Fangs of the Cobra: 1/48th Eduard P-39 / P-400 Airacobra
The P-39 releases from Eduard, starting in 2000, brought model makers an updated Airicobra with recessed panel lines and photo-etch details (in Profipack releases). Up to this point the main kit in 1/48th was Monogram's, which was pretty nice, however Eduard stepped it up some with their version.
Notable Kit Features:
Decently detailed cockpit (Color photo-etch cockpit details in Profipack releases only - which really take it up a notch)
Cockpit car-doors can be displayed open on both sides
Finely scribed panel lines
Ballast weight for the nose provided
Intake and radiator details
Good wheel well detail and weighted (or not) tires provided
Tanks and bomb accessories
Optional parts to build other variants included (E.g. Various 12-stack and 6-stack exhausts, nose gun arrangements and propeller blades)
Express paint masks included
These P-39 kits were reasonably priced, so I picked up one at my local hobby shop to check out the new kit on the block. I decided to build the kit up as Lt. Eugene Whal's P-39 of the 39th FS, 35th FG, based out of Twelve Mile Aerodrome, New Guinea. This aircraft was named "Pat" on the port side so I could say I built it as an inspiration to my mother-in-law. :) If you see a kit with markings named after any relatives or friends, you pretty much have to buy and build it, right?
The cockpit parts don't seem to line up in the right places (both the instrument panel and the rudder pedals don't seem to be where they should be for the pilot - with the instrument panel being too far forward and the pedals too close to the panel)
Cockpit car-doors on both sides are best displayed open as they don't fit well closed
Wing-root slight gap and dihedral can be improved by pulling the wings up slightly during the gluing process for a win-win
Trailing edge of wing is a bit thick
Kit Additions / Modifications:
This kit was built straight Out-of-Box
Eduard provides paint suggestions in their instructions, utlizing several of the key model paint manufacturer's numbering systems. These P-39 Airacobra colours were the US (Dupont's) version of the early British camouflage colours. As a helpful add-in, paint masks are included in this kit for the glass, tires and wing-walks. The near-black was sprayed by the wing roots and masked off. Undersides were painted FS 36173 and then masked off. (I have a book of Federal Standard colour chips, so this system became my standard.) Upper surface camouflage of Earth (FS 30118) and Spinach (FS 34159) were applied next in sequence. To give a weathered look, all colours were varied in tone during the airbrush session. After suitable drying, a gloss coat was added by airbrushing on Klear (floor wax). Post curing, decals were applied (using some wet Klear to aid in the decal adhesion process). Drying time again, before a panel line wash was used to bring out the details, followed by more drying time and then the top Matt coat using Model Master's acrylic finish. A further bit of weathering was added using dry Tempera paints to simulate exhaust stains and dirt.
The After-Build Report:
In my opinion the Eduard P-39 kits give the best value for money in 1/48th scale. The kit provides a good base to produce about any P-39 model you want, including the rarer 4-blade prop (P-39Q) versions. All this at a very reasonably price, puts this kit on my recommended list. I ended up picking up another of these Eduard 1/48th P-39 kits in order to build a VVS version at some point in the future. (it is difficult to turn down a good kit when it is on sale:) The Hasegawa kit may be an easier build (without the cockpit corrections to be done here) and provide better detail in the standard cockpit comparison. Eduard's photoetch brings up the cockpit and other detail a notch, at the expense of getting a bit more challenging to build due to the PE parts and all that entails. Either way you have some nice choices for your Airacobra build.
Completed build #188 - December 2015 using the 1/48th scale Eduard #8061 kit.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers