by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
The de Havilland 82 Tiger Moth is one the best-loved aircraft to emerge from the Golden Age. This classic biplane became the RAF's standard elementary trainer and thousands of wartime Commonwealth pilots began their career flying the ubiquitous "Tiggie". Tiger Moths were built in a number of countries and a modified version featuring an enclosed cockpit and other changes was produced in Canada.
Apart from its training role, the aircraft also served as a communications aircraft, air ambulance and un-armed coastal patrol machine. In 1940, with the threat of invasion, sets of bomb-racks were produced to allow Tiger Moths to carry 8 x 20lb bombs, but none were used operationally.
Main Parts19 plastic parts are supplied, heavily moulded in beige plastic. The sprue attachments are very thick and it will probably be best to remove the parts with a razor-saw to avoid damaging them. There isn't any flash to speak of but, nevertheless, all the parts will need a great deal of cleaning up and their mating surfaces prepared.
All the plastic parts have a rough texture and will need to be polished to get things smooth. The fabric effect on the wings and tail is very nicely represented, with delicate rib detail but, against this, the engraved detail is poor, with ragged and incomplete lines.
The fuselage halves have some moulded-on internal detail, but this is very crude and will be best replaced. Because the fuselage halves are so thick, the instrument panels are too small and bear little resemblance to photos of full-sized aircraft.
Detail Parts18 white metal parts are supplied. These include a choice of cowling-front (for Gypsy Major or Menasco engines), wheels, propeller and struts, plus a number of small details. The parts show a rather pitted surface and will require careful cleaning up.
A choice of vacuform canopies is provided - windscreens for standard machines and a full, enclosed canopy for the Canadian version. The parts are quite clear, but will benefit from a dip in Future/Klear. Disappointingly, no spares are supplied.
An assortment of round and airfoil-section plastic rod is provided for other details and dimensions are given in the instructions.
Instructions & DecalsThe instructions consist of a sheet of construction notes, plus a handy list of references. Two sheets of scale drawings will be very useful in keeping everything square and adding rigging and other details.
Decals are provided for four aircraft: RAF, RCAF and 2 civilian. The style of military numerals doesn't match the drawings and, although separate centres are supplied, the red used for the roundels is far too bright for wartime markings. The civilian schemes should be very eye-catching. The decals are gloss finish with good colour-density, but the registration on the smaller items is slightly off on my sample.
ConclusionWhile Aeroclub deserve praise for making it possible to model an important aircraft, this really isn't a kit for the faint-hearted. It's rather expensive and the parts are crude by comparison with modern Eastern European short-run kits, but for modellers prepared to get "stuck in" it will provide an interesting challenge. With patience and care a very attractive model should result.