Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |

Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F
in RAF and RAAF Service
 

Special Hobby, 1/32 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Special Hobby Kit No. SH 32025 - Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F in RAF and RAAF Service
Scale: 1/32
Contents and Media: 151 parts in grey styrene; five parts in cream colored resin; 12 clear injection molded parts; colour photo-etched fret; nickel plated photo-etched fret; instructions; decal sheet and painting guide for three aircraft
Price: USD$70.20 available online from Squadron
GBP27.91 available online from Hannants
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Large and impressive; excellent surface detail; high quality plastic moulding including locating pins and tabs; plenty of useful options (different propellers, exhausts, wheels, harnesses. Optional drop tank, bomb. Poseable doors) thin, clear and separately packed clear parts; impressively detailed resin parts; excellent use of multi-media (includes colour and plain photo-etch)
Disadvantages: Wrong colours for RAAF codes and serials; some modelling experience helpful
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Brett Green


Special Hobby's 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F is available online from Squadron.com

 

FirstLook

 

Special Hobby launched their 1/32 scale P-39D Airacobra kit at the IPMS USA Nationals last August. Keen conventioneers snapped up the kits as quickly as MPM staffers could pack the components into boxes. The kit did not disappoint the lucky purchasers.

The initial release featured perhaps the finest, crispest surface detail to date in an MPM produced 1/32 scale kit, combined with long-run style features such as locating pins on major components, plus a colour photo-etched fret to add harnesses and some smaller details. Resin exhaust stacks and gunsight rounded out this large scale multi-media model.

Eight months later, Special Hobby has released the second in their Airacobra series. The 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F is more than a simple re-release of the P-39D with new decals.

The new model includes a new, larger colour photo-etched fret plus a new nickel plated fret with more interior and exterior detail. These new photo-etched parts address some of the shortcomings of the original release, namely the lack of structure on the insides of the doors and the flat, relatively sparse instrument panel detail. Special Hobby has also supplied two types of resin exhausts, neither of which were available with the debut offering - the 12-stack exhausts of the P-39F and P-400 models, and the fishtail exhausts for the RAF Airacobra Mk.I. Two styles of propeller are also provided.

So let's take a look at the whole package.

Special Hobby's 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F kit comprises 151 parts in grey styrene; 5 parts in cream colored resin; 12 clear injection molded parts; instructions; plus a decal sheet and painting guide for three aircraft.

 

  • Special Hobby 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Special Hobby 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F Review by Brett Green: Image
Thumbnail panels:
Now Loading

 

Plastic parts are presented to a very high standard. Moulding quality is excellent with a smooth, glossy finish to the surface. There are no moulding imperfections on any of the exterior parts. Panel lines are crisp, consistent and recessed. The exterior of the airframe also features selected rows of recessed fasteners along access panels, and a few access hatches very slightly raised from the surface. Fabric control surfaces are subtly suggested by slightly raised lines of "tape". I like this restrained approach.

The control surfaces are all supplied separately so you may pose them according to your preference. Flaps are moulded shut, but Eduard already offers an after-market flap set if you feel that way inclined.

Options include two styles of propellers, different wheel hubs, a drop tank and a bomb.

The five resin parts are very nicely detailed. All the exhaust stacks are accurately hollowed out (saving the modeller a challenging and tie consuming task - especially for the 12-stack exhausts); and the P-39F stacks feature raised weld beads. Don't sand these off!

 

 

The cockpit in this release gets a huge boost with the two photo-etched frets. The biggest boon is the colour instrument panel, with minute but readable detail on all the various instrument panels. Two panel styles are offered depending on the version you will be building.

Two seat belt styles are on the fret too - a Sutton harness for the RAF Airacobra Mk.I, and USAAF harnesses for the Australian P-39Fs, which were all transferred from local American units.

 

 

Clear parts are thin and very clear. The doors are moulded as one piece each, so you won't have to worry about smearing glued onto separate windows.

 

 

The kit is broken down conventionally, and this time locating pins are included to assist alignment of the larger parts such as fuselage halves and wings.

The shape of the model looks accurate compared to published plans and contemporary photographs.



Markings

Three marking options are offered on the instructions:

  • Two RAF Airacobra Mk.Is finished in Mixed Grey and Dark Green upper surfaces and Medium Sea Grey beneath.

  • One RAAF P-39F Airacobra finished in a mysterious, one-off high contrast scheme. The actual colours are pretty much anyone's guess, but Special Hobby's suggestion of faded Olive Drab with a overpainted, non-standard pattern of a mixed grey on the upper surfaces with RAAF Sky Blue below is probably as likely as anything else. By the way, I quite like RLM 76 as a substitute for RAAF Sky Blue. Sky Blue was a pretty unstable colour, so you might also want to add some white for a weathered version. The only issue I do not agree with is the colour of the code and serial decals. These are supplied as RAF Sky on the kit decal sheet. It is more likely that the codes were faded Sky Blue or possibly white; and the serials were almost certainly Medium Sea Grey (or at least they would have started out that colour).

 

 

The large decal sheet is printed in perfect register, and colours look good.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Special Hobby's 1/32 scale Airacobra Mk.I / P-39F looks outstanding in the box, and is an improvement over the excellent P-39D debut release. Judging by reports from modellers who have built the earlier kit, fit is good and the model should be a straightforward project.

With the inclusion of locating pins, the ever-decreasing size of sprue connectors, and clean-edged mouldings, it is getting harder to draw a line between this new generation of limited run kits and the products of mainstream manufacturers.

Highly Recommended to moderately experienced modellers.
 

Thanks to MPM / Special Hobby for the review sample


Review and Images Copyright 2008 by Brett Green
Page Created 22 May, 2008
Last updated 27 May, 2008

Back to HyperScale Main Page

Back to Reviews Page