby seem to be two of them.  They had four Highball aircraft, a BVI, DZ579, which had received all the Oxtail mods but 618 didn't take it for their Australian tour and it ended up crashing into the sea, killing the crew, after splashback from a drop ripped off the tailplane.  Another of the Oxtail modified aircraft that 618 left behind may have been used by the unit (although the production list says it was with the AAEE) but it ended up as an instructional machine. 

Of the two Sea Mosquitoes used by MAEE, we have the serials - TW228 and TW230 - although I've yet to find a photo of either aircraft, but I do have several of aircraft close to them in the production run, TW227, TW229 and TW232.  Being in the first block, they don't have the Lockheed undercarriage nor the folding wing, so building them just got easier and they're that shade more colourful too, as the other aircraft in the block are in EDSG/Dark Slate Grey over Sky with Type C markings.

The other Highball aircraft used by MAEE was PZ281, an FB.6, and apparently the remark was made that "Highball and guns are a potent combination".  Ironically, several aircraft built on the line at the same time went to 618 in '44 as continuation trainers. PZ281 ended it's days as an instructional machine, having only been used by De Havilland and then Vickers for Highball/Card development.

Several photos of members of the MAEE in front of a glazed nose single stage Merlin Mosquito have surfaced on another site, although it's hard to tell if it's a Highball modified aircraft.  Personally, I think it's either a B.XX or B.XXV, two of the latter serving with the AAEE.

So, a Highball Sea Mosquito and a Highball FB.6 now get added into the build mix.

Not a Mosquito but 618 related.  I've got the wings on for the Beaufighter II whilst the Spitfire VIII is at a similar stage.  I just want to know what filter it had underneath - short or long and the rudder style.  Normally, I'd be quite happy to just make it up, but I've done the research to do it properly, so I may as well continue.

Edit: I've found a photo of PZ281!  Google search found it and apparently it was taken at Wisley.  Now I *think* that was a Vickers facility and the photo isn't particularly large but it does appear that the underside aft of the cannonbay has had some modifications.  And the eagle eyed amongst whoever is following this thread may spot another Mosquito in the hangar in the background that would appear to have four blade props.  The resolution/size is too low to make out the Highball mods for sure, but that, I am confident, is DZ579 or one of the Highball Sea Mosquitoes.


The photo does clarify several things about that production batch, namely paddle props and night fighter camouflage. Interestingly, it appears to have bomb racks under the wings.

A search for a better quality copy of the photo proved useless - it was in a 2014 ebay auction and thus long gone - but the search DID turn up the serials for three Avengers that were at Wisley as part of the Highball trials, the serials being FN766, FN795 and JZ317. 

So, more pieces of the puzzle are turning up.  A victory of sorts after all.

Comments for those bored enough to follow the thread and can actually be arsed to reply go here: