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Hi everyone,

I am excited to join my first group build!

For a long time I have been torn between a Guadalcanal P-400, a USAAF aircraft in North American, and a French P-39, but I have finally settled for the French option.

The base kit will be Academy offering reboxed by MPM and I will use Berna decals.

The kit:

saGTgSi.jpg

 

And the current state of the project:

ipVWdiU.jpg

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welcome aboard Doc and with something a little bit different.

 

I haven't seen the MPM model before so it'll be interesting to see how it comes along. It's play a challenge to try and get the weight right in these beasties, there's not a lot of room and they really try hard to be a tail sitter.

 

Well good luck with the build, good to see another 1/72nd model i the build, the bigger boys were starting to take over. look forward to seeing her in the gallery.

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A first test assembly with the parts hold together by tape indicates that I most likely have rather exaggerated the lead ballast, but that's no problem.

 

Call me pedantic, but I hardly ever build a model without photographic evidence of the original. I don't trust in profile drawings or kit instructions even though they are helpful for the interpretation of photos.

 

At least for the moment I have settled for this aircraft:

zgCBtK9.jpg

The lead-white exhaust stains will look interesting on the model. Furthermore, it represents the last production standard of the P-39. If I will someday build a P-400, these two models will nicely demonstrate the development of the Airacobra. The only problem is that this aircraft has a four-blade prop while the Academy/MPM-kit only includes the three-blade prop. More about this later.

I found the picture in this book:

tynHgpE.jpg

It's rather old, it's in French and my example (bought second-hand) smells rather funny, but it really contains a lot of information and photos, not only on French P-39s. 

The corresponding decals for "my" Airacobra are included in a sheet by Berna. It is the aircraft at the bottom.

9hnfoPh.jpg

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Good afternoon Doc72

 Itake a seat to follow your build enjoy it despite all the critics about the MPM/Acdemy kit once built it does look like a P 39 for me at least...

Cheers

Patrice

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Well, I am aware of some shape issues with the Academy kit. Other problems arise from the fact that they tried to make a kit which can be build into all variants of the P-39. Thats why I looked long and hard at the RS kits which might be more accurate.

Finally, however, I said to myself that life is too short for short-run kits and I don't want to spend weeks with test-fitting, filling and sanding. No, seriously, I have build short-run kits before and I will build them in the future, but in this case I chose the easiest way.

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41 minutes ago, Doc72 said:

Well, I am aware of some shape issues with the Academy kit. Other problems arise from the fact that they tried to make a kit which can be build into all variants of the P-39. Thats why I looked long and hard at the RS kits which might be more accurate.

Finally, however, I said to myself that life is too short for short-run kits and I don't want to spend weeks with test-fitting, filling and sanding. No, seriously, I have build short-run kits before and I will build them in the future, but in this case I chose the easiest way.

Good afternoon Doc72

 I totally agree with you sometimes it is good to choose the easiest way and above all considerations let's not forget that this is a hobby which should give the modeller some kind of relaxation...

 

Cheers

Patrice

 

 

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Evening everyone,

 

If I remember right the heller P-39 includes the four blade prop.

 

 

Cheers,

Joseph

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Yes, I know and this is definitely an option. I was surprised when I realized that the Academy kit has only the three-blade kit. Somewhere I read that the Academy kit is otherwise not completely unrelated to the older Heller P-39.

RS also makes a kit of a P-39Q with the four-blade prop, but now I have started with the Academy kit.

The current plan is to use a Quickboost resin propeller for the P-51K. Both the P-51K and the Q-Airacobra used propellers by Aeroproducts. While the real aircrafts most likely did not use exactly the same model of propeller, the basic shape and diameter should be ok (at least in 1/72 and compared to many propellers included in kits).

Of course I cannot use the Mustang spinner, so I have to drill new holes in the P-39's spinner. We will see, if that works out. If not, I will have to look out for a Heller kit.

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Some modest progress: A bit of filling and sanding was necessary, but generally fit isn't bad.

