de Havilland D.H. 82 Tiger Moth in Detail
Based on the experiences from the Moth Trainer, an improved version, known as the D.H. 82 Tiger Moth, was developed and first flown in 1931. The most visible difference was the swept-back wings, a consequence of moving forward the centre wing struts so that the occupant of the front seat could bale out by parachute without having to squeeze out between the struts. The D.H. 82 had a 90 kW (120 hp) Gipsy III engine, but was soon supplanted by the D.H. 82A Tiger Moth II with a 100 kW (130 hp) Gipsy Major I and the top of the fuselage skinned with plywood rather than fabric. Other subversions were the D.H. 82B Queen Bee, a radio-controlled version used for gunnery practice, and D.H. 82C, a "winterized" version produced by de Havilland Canada.
The initial production went almost exclusively to the military market and not until 1938 did a trickle get onto the civilian market, but most were soon requisitioned by the Air Force at the beginning of the war. Like the Moth, many air forces apart from the RAF used the Tiger Moth, and a considerable number were also license manufactured. Three were built in Sweden by ASJA, but in total 16+20 of the two subversions were used by the Swedish Air Force as the Sk 11 and Sk 11A. One, escaped from Norway during the German invasion, was used by the Finnish Air Force. Over 7000 (9000, according to some sources) Tiger Moths were built in total.
When air forces began decommissioning Tiger Moths after the war (many were still in use by 1950), an eager civilian market bought them and they were ubiquitous in flying clubs all over Europe. Many are still flying.
The subject for our walkaround is D.H. 82A T6818 at the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon.
Modelling the de Havilland Tiger Moth
Considering the importance and the elegant lines of the Tiger Moth, there are surprisingly few kits of it. Airfix and Aeroclub have produced models in 1/72, but they are both currently out of production, as is Matchbox' offering in 1/32. Aeroclub has a Tiger Moth in 1/48 and Pavla has announced a 1/72 kit of the D.H. 82C for early 2005.