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P-63E Kingcobra Kit

Dora Wings 1/48 P-63E Kingcobra Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2018 Manufacturer Dora Wings
Subject P-63E Kingcobra Scale 1/48
Kit Number 48004 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Nice detailing Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $44.95

First Look

P-63E Kingcobra Kit
P-63E Kingcobra Kit
P-63E Kingcobra Kit
P-63E Kingcobra Kit

Bell Aircraft's P-39 Airacobra was a very effective fighter once the USAAF had gained some combat experience during WWII. The lack of a supercharger (an interesting political story) made the P-39 ineffective above 10,000 feet, but below that altitude, it could hold its own against the feared A6M Zero. The Russians adopted the P-39 and loved the aircraft, so when they learned that Bell was going to 'supersize' the Airacobra, they wanted to help with the design effort.

The XP-39E, which was the prototype for what would become the P-63, featured the all-important superchargers and greater engine power, in addition to its longer fuselage and greater wingspan. While the new design out-performed the P-39, the USAAF didn't consider the P-63 up to the performance levels of the P-51. The Soviets were glad to acquire the majority of them under lend/lease, and Bell paid closer attention to the inputs of the Soviet engineers. For example, the P-63 could not recover from a flat spin (as Bell learned in flight test), so the Soviets had the nose-mounted canon moved forward, which shifted the center of gravity forward and provided more room for additional ammunition. The redesigned P-63 could recover.

Dora Wings is a kit company from the Czech Republic that produced limited run kits. They launched the P-63 Kingcobra series in 2018 with the more obscure variants released first. This kit of the P-63E represents an airframe that only saw 13 examples produced. They've also produced a two-seat trainer and have an air racer version announced. I expect they will do the P-63A/C versions at some point in the future. This kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on eight parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and one fret of photo-etched parts. Among the features and options:

  • Nicely detailed cockpit
  • Photo-etched pilot restraints
  • Positionable car doors
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Positionable flaps
  • Positionable rudder
  • Postionable elevators
  • Choice of optional centerline external fuel tanks
  • Optional underwing external fuel tanks
  • Underwing gun pods

The kit provides markings for the following subjects:

  • P-63E, 43-11721, USAAF
  • P-63E, 43-11720, USAAF
  • P-63E, 43-11721, USAAF
  • P-63E, N9003R, civilian warbird
  • P-63E, 402, Honduran AF (FAH)
  • P-63E, 401, Honduran AF (FAH)

The blue in the US national markings is too light. You can find suitable replacements out there, but why build an E-model?

I was originally going to pass on this kit, but after seeing a few build-reviews out there, I was encouraged to see that this kit could indeed be backdated to a P-63C with some of the unused parts in this kit. Unlike some of the previous P-63 kits released in the past, this one is buildable if you follow the standard rules for limited production kits - test-fit, trim, test fit again, and only when it works, glue. So why the change of heart? Begemot decals has released a decal sheet for the 1/48 P-63 Kingcobra series with some very interesting subjects. Once again, a decal sheet has interested me in doing a model...