Some years ago I flew a Tiger Moth, well actually it was a Renault Stampe, at Gloucester airport. It was a birthday present from my brother. I had flown plenty of times before, in AEF aircraft, going right back to the Chipmunk, and sitting in the Moth for the first time, it felt quite familiar, not counting the open cockpit!
I spoke to the instructor of my previous experience and she just folded her arms, saying, “Right! Off you go!”. That is how I flew a Gypsy Moth - albeit with a Renault engine. 🙄
I was delighted and curious when Airfix released their Tiger Moth, and it is only now, having sold a dozen of them and with two remaining in my attic, that I come to open the box.
As any true modeller will tell you, starting a project is impossible unless you have first bought a ton of accessories and aftermarket parts. Crazy but true. So here I am going to share with you some information about the bits and pieces that I bought and muse about the different strategies that resin and etch can give you for this kit.
The parts under scrutiny are the Eduard etch sets, and their LööK Instrument panels. Also up for discussion are the CMK resin sets for this kit. Oh, and then there is the SBS rigging set. I don't have their etched cockpit set, but as you will see, the CMK kit completely revises the interior space of the fuselage, whilst SBS and Eduard merely embellish what is already there in the kit.
The kit's decal sheet looks really nice. It is crisply printed with fine white edging around some of the lettering on the rudder, and the yellow and white panels look suitably opaque. Also, the decals for the instrument panel look very usable indeed. Finally, there is some nicely printed stencilling. This is a really good start, I think to myself.
I have also purchased one of Print-Scale’s decal sheets, which has some yellow/camouflaged aircraft and a really nice civilian livery from the De Havilland flying school at Hatfield.
The kit's flying surfaces are moulded in place, as are the little door panels either side of the cockpit. I can see that the engine detail looks pretty rudimentary, but that’s fair enough in this scale. Eduard give you some etchings to busy it up.
The kit provides two propellers, one with rounded tips and the other with the squared off tip.
You get one pair of wheels with the Havilland logo in the kit.
CMK give you three variations; a really nice logo'd pair, a blank pair and a slotted pair. The tyres are provided separately to facilitate painting and also have a nice Dunlop logo and circumferential rib detail. You can also see they look a bit squished at the bottom.
SBS do a nice wheel set too.
Back to the kit, there are two sets of elevator parts. This is to account for the anti-spin strakes that feature on some aircraft. Check references before you select. CMK give you a complete set of separate flying control surfaces. As far as I can tell these look like adaptations of the original kit part; in fact I’m pretty sure that they are cast from the original kit parts. The only addition as far as I can see is the separately moulded actuators for tail planes and the cable attachment points, which again are supply as separate tiny pieces of resin. This is something that you could quite easily do for yourself without having to resort to aftermarket parts. The aileron actuators are finely cast in resin and beat the kit parts. The other minor addition in terms of detail are the small circular inspection panels which are dotted around. The Eduard site provides you with some etched discs to stick on the kit parts to show this detail. I suspect that if you looked at the real aircraft you’re probably see that the etch parts are going to be too thick and over emphasised. I believe a delicate understated approach is the best way ahead so the CMK resin parts just about win out on that score. If you happen to make a rough job of hacking off the kit parts to animate these control surface, the cast resin pieces are a very tidy fall back.
The transparencies included with the kit are pretty thick but again the only way that you could replace those would be with etch and acetate. Such parts don't seem to feature I any of the sets I have seen. Perhaps we can ask one of the Tims to do a set!
Cowlings around the engine are included as separate parts and this is interesting because in the Eduard set you get at replacements for the side pieces, while CMK give you the top. I’m not sure quite how the etch parts address the issue of small air intake on the starboard panel. Again, check references. The CMK top cowl part has a different shaped rectangular detail on top of the panel. I’m assuming that the CMK is more accurate here but then again it might just be dependent upon which particular machine you’re looking at.
The CMK exterior set includes a fine replacement for the oil tank on top of the wing. Again here I would have to say the kit parts are not bad but there is evidently some difference in terms of minor detail in CMK parts and a refinement which includes a very small pieces on top of the oil tank. The Eduard set dresses up the kit part with ribbed side panels, but the CMK drop in part wins by a country mile.
Next up is the CMK luggage box which is really nice and adds a bit of personality to the kit. It’s a very straightforward drop in part that will definitely add some personality to your final build. It requires a little hacking but that should be easy to do.
The most interesting part of all this for me is the cockpit detail. Once again CMK absolutely clean up here replacing all of the kit parts with really fine the cast resin and adds some details that are missing. Specifically you get a new cockpit floor, seats, rudder bars and really nicely cast instrument panels, besides other various details. They knock the kit parts out of the park.
An etched set which includes a pair of harnesses is also included. Their brass etch harness looks lighter than the Eduard pre-painted set, but if you really wanted to go the whole way there is always HGW. Two of their Sutton harness sets will set you back nearly 2/3rds of the full price of the kit!
The Eduard details set provides comprehensive additions to the kit parts, but CMK are going to win again here because they completely replace and re-organise the office space. You could go for a hybrid approach, using some parts from each set. Eduard's pre-painted etch instrumentation and their LööK panel are worth a go if you don't want to paint your own. On the LööK set that I have, one of the panels has the decals slightly off by a fraction. For me, my choice would be CMK instrument panels which I can paint and decorate myself.
One set I didn't get hold of yet is the CMK cockpit entry hatches, but I think it should be very easy to cut them from the fuselage parts out and use the kit bits.
So it looks like the CMK resin set is the one to go with. I bought two sets so you will eventually see these listed in the shop, but I have to say they are so nice I don't want to sell them! If you're interested, just ping me a message as I can always order more, but if you know anything about me, you’ll know this is the one shop where, if you ask me for something, I will say "No! You can’t have it, because I want to keep it for myself!" and these sets are no exception.
There are some nice shots of the CMK set on the Special Hobby website:https://www.specialhobby.info/2020/08/148-tiger-moth-cmk-resin-sets.html
And lots more here on Scalemates:
They go together to make up a really peachy and slightly whimsical subject.
Please do leave comments and questions below.