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Bell P-63E KingCobra (48004)


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Bell P-63E KingCobra (48004)

1:48 Dora Wings




 The P-39 Airacobra was deemed to be a damp squib by the US, although the Russian pilots thought well of it, as it suited their needs, but Bell tried to improve the aircraft by basing their attempts on the more suitable P-39E with a redesigned wing, engine and the inclusion of a supercharger that was omitted from the original Airacobra in order to save money, which inevitably affected high altitude performance.  The resulting airframe was so much different and noticeably larger, so was renamed and given the designation P-63A by the military, who ordered it into production toward the end of 1942, which was the main in-service variant. 


In an attempt to improve performance it progressed to the D variant, which was the basis for the P-63E, but with a return to the cab-door canopy, and a ventral fin extension to improve stability.  One 13 Es were built, and the project stuttered to a halt from there with a large number of airframes seeing out their days in Soviet and French service, plus a few air racers using modified surplus airframes.



The Kit

Dora Wings is a new company to us, and have kindly agreed to send us some samples for review.  There have been a few kits in 1:48 of this aircraft, but nothing much in the recent past until Dora Wings popped up with the unusually configured TP-63E two-seat KingCobra, closely followed by this boxing with a single-seat fighter, and the soon-to-be-released Racer based on an A model with clipped wings.  The box is small, but inside are a lot of sprues – eight in grey styrene, one in clear, a copper coloured sheet of Photo-Etch (PE), masks and of course decal sheet.  The instructions are loose-bound and printed on matt stock in colour, with the painting and markings guide loose in the centre.














This has the feeling of a short-run kit by nature, but in terms of detail and quality, it is more of a longer-run and the parts are well-moulded with only the sprues themselves looking a bit old-skool.  The cockpit is first to be built up, and it is well-appointed with basic sidewall detail moulded into the fuselage, PE parts and a set of PE seatbelts.  The nose gear bay is built up under the cockpit, and the gear leg is trapped between the sides of the bay at this early stage, leaving it a little vulnerable to the clumsy modeller.  Before the fuselage is even introduced the instructions have you installing the wheel bays in the full-span lower wing, adding the intakes to the leading edge wingroots, and building up the gear.  The upper wings drop onto the lower wing leaving a slot for the fuselage, which has its dorsal intake insert and PE grille added, plus a throttle quadrant before it is closed up around the cockpit/nose gear bay and the exhausts are added just aft of the cockpit door.  A twin .50cal gun insert is fitted to the nose, and the wings are mated along with the flaps and ailerons, then the elevators, and lastly the rudder.




The canopy is two parts with cut-outs for the car-door style windows in the forward section, and completely clear doors, which will need masking inside and out.  The gear is installed, the nose gear bay doors added with separate hinges, and the prop, with integral 37mm M4 cannon muzzle is built up and inserted into the nose.  You then have a choice of things to hang under the wings from a conformal fuel tank, wing tanks on short pylons, central tank, and underwing mounted machine-gun pods that housed a pair of .50cals.




As Henry Ford wouldn't have said, it's any colour you like as long as it's Aluminium.  For most of the reference photos I've seen that appears to be a painted finish, but do check your references before plundering on.  Decals are printed on off-white paper by Decograph of Ukraine, and are in good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas.  They also include an instrument panel printed in black and white with all the dials present.  From the box you can build one of the following:


  1. US Air Force s/n 43-11720 – silver with black anti-glare panel and red spinner.
  2. US Air Force s/n 43-11721 – silver with black anti-glare panel and silver spinner.
  3. US Air Force s/n 43-11727 – silver with black anti-glare panel and red spinner.
  4. Civil registration N9993R – silver with black anti-glare panel and red spinner that tapers back along the fuselage.
  5. Fuerza Aerea Hondurena FAH – 402 Honduran Air Force, Tepucigalpa, 1948 – Honduran flag on tail and wingtips.
  6. Fuerza Aerea Hondurena FAH – 401 Honduran Air Force, Tepucigalpa, 1948 – Honduran flag on tail and wingtips.




The Honduran flags are provided as decals, and prop stencils are also included, but you will have to paint the prop tips and the tapering red stripe down the side of option 4 yourself, which is probably for the best for colour matching with the spinner.  Colour call-outs are made with Humbrol codes as well as the colour names, all of which are suitably generic, so easily converted to your favourite manufacturer.


Supplied on a sheet of grey vinyl, the pre-cut masks supply you with a full set of masks for the canopy, with compound curves at the rear handled by using frame hugging masks, while the highly curved gaps are in-filled with either liquid mask or from tape.



The P-63 came along at a time when the attention was focused more on the nascent jet age, so it gathered little attention, and many folks probably couldn't even tell the difference between it and the P-39 unless they were side-by-side.  That said, it's an appealing aircraft, and as a model it looks like it will go together pretty well.  It's a shame there weren't more variations on colour schemes, but as there were only a few airframes built in this configuration, it's hardly surprising.


Highly recommended.


Review sample courtesy of


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Thanks Mike

Whatever, she look far more accurate and detailled than the Fonderie kit

Will buy one and may be try a double build.... Once again !

Nice review, really enjoyed !



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