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  • Writer's picture@PlaneThought41

Mid-Engine Snake: 1/48th Monogram P-39 (P-400) Airacobra

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

Here is another product of Monogram's that has held up well over the years (originally released in the 60's). The kit rendered excellent details (for its time) in the cockpit, gun bay and engine bay (which no other kit has provided as yet). A bit dated by today's standards, with raised panel lines and some minor issues (front gear and a couple of refinements), however this P-39 can still be built into a fine shelf kit (if you can find one).

Notable Kit Features:

  • Excellent detailing in the cockpit (typical of many Monogram kits)

  • Engine compartment details on right side (open panel option)

  • Open gun bay on right-side

  • Decently molded air scoops in wing

  • Nice detail in wheel wells and on control surfaces

  • Raised panel lines

Build Inspiration:

Oh Hells Bells I can't remember what inspired me to build this aircraft aside from the obvious mean looking shark teeth look :)

Heads-Up Report:

  • I decided to close up the panels on this early build (although if I did another I would try and work it with open panels). As I recall, closing the panels required some filler.

  • Get enough weight in the nose to avoid a tail dragger (remember the nose sits slightly high so make sure you compensate for that adding the weight)

  • The kit decals were a bit thick and not overly flexible however they have stood up well

Kit Additions / Modifications:

  • I sanded off the raised panel lines

  • Brass tubing was used for the main nose gun

  • Dorsal air scoop walls were thinned a bit

End Result:

This kit turned out alright for its day. The paint scheme for this aircraft was targeted towards the RAF (before the order was cancelled so they went to the US Army instead). I believe it was referred to as Spinach (Dupont green is slightly more blue than the standard Dark Green) over Earth. These two colours were over a standard WWII US underside gray.

The After-Build Report:

Despite this kit's old age it will still build up into a decent replica. Monogram's P-39 can be built by any skill level model maker and can often be found inexpensively on the secondary market.

You may want to opt for the basic Eduard "Weekend" kit, as it should only be a bit more money and will get you engraved panel lines, doors that open and some other goodies. The higher level Eduard kits typically come with very nice photo-etch detail and nose weights. These Eduard kits are for more experienced (and patient and nimble) model makers due to the photo-etch parts. So long as we are comparing, the Accurate Miniatures P-39 is essentially the Eduard kit re-boxed and the Hasegawa kit appeared to me to be over-priced (more expensive and no better than the Eduard - although I have not built one... because I thought it was over-priced ;)

Completed build #22 - April 1987 using the 1/48th scale Monogram #6844 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 suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers

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