Bell P-39D Airacobra
Special Hobby, 1/32 scale
S u m m a r y
SH32002 – P-39D Airacobra
145 parts in grey styrene, 12 parts in clear
injection plastic, 3 resin parts, 1 color photo-etched fret,
decal sheet for three aircraft
USD$57.60 available online from Squadron
Crisp and consistent recessed panel lines,
narrow attachment points to sprues, locator pins, and high
Experience often required with limited run
Highly recommended for modelers with some
experience building limited run kits
Reviewed by Ian Robertson
Hobby's 1/32 scale P-39D Airacobra will be available online from Squadron.com
Bell P-39 (and P-400) Airacobra was the first American fighter fitted
with tricycle landing gear and a mid-mounted engine. It was intended
as a high altitude interceptor; however, poor engine performance and a
general lack of reliability hampered its effectiveness in this role.
Despite the P-39’s lackluster performance and unpopularity with American
and British pilots, it served alongside other Allied fighters in the
South Pacific and the Mediterranean. However, the Airacobra’s most
celebrated successes came while serving as a lend-lease fighter with the
Soviet Red Air Force. P-39s proved to be very effective on the Eastern
Front where most combat took place at low altitudes. Indeed, many
Russian pilots achieved ace status while flying the P-39.
Special Hobby's 1/32 scale P-39D Airacobra is typical of recent releases
from this company. The plastic is smooth with a satin texture and
crisply engraved panel lines. Some panels on the fuselage are raised
slightly from the model’s surface, but not enough to appear awkward.
The sprue attachment points are narrower than one often finds in limited
run kits, which means that less damage is likely to occur when removing
parts from their sprues. Some of the smaller parts exhibit minor flash,
but this should be easy to clean up.
kit contains 145 parts in grey styrene, although the instructions
indicate that some of these parts are not for use (perhaps additional
versions are planned for the future). There are 12 parts in clear
plastic, with the doors and main canopy being the main pieces. A highly
detailed fret of color photoetch is supplied. Resin parts are limited
to two 6-stack exhausts and a gun sight. Markings are included for
three USAAF aircraft serving in New Guinea, all of which are in standard
olive drab over neutral grey.
Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:
Unlike some of the
earlier Special Hobby releases, this kit includes locating pins for the
major parts (fuselage halves and wings) – a welcome feature for many
modelers. Be certain to test whether a nose weight is necessary before
gluing the fuselage halves together.
The wings have
been designed with a single lower section and two upper halves, so the
join to the fuselage should be strong and positive. The horizontal
tailplanes attach securely to mounting slots on the
Special Hobby has provided separate control surfaces for the ailerons,
elevators, and rudder.
centerline drop tank and bomb are also provided.
Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:
resin exhausts are well detailed and hollowed out at the tips. The kit
includes only the 6-stack exhaust, not the 12-stack exhaust system seen
on the P-400.
resin gun sight attaches to a tubular frame (part C33) and requires the
addition of a clear reflector (part K6).
fret features colored seat belts, buckles, and fins for the centerline
with this kit are thin and very clear. The main canopy is a single
piece, with separate pieces for the doors. Special Hobby wisely cast
the doors in clear plastic so that all is required is a simple mask for
the window while painting.
The doors may be
positioned either open or closed.
supplied for three USAAF aircraft, all in standard olive drab over
neutral grey camouflage.
P-39D-1BE, 41-38350, 35th
FS, 8th FG, pilot Lt. I.A. Erickson. Milne Bay, New Guinea,
1942 (this scheme is featured on the box art)
P-39D-1BE, 41-38357, 35th
FS, 8th FG, pilot Lt. Leder. Milne Bay, New Guinea, October
P-39D-1BE, 41-388338, 36th
FS, 8th FG, pilot Lt. Donald C. McGee. Seven Mile Strip
airfield, Port Moresby, New Guinea, June 1942. The aircraft is named
“Nip’s Nemesis II”.
The decals, which
are printed by AVIPRINT, are thin and in perfect register.
1/32 P-39D Airacobra is a much anticipated and very welcome addition to
the growing selection of large scale planes on the market. The quality
of the parts is excellent, and a built up example of the model at the
2007 IPMS USA Nationals in Anaheim convinced a lot of attendees to
purchase the kit.
Because it is a
limited run kit, extra time and care may be required to prepare and
assemble the parts. However, if you have experience with limited run
kits then this one should not present any major difficulties.
to modelers with moderate experience.
Thanks to MPM/Special Hobby for the review sample.
Review Text and Images Copyright © 2007 by Ian
Page Created 29 August, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007
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