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1:32 DH.82a Tiger Moth
ICM

Catalogue # 32035

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The de Havilland DH.82 Tiger Moth is a 1930s British biplane designed by Geoffrey de Havilland and built by the de Havilland Aircraft Company. It was operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and many other operators as a primary trainer aircraft. In addition to the type's principal use for ab-initio training, the Second World War saw RAF Tiger Moths operating in other capacities, including maritime surveillance and defensive anti-invasion preparations; some aircraft were even outfitted to function as armed light bombers.

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Photo by Jim Hatch

The Tiger Moth remained in service with the RAF until it was succeeded and replaced by the de Havilland Chipmunk during the early 1950s. Many of the military surplus aircraft subsequently entered into civil operation. Many nations have used the Tiger Moth in both military and civil applications, and it remains in widespread use as a recreational aircraft in several countries. It is still occasionally used as a primary training aircraft, particularly for those pilots wanting to gain experience before moving on to other tailwheel aircraft. Many Tiger Moths are now employed by various companies offering trial lesson experiences. 

 

The kit

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ICM’s new Tiger Moth kit is the first fully new-tool 1:32 injection moulded kit since Matchbox released theirs, back in 1978. I actually loved that kit so much that I built it several times in the different incarnations it offered, such as floatplane etc. In fact, I still have an unbuilt kit from that time. Revell have also re-boxed that kit a couple of times over the last years, but it’s getting a little tricky to find now. To say I was pleased when this was released, was an understatement. As with ICM kits generally, this is packed into a bomb-proof, rigid corrugated card box with an integral folding lid. This is all then covered with a high gloss product sleeve showing a military training machine riding high over the English countryside. Got to love some evocative art! This scheme is actually one of two offered in this kit. More on that later.

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Inside the box, there are THREE light grey styrene sprues packed into a single clear, resealable plastic sleeve, and a single clear sprue in its own sleeve that’s then popped into the main one. With this release, all parts within are slated for use. A quick scan of the instructions also shows you that a series of small holes for rigging cables, needs to be first opened up on the fuselage before any work really begins. I’m always forgetting to do this, even on my current project.

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Work starts in the cockpit area, as tends to be standard. Here’s where this kit is immediately different to the old Matchbox, in that it doesn’t actually have a fairly reasonable interior. The inside cockpit walls have the various constructional formers and stringers moulded in situ, onto which various other details are then glued, such as the instrument panels, throttle etc. The cockpit floor is actually built onto the centre section of the lower wing and doesn’t fit into the fuselage until after the latter is closed up. There are more details than the old Matchbox kit, admittedly, but I still think there’s more that should be in the cockpit than is provided here, having flown in a Tiger Moth myself, and also having built the 1:48 Airfix with the CMK internals. However, it’s definitely a starting position from which to add more if you wish. One real omission here are seatbelts, but that’s fairly common to ICM kits, and if you’re like me, you’ll try to find something suitable, such as fabric belts anyway.

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The fuselage is moulded with separate entry doors on both port and starboard, so those can be posed in any position you want, and a fairly reasonable engine is also supplied. A little lead wire and some TLC, and that should look really neat. Engine cowl panels can also be posed too, but you’ll need a short length of plastic rod to act as a panel prop. 

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ICM has moulded both the stabiliser and elevator, and the fin and rudder, as single piece units, but this should be easy to fix if you wanted to pose them dynamically. The tail skid is also moulded to the rudder, as is correct. A nice touch is also the inclusion of the anti-spin panel that was fitted to the Tiger Moth from 1942 onwards, and typically retrofitted. The original section without this is also included.

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Despite the Moth having such thin wings, ICM has managed to mould them as traditional upper and lower sections, with the lower top, and upper bottom full-span sections. More holes will need to be drilled out for rigging points, and these are clearly shown on the instructions. ICM also suggest the lower top wing is fitted to the airframe before the upper panels themselves are attached, and the same for the lower bottom panels. I’m not too keen on that idea as I don’t want to be removing seams etc. on a model where that wing is just connected via a few struts. I’m pretty sure it can be built conventionally. It appears the only reason for this is fitting rigging wires (and perhaps tying them off within the wing itself). 

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Surface details are really very nice, such as the rib and fabric, and the simple fuselage effect. Wings are also moulded with separate leading-edge slats. I also think the DH logo on the outer wheel hubs is also superbly done. There is no option not to have that, so if you wished to model a different machine to the supplied decals, then you’ll have to remove that. Whilst no masks are supplied for the two windscreens, templates are included to help you make these. Plastic moulding quality is excellent, with no real issue with ejector pin marks and flash etc. and the clear parts are super-clear with nice framing.

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Decals
A single decal sheet is included in this release. I feel this is either printed in-house or locally to ICM. Quality looks perfectly ok to me, with nice, thin printing, colour density and register. Carrier film is also minimal too.

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Instructions

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A 20-page manual is included, with colour-printed illustrations for the TWO schemes, printed at the back of the book. All drawings are easy to follow and reference both Revell and Tamiya colours throughout. The Moth is broken down into 50 easy to follow stages, and rigging is explained in the simplest of terms for those who may be wary of it.

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Two schemes are included:

  1. DH.82a Tiger Moth, No.3 Flight Training Squadron, RAF Grantham, 1938
  2. DH.82a Tiger Moth, No.25 (Polish) EFTS, Summer 1944

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Conclusion
It’s certainly good to see another injection moulded Tiger Moth after all these years, and this does fit the bull nicely. I do feel that seatbelts could’ve been included and maybe the cockpit a little busier too, but in all, it’s a very nice release and not too expensive either. ICM certainly appears to have captured the lines of this beautiful aircraft, and doubtless it will look superb once done. Dig out a little reference and tart up that cockpit a little, and all should be good.

My sincere thanks to ICM for the review sample seen here.

 

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EXTRA IMAGES

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