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Bell P-39N Airacobra

Arma Hobby, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y :

Description and Item No.:

Arma Hobby Kit No. 70056 - Bell P-39N Airacobra

Contents and Media:

83 parts in grey plastic; five parts in clear plastic; three small chrome balls; yellow Kabuki die-cut self-adhesive paper masks; decals for four marking options.

Price:

€26.50 plus shipping available online at Arma Hobby

£29.99 EU Price (£24.99 Export Price) plus shipping from Hannants

and hobby retailers worldwide 

Scale:

1/72

Review Type:

First Look

Advantages:

Superbly moulded parts with exquisite surface and interior details, good decals, clear instructions (apart from for the masks), a neat little set up for the nose weights.

Disadvantages:

None really but do take care when cleaning up the sprue gates on the leading edges and fuselage halves.

Recommendation:

This is a really special kit of this widely-used mid-war fighter/ground attack aeroplane, excellent detail and a complete package that will result in a great little replica. Highly recommended to all modellers interested in this aircraft or the forces that used it.

Reviewed by Graham Carter

FirstLook

 

The Polish firm ARMA Hobby have established themselves very rapidly as one of the outstanding producers of kits for modellers in both 1/72 and 1/48 scales. This kit sets new standards for stunning moulding, good decals, clear instructions and thoughtful accessories allowing us to produce a truly stunning replica of the Airacobra, in this case the ’N’ variant of which over 2000 were produced.

 

 

Most of these ended up in the USSR but significant numbers were used in the Pacific by the USAAF and elsewhere by the French and Italians, three of whom are represented on the decal sheet.

 

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The parts are enclosed in a clear resealable sleeve in an end-opening box that does seem to be  bit more robust than some of their earlier offerings, but which is still liable to distortion. Inside are two large mid-grey sprues, a small clear sprue in its own bag, a set of decals, a sheet of masks, three ball-bearings to be used to weigh the nose down ( a great idea methinks!) and a twelve-page colour A5 instruction booklet. The box top has a great image of a Russian example shooting up a railway train.

 

 

The parts themselves are just superb - delicately moulded surface details, a very complete interior and wheel well details and very thin trailing edges.

 

 

Being a ‘short-run’ production there are no locating pins/holes but a set of tabs serve the same purpose on the fuselage. Some alternate parts such as three different props, two exhausts and upper nose panels, plus the requirement to fill some holes and panels indicate that an ’N’ variant could be in the offing. Please note that some sprue attachments do impinge onto the visible side of such items as leading edges, spinner and propellers and care will be needed in firstly removing them from the sprue and then cleaning them up.

 

 

A load of tanks or bombs are provided and holes need to be drilled before assembly to accommodate these. Most of the fine details are exquisitely moulded and care in construction will result in a very fine replica.

 

 

The clear parts are commendably thin and the ‘car’ doors are separate, with nicely moulded interior detail.

 

 

There are a large number of moulding pins on the interior of the fuselage halves, presumably to spread the pressure during the moulding process. The removal of these is indicated in the instructions and their use precludes ugly dimpling of the outside surfaces.

 

 

The cockpit is made up of ten parts and is enhanced by decals for the IP and seat belts. In front of this goes a shaped section with recesses for the three ball-bearings that weigh the front down - great idea. All assemblies during the 23 construction stages have colour call-outs that refer to a table on the front page listing paints from Hataka, AK RC, Humbrol, Ammo, Mr Color, Vallejo and Tamiya - very comprehensive. The mask set covers the wheel and the outside of the canopy but nowhere in the instructions do ARMA show how they are to be used.


 

Marking Options

The final pages of the instructions give a stencil placement diagram and then four view colour drawings for each of the four decal choices which are all in Olive Drab over Neutral Grey. My only reservation is that the instructions do not indicate that there appears to be a dark shape behind the cocardes where the previous markings have been painted out. From my copy of the French magazine WingMasters No. 3 it is certain that these were there (page 40 for those of you with this book). 

 

 

The choices  are :

  1. 42-9033, white 01 of the Soviet 100th Guards Fighter Regiment in April-May 1945 with some patriotic (?) slogan on both sides of the nose and yellow script below the rear of the cockpit,

  2. 42-18354 of the 345th Fighter Squadron USAF , Mediterranean theatre spring 1944 with a shark-mouth,

  3. 42-18736 of GC.1/4 of the Armee de l’Air in Algeria in March 1944, and 

  4. 42-9033, white 01 of the same unit as ‘1’above  between 1943 and 1945, with yellow script below the rear of the cockpit

Decals are beautifully printed in perfect register, with minimal carrier film and a high gloss finish. Being presented on a darkish blue background makes identification of the smaller and lighter items much easier - thank you ARMA!! At first I was perplexed to see the dark blue centres to the French cocardes but my reference in WingMasters  clearly shows this to be the case on the ’N’ variants. The later P-39Q variants had the paler blue centres and tail stripes. Decals are also provided for the tanks and bombs.

 

 

Conclusion

 

This kit, like all of the other ARMA kits, comes highly recommended - get as many as you can as soon as possible if this is your interest area.

Thanks to Arma Hobby for the sample


Review Text Copyright © 2023 by Graham Carter
Images Copyright 2023 by Brett Green
Page Created 6 June, 2023
Last updated 6 June, 2023

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