Review: Airfix Tiger Moth

DH.82a Tiger Moth plastic kit, produced by Airfix. Available at £5.99. www.airfix.com

Ah, nostalgia! It is 1957. Clutching his pocket money, a ten-year-year-old schoolboy dashes eagerly to Woolworth’s to spend two shillings (10p to you post-decimalisation readers) on the latest Airfix model aircraft kit: a Tiger Moth. It came in a plastic bag with a simple paper header and was moulded in yellow plastic.

Fast forward to 2014 and, whilst Woolworth’s is long gone, it is still possible to buy that original kit, unchanged save for a box and superior artwork. But don’t go spending your pocket money just yet lad (do any ten-year-olds buy plastic kits these days?), for there is a new Tiger on the loose. A pair, actually, in civilian and military versions with decals/transfer for the Tiger Club’s celebrated G-ACDC, and a camouflage-and-yellow WWII RAF example from No 10 Elementary Reserve & Flying Training School at RAF Yatesbury in 1940.

Both share the same basic parts, and very fine they are, exquisitely detailed (although that row of holes on either side of the rear fuselage below the tailplane is not something I can ever recall seeing on any Tiger). Options are provided for cockpit doors open or closed. For the anti-spin strake-equipped ‘AC/DC’ you must first remove the aft fuselage turtledeck and insert the strakes, an easy enough task if you have steady hands and are adept with craft knife or scalpel, but it would likely have defeated – and probably resulted in some blood-letting – had that ten-year-old attempted the task all those years ago. Diagrams are included for adding bracing wires, and pilots are provided, but alas, in order to fit in the cramped confines of a 1/72nd scale Tiger’s cockpit, the back-seater has had his legs amputated just above his fleece-lined flying boots. No matter, this is arguably the best 1/72 plastic kit of a Tiger Moth yet, and maybe the best in any scale. MJ

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