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Reviews : American : American WW2 Last Updated: Apr 21st, 2015 - 23:52:06



P-39Q/N Airacobra. Academy. 1/72nd. Kit 2177
By Clarence Wentzel. IPMS USA
Apr 15, 2006, 16:48

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Our local club recently held a fun contest for the May meeting. The title was "May Day" and members had to build a Russian model. I couldn't resist the temptation to add another Russian model to my collection so I started looking through my kit and decal collection to choose a subject. I have had very good results with Academy kits recently, so I chose their P-39.

The kit markings for the aircraft of Maj. V. F. Sirotin looked very good except the kit offers an opening left hand door while the nose marking, a beautiful eagle attacking a ship, was on the right. I searched my decal collection and found the markings of A. I. Pokryshkin. His commonly accepted markings consisted of a mass of stars representing kill markings on the left side of the nose of the model. I had a set of decals from both AeroMaster and Eduard that represented this aircraft so I set off to build my entry.

The kit assembled very well, needing almost no filler although a few additions or modifications were done to improve appearance. First, the door of the kit had a molded-in throttle control. This was removed as was the similar one on the right side. I also opened up the air intakes on the wing roots and added lengths of tubing for the wing machine guns. To improve the quality of the interior, I added a throttle control and a map compartment for the right door from the Eduard Photo-etch set, seat belts from Reheat, and scratchbuilt a control panel at the side of the seat and door controls. The major upgrade that I made was to the nose gear. The kit gear is located more rearward than it should be and the nose gear doors are not correct. Also, the nose wheel is molded integral to the nose gear. I decided to cut the wheel off and to build the nose wheel yoke from parts of the Eduard photo-etch. I used resin wheels from Airwaves and the photo-etch links, doors, nose gear brace and wheel well from Eduard. The revised gear was glued to the front of the wheel well in the correct location and angle. The final addition was to glue small tabs to the door leading edge to simulate the door hinges.

I painted my model with Testors Model Master Olive Drab and Neutral Gray enamels. I used 34095 Green to simulate the Bell green used for the interior and the landing gear. I used a wash made from black, white and sienna oil paints to bring out panel and control lines and weathered the paint with a very thin mixture of white paint. Particular attention was paid to the control surfaces to make them look more faded. The final item was to add a short length of stainless steel wire for the antenna.

DEcals: Two versions, USAAF 71st TRS/82nd TRG - Snooks II and Soviet VVS 17th IAP

I was very pleased with the final appearance of the model. It accurately represents the appearance and sit of the original aircraft and made a good addition to my collection.

Reference material used;

P-39 Airacobra in Detail by Bert Kinzey
Soviet Aces of World War 2 by Hugh Morgan
Stalin's Eagles by Hans D. Seidl

Note - Another Soviet pilot, G. Rechkalov apparently had an Airacobra with a similar nose marking. Some people state that the aircraft with the stars on the nose did not belong to Pokryshkin but many references attribute the markings to him. I decided to go with the recommendation of the decal manufacturers and produce the aircraft of this well known ace.



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