by: Andy Brazier [ ]
historyThe Bell P-39 Airacobra was one of the principal American fighter aircraft in service when the United States entered World War II. The P-39 was used with great success by the Soviet Air Force, which scored the highest number of individual kills attributed to any U.S. fighter type. Other major users of the type included the Free French, the Royal Air Force, the United States Army Air Forces, and the Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force.
Designed by Bell Aircraft, it had an innovative layout, with the engine installed in the center fuselage, behind the pilot, and driving a tractor propeller via a long shaft. It was also the first fighter fitted with a tricycle undercarriage. Although its mid-engine placement was innovative, the P-39 design was handicapped by the absence of an efficient turbo-supercharger, limiting it to low-altitude work. Together with the derivative P-63 Kingcobra, the P-39 was one of the most successful fixed-wing aircraft manufactured by Bell.
in the boxEduards P-39 has been around for around a decade, and was one of the first major releases from Eduard that put them in position as a major player in the plastic kit manufacturer.
Whilst this particular version has never been released by Eduard it shares most of the parts from the numerous releases before it.
So inside the small box comes three plastic sprues, one clear sprue, a set of masks, one fret of photo etch, a large set of decals and a colour set of instructions.
Two of the plastic sprues are in Eduards new dark grey plastic with the third in the original olive brown. As this kit has been released as different versions over the years the sprues still hold parts for other versions then the N and L, so you could still build other versions if you have spare decals. Around 30 parts are not used in this boxing.
Considering the age of the moulds and the fact that the kit has been released several times over the years the only flash I have found is a little along the fuselage halves.
A few flow marks can be found here and there, but I dont think they will show up under paint.
Exterior detail although not quite up too Eduards standard nowadays is still pretty decent and will look good under paint. The kit has fine recessed panel lines and rivet detail.
The interior is nicely detailed with the choice of using P.E instrument panels or decals that fit over the plastic panel. The seat comes with a P.E harness. The rear cockpit wall and floor has some lovely detail that should pop out once a wash is used. The great thing about the P-39 is the side opening doors which will really show off the extra detail in the cockpit.
The wheel wells have some great detail with the main wheel wells have inserts for the undercarriage floor.
The L and N versions of the P-39 had a large hub nose wheel, and Eduard have supplied two, one unweighted and one weighted. The main wheels also have this option.
A new six stub exhaust stack is supplied.stub
Four nose scoop (two on each side) which were standard from the L version are supplied and will need to be positioned carefully.
The N and L versions had different props, with the L having the smaller Curtis Electric blades and the N having the AeroProducts blades. The difference in size in this scale is negligible as in 1/1 scale there was only three inches difference. Different spinner configurations for the nose armament is also supplied, Eduard do tell you what marking option has what spinner and blade.
External stores for the kit are in the way of bombs or drop tanks. Four 30 inch calibre wing blast tubes complete the weapons.
Unlike some of the previous boxings no nose weight is supplied, so unless you want a tail sitter, some weight will be needed to add in the nose.
The clear parts has the main canopy and windshield as one part with the two side opening doors as two separate parts which can be modelled open, so you can see all the detail in the cockpit.
The clear parts are blemish free and have raised areas for the framework.
instructions, markings and decals The instructions are printed as a colour booklet with the build over 7 pages. The build sequnce is easy to follow with internal colours for the Aqueous and Mr Color paints. P.E and optional parts are clearly marked.
A full page is supplied for the application of the masks for the cockpit, wheel hubs and the wing walkway strips.
The decals are printed by Cartograph, are thin with very little carrier film and are in register.
Having used Cartograph decals on several occasions I have never once had a problem applying them.
Markings for five machines are supplied, four are for the N and one for the L versions.
A - P-39N, s/n 4218354, Flown by 345th FS, North Africa / Alghero Airfield, Sardinia, late 1943
B - P-39L, s/n 42-4514, 91st FS / 81st FG, Sidi Ahmed Air Base, Tunisia, September, 1943
C - P-39N, Flown by Lt. DeVore, 110th TRS/71st TRG, Gusap airfield, New Guinea, spring, 1944
D - P-39N, Flown by Grigori A. Rechkalov, 16th GIAP, spring 1945
E - P-39N, Flown by Nikolai G. Sobolev, 21st GIAP, April 1943.
All the paint and decal schemes are in colour with all four profiles of the aircraft shown.
As with the internal colours, paints are for the Aqueous and Mr Color range.
A full page stencil guide is on the back page of the instructions.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE