Hasegawa 1/48 P-400 Airacobra Kit First Look
|Date of Review||August 2006||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||Bell P-400 Airacobra||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||09092||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Very nice detailing||Cons|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$30.95|
Bell designed an advanced fighter aircraft in 1938 that featured a 37mm cannon firing through the propeller spinner and different configurations of machine guns depending on the version. The engine was mounted behind the pilot, with the propeller shaft running under the pilot's seat and between his legs. The aircraft incorporated one of the first nosegear arrangements on an operational fighter.
The P-400 was specifically a P-39D built to UK specifications. In operations, the RAF didn't care for the aircraft. It lacked performance above 12,000 feet and the Allison engine was not supercharged (a result of some pre-war politics in the US defense industry).
When US aircrews entered the theater, they operated the P-400s as well as the P-39s that came over into combat. The USSR employed the aircraft extensively as it was found to be a worthy fighter in Soviet service until MiG and Yak production could ramp up, with the Soviets receiving over half of the total P-39 production.
I was a little surprised to learn that Hasegawa had opted to do the P-39 series (including this P-400) so soon after the Eduard P-39s had swept through the market. Like the recent P-40, Hasegawa took their own approach to engineering the kit to render most of the operational variants of the aircraft. You can see in the lower parts tree photos how only some of the sections are filled in, meaning that other props and essential details will be available as needed for other variants.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene, and is impressive with its sharply-scribed detailing. There are six parts trees in the box and one additional tree containing the clear canopy, doors, etc.
Two different styles of exhaust stacks are provided to indicate the some of what is to come, and the notches in the wing to accommodate different gun installations also hint at future more versions.
Like the Eduard kit, the car doors are molded in clear to make it easier to represent the side cockpit windows. Unlike the Eduard kit, this release has no photo-etch parts nor the essential lead ballast included to keep the aircraft from becoming a tail dragger.
Even though some of the essential parts to render later versions of this aircraft are not in the box, there are quite a few parts you will not use to render the P-400, so you'll have some nice detail parts for your spares box.
The cockpit access doors are positionable. You have your choice of an external fuel tank or bomb on the centerline rack.
The markings included in this kit are for :
- P-400, 67 FS/347 FG, BW167, Guadalcanal, 1942
- P-400, 39 FS/35 FG, 13, New Guinea, 1942 "Pat/Wahl Eye II"
A very complete set of maintenance stencils are also provided for the aircraft.
Out of the box, this kit looks good and should build into a nice rendition of the Airacobra. We'll be taking a closer look at the differences between the different 1/48 P-39 kits soon. Stay tuned!