April 2016

DeHavilland DH82A Tiger Moth

Link to Website Index:

De Havilland DH82a Tiger Moth

Britannia Royal Naval College Air Experience Flight

Roborough (Plymouth Airport) 1957

Airfix 1/72 with own decals

Link to Website Index:

<<Link to previous month  Link to Next Month >>


Background Image: Tiger Moth at the RNAS Yeovilton Airshow

The recent Airfix issue of the Tiger Moth is a superb little kit, with very fine detail and a well thought-out parts breakdown.  In general the fit is superb, although the need to cut into the rear fuselage top to fit the anti-spin strakes common to later aircraft is a source of some difficulty. Cockpit detail is very pleasing although there is definitely a need to add some seat belts if the two supplied aircrew are not fitted.  

One area of difficulty area the very fine main struts between the upper and lower wings.  Airfix have added X shaped positioning links between these that ensure an accurate and easy fit, but subsequent removal of these parts is not easy and can lead to broken struts (ask me how I know this - x3 !).

The kit has been issued in 3 versions to date - a smart red civil aircraft, a camouflaged wartime trainer and an overall yellow trainer as a starter kit. Although not the easiest of builds it is a well detailed and pleasing kit to the highest modern standards at a very reasonable price.   

The Tiger Moth first flew in 1931 and was quickly established as one of the leading primary trainers across the world.  Over 500 were in RAF service alone by the start of WW2 with an eventual production run of over 7,000, over 4,000 of which went to the RAF. Tiger Moths were built in the UK by DeHavilland, Morris and Scottish Aviation, in Canada by DHC, in Australia by DH Australia as well as  in New Zealand, Sweden, Portugal and Norway.

The Royal Navy used a small number of Tiger Moths as target tugs and "air experience" machines, with an additional batch of refurbished ex civil examples purchased in 1956, one of which made the last biplane landing on an aircraft carrier (HMS Eagle)in 1967.  

Several air experience and hack aircraft remained in Fleet Air Arm service until the early 1970s including the subject of this model which started out as an RAF aircraft with serial DE395. After disposal by the RAF and refurbishment by Hants & Sussex Aviation, it was purchased by the RN and given the new military registration XL715.  Unfortunately, the aircraft was  damaged beyond economical repair in a crash shortly after take-off in August 1962 in France.

The real thing:  Tiger Moth at the IWM Duxford

The real thing:  Tiger Moth at the FAA Museum Cobham Hall