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P-39 Kit

Eduard 1/48 Bell P-39 Airacobra Profipack Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2005 Manufacturer Eduard
Subject Bell P-39 Airacobra Scale 1/48
Kit Number 8062 Primary Media Styrene/Photo-Etch
Pros Very nicely detailed kit Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $29.95

First Look

P-39 Kit
P-39 Kit
P-39 Kit
P-39 Kit
P-39 Kit
P-39 Kit

Bell designed an advanced fighter aircraft in 1938 that featured a 37mm cannon firing through the propeller spinner and different configurations of machine guns in or under the wings, 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 aircraft was initially destined for France, but after that country surrendered to Germany, deliveries were instead routed to the RAF. In operations, the RAF didn't care for the aircraft. It lacked performance above 12,000 feet and the Allison engine was not supercharged. Nevertheless, 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 and the Soviets received over half of the total P-39 production. The US also had good success with the P-39 once its strengths were properly employed. Below 10,000 feet, the aircraft was more than a match for the early A6M Zero.

I was wandering through the sales listings on an online hobby store and found the Eduard 1/48 scale P-39 Profipack. At the price, and with the recent PYN-up decals for the P-39, I had to buy one.

The kit is molded in olive drab styrene and is presented on three parts trees, one small tree of clear parts, and one fret of photo-etched details. As with all of Eduard's kits, this one has nicely scribed details and a variety of options included.

Straight from the box, parts are included for the P-400, Airacobra Mk.I or P-39L/N. These include the different instrument panel arrangements, machine gun configurations in the upper nose, and different propeller blades.

Recognizing that the kit would be a dedicated tail-sitter, Eduard has provided a molded metal ballast for installation in the nose gun bay. The kit also provides your choice of round or pre-weighted wheels.

The kit provides separately molded cockpit 'car' doors in clear. These eliminate the messy step of installing clear windows in the doors. These can be positioned open or closed.

A nice set of Eduard paint masks are included for the windows, RAF ID stripe, and French colors on the rudder.

Markings are provided for six specific aircraft:

  • P-39L-1-BE, 42-4520, 350 FG/12 AF, North Africa, 1943, 'Evelyn'
  • P-39N-1-BE, 42-18769,G.C.1/4 'Navarre', French AF, 1944
  • Airacobra Mk.I, AH601, 601 Sqn, Duxford, Oct 1941
  • P-400, 41 FS/35 FG/5 AF, Milne Bay, New Guinea, 1942
  • P-39N, 9 Guards IAD, as flown by I.I. Babak
  • P-39N, 100 Guards IAP/9 Guards IAD, 1945, as flown by G. Dolnikov

The Profipacks are the best of the releases from Eduard as they already include a full set of photo-etched details, masks, and an impressive decal sheet. You'll want one of these P-39 kits for your collection!