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Bell P-400 Airacobra

by Ian Robertson


Bell P-39 Airacobra


Eduard's 1/48 scale P-400 is available online from Squadron.com




This is Eduard's 1/48 P-400 Airacobra finished in the markings of an aircraft from the 67th FS in New Caledonia, May 1942. My model was based on photographs from various sources and color plate #1 in Osprey's "P-39 Airacobra Aces of WWII".



Eduard's 1/48 Scale P-400 Airacobra


My model was built straight from the box except from the addition of etched brass seatbelts, spare decals, and some minor scratch built modifications (repositioned front wheel, additional detail in wheel bays, and wiring behind the radio).


In general the model went together very well, although I had considerable difficulty getting the cockpit doors to shut properly. The doors tended to flex outward at the top, which made it necessary for me to use CA glue and clamps to get the doors to sit flush with the fuselage and canopy. I wanted the doors closed to show off the aircraft's attractive lines, but if I were to build another I might opt to leave them open and avoid the hassle. Other reviews of this kit note a similar difficulty with having the doors in the closed position.



Paint and Decals


The cockpit was painted RLM 63, which I'm told comes close to the dark interior green of the actual aircraft. Polly Scale acrylics were used for all painting on this model unless indicated otherwise.

Most of the decals were scavenged from my spares, except for the "US" and "ARMY" decals beneath the wings.

The shark's mouth and eyes were airbrushed using a home-made template and series of masks (with Tamiya tape). I first applied white paint over the cowling. The teeth were then masked and the inside of the mouth was painted black. Another mask was applied for painting the lips red. The entire mouth was then masked while the rest of the model was painted. A similar procedure was used for the eyes, although touch-ups with a paint brush were necessary to get the right expression.


The model was pre-shaded with black paint along panel lines. A small amount of SnJ aluminum metallizer was applied to the leading edge of the wings and the wing roots. This paint was later exposed in small areas using fine grain sand paper to simulate worn paint. The wingtips were painted white and masked. The underside of the model was painted a mixture of PRU blue and neutral gray. Dark British green and dark earth were used for the upper camouflage; both these colors were toned down slightly with Israeli Khaki (light brown) to give a faded appearance.

Wing walks were masked and painted scale black. Exhaust stains were airbrushed on with highly thinned black paint, followed by light brushing of gray chalk pastels.





The photographs were taken outdoors using a SONY digital camera. Minor touchups to the images were made using Photoshop's "blur" tool in order to help blend the model base with the background trees.


Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Article Copyright 2002 by Ian Robertson
Page Created 21 March 2002
Last updated 04 June 2007

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