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Bell P-39 Airacobra Variants
from the Eduard 1/48 Scale P-400 Kit

by 

Michael Satin

 

 

 

Introduction

 

I just received the new Eduard 1/48 scale P-400 kit and looked it over. First off I want to assure everyone that this is a tremendous kit! Really one of the best I've seen from anyone, Tamigawa included. Very nice detail, fine scribing, the works. I can't comment on the fit, as I'm committed to other projects right now, but preliminary reviews are very favorable.

But I want to do several P-39s and I know that Eduard will release several versions of the kit. In looking it over, I dug out my 'Cobra references to see what could be done with what I assume is the basic release. I was very pleased with the results of my study and thought I would present them to you here. So here is a table of P-39 variants and their main distinguishing features against what is included in the Eduard P-400 kit and including Eduard parts references where possible.

 

 Variant

Fin Fillet

Pilot Armor

Exhausts

Prop.

Nose Wheel

Cannon

Nose Guns

Nose Vents

Wing Guns

P-39C

No (must remove from kit)

No

6 per side

Parts A-11

Curtiss Electric

Parts B-6

Thick tire

Parts C-1/5

37mm.

Part C-6

2 x .50

2 x .30

no part in kit

No

None

Airacobra I

Yes

Yes

6 per side in RAF service.

Parts A-12

same

same

20mm.

Part C-19

2 x .303

part A-8

No

4 x .303

parts C-20 & 21

P-400

Yes

Yes

12 per side

Parts B-7

Same

Same

Same

2 x .50

part A-8

No

4 x .30

parts C-20 & 21

P-39D-BE 40-2991-3050, 41-6722-7052, 7057-7058, 7080-7115

Yes

Yes

6 per side

Parts A-11

Same

Same

37 mm

part C-6

2 x .50

parts A-7 or 8

No

Same

P-39D-1&2

Yes

Yes

Same

Same

Same

20 mm

Part C-19

Same

No

Same

P-39F

Yes

Yes

12 per side

Parts B-7

Aeroproducts 10' 4" (3.14m)

Parts B-6

Same

37 mm.

Part C-6

Same

No

Same

P-39K

Yes

Yes

6 per side

parts A-11

Aeroproducts 11' 7" (3.53m)

Parts C-23(?)

Thin tire

Parts C-12/60

Same

Same

No

Same

P-39L

Yes

Yes

Same

Curtiss Electric 10' 4"

Parts B-6

Same

Same

2 x .50

Part A-8

No

Same

P-39M

Yes

Yes

Same

Aeroproducts 11' 7" (3.53m)

Parts C-23(?)

Same

Same

Same

Yes

Parts # C-29 & 40 large vents and C-30 small vents

Same

P-39N-BE 42-4944-5043

Yes

Yes

Same

Aeroproducts 11' 4"

Parts C-36(?)

Same

Same

Same

Same

Same

P-39N-5

42-18546-19240

Yes

Glass behind pilot replace with armor

Same

Aeroproducts

11' 7"

Parts C-23(?)

Same

Same

Same

Same

Same

P-39N (others)

Yes

Yes

Same

Same

Same

Same

Same

Same

Same

P-39Q

Yes

Yes

Same

Same (?)

Same

Same

Same

Same

None internal.

2 x .50 in pods (steal from PM kit). Often not carried by Soviets.

P-39Q-20&25 44-3001-3940, 32167-32666, 70905-71104

Yes

Yes

Same

Aeroproducts 4 blade.

Parts C-36 (?)

Same

Same

Same

Same

Same

 

 

Issues / Problems

 

Some of the problems are parts C-5 and 6. Both appear to be 37mm nose guns, but one (C-5) is very short. Some 37mm guns towards the end of production had sort of blast tubes. That may be this one. 

Also, the props are a bit confusing. It looks like the Curtiss Electric and Aeroproducts 10' 4" props are similar enough to use the same parts (parts B-6) but I'm not real clear on the two four bladed offerings (C-23 and 36). Also parts A-7 & 8 are nose gun parts. Some airplanes seemed to have fairings and some didn't. It seemed to be rather random. I offer my best guess on all the above based on photos. Perhaps later releases will clear some of this up. As always (sorry about this) check your references. Your best bet is photos of the aircraft you're building.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The above table is certainly not exhaustive but I hope is shows the main differences and is not more confusing than otherwise. I'm limited by my sources, which are secondary but I believe fairly reliable. Any additions or corrections will be accepted in the spirit they are offered. I hope this helps anyone wanting to build this excellent kit, GO GET IT! 

 

 

References

 

My references were; Wings of Fame, vol. 10, "Bell P-39/63 Variant Briefing", Robert F. Dorr; P-39 Airacobra in Detail, Vol. 63, Bert Kinzey; and P-39 Airacobra in Action, In Action no. 43, Ernie McDowell. As might be expected, there were some discrepancies between sources. I tried to take what 2 out of 3 said where possible, and tended to go more with WoF and Kinzey as they're newer. I strongly recommend the Kinzey book as he illustrates the differences more clearly where possible.


Text and Table Copyright 2000 by Michael Satin
Page Created 30 October, 2000
Last Updated 18 May, 2001

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