9Y8uqwz.jpg

 

There is now a small strut inside the intake (piece of old PE-frame cut to length):

eeEA5sW.jpg

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Without wanting to copy Dennis' work on his British cobra, I also added gun throughs made from metal tubes (Albion Alloys in this case). The wing gun pods will receive the same treatment.

4AfJhRt.jpg

 

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You're not copying me @Doc72. You're just doing a simple improvement I've seen dozens of modelers do over the years. I guess i technically copied someone 25 years ago when i first did it.   

 

Dennis

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no Doc, that's pretty normal to drill out the moulded "gun barrels" and replace them with much nice metal examples.

 

Those tubes are just right and look so much better.

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The gun pods have turned out a bit more complicated. Due to size and shape I couldn't simply drill a hole and insert the tube.

 

PkOSmlX.jpg

 

The tube might seem a bit over-scale, but what you see on the real thing is not the 0.50 gun barrel, but a slightly larger blast tube with the barrel inside.

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It starts to look like a Airacobra:

CXgaSl8.jpg?1

There is still some delicate sanding to be done around the canopy, but in general I was surprised how well the main canopy and the left door (a separate clear part on this kit) fitted.

It is bit annoying that Academy allows you only to open the left door. While most aircraft types are boarded from the left, pilots preferred to enter the P-39 from the right (I think, the throttle or something was a bit in the way on the left side and made it more comfortable to use the right door). While it was technically a 100% feasible to open only the left door, most photos, I think, show either the right or both doors open, but rarely just the left. Anyway, on my model both are closed.

 

You can also see the gun pods, the spinner and the four-blade Quickboost propeller (originally destined for a P-51K). The spinner is temporally glued to plastic sheet. This should make it simpler to drill 3 new holes (four-blade prop instead of the 3-blade prop included in the kit).

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it certainly does look like a P-39 now. That throttle quadrant would make entering via the LH door a bit tricky.

 

Good luck with the spinner and new blades, that'll be a trick operation, but temporary gluing the spinner to some plastic card is a good idea. You should be able to make a quick jig up to help you with fitting the blades.

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Some modest progress here:

I have dryfitted the propeller blades (Quickboost P-51K) to the spinner with new holes drilled. It works so far, but the diameter looks huge to me.

AvYJjSB.jpg

According to my sources the diameter of the four-blade prop should be 11 ft 7 in or 3,53 m. This should be 49,03 mm in 1/72. At present the resin prop has 51 mm, so most likely I will remove 1mm of each blade. Still it looks huge on this little plane and the diameter is much larger than the three-blade prop that comes with the kit.

 

I also started with a small base. Originally, I bought a number of these cheap fir or spruce wood plates for 1/72-armour kits which fit very well on them, There are, therefore, a bit small for an aircraft, but it will still look better than nothing.

ZJWsVtI.jpg?1

wlKrSFT.jpg

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the props look like they may have needed to be pushed in a wee bit further, but careful trimming of the tips will work. They were a big prop made to look bigger by the nose of the aircraft being quite slim.

 

I like the base you made for her.

 

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Thanks. The base is not finished yet. It will receive some paint and some grass. So far it is only pigment-sand-gravel-white glue slurry.

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Now the beast is standing on its own feet for the first time albeit only with the help of tape and blue-tac.

The paper disc simulates a 49mm-diameter (in 1/72!) propeller. Such a small ground clearance would certainly call for very careful taxiing. Obviously, I need to reduce the diameter. I have already shortened the blades somewhat.

 

r5FYGhA.jpg?1

 

Another issue at the moment is the front wheel. Academy has moulded wheel and leg in one piece which never looks good. Furthermore, the wheel resemble more the early type instead of the more narrow later type. Not sure yet, if I should try remedy that.

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just sitting there like that she looks good, nice work with the base!

 

Hmm that prop is a bit large.

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On many models I try out something new to reproduce a well-nuanced, weathered paint scheme on a stressed and buckled aircraft skin. In this case, I tried a variant of the three-layer technique.

1.) base colour (Neutral Grey)

2.) chipping fluid on some panels (+ some small strips of masking tape in some places)

3.) irregular pattern of the lightened base colour

4.) partially chipping away the lightened gray

5.) brush painting inspection hatches, scratches and small random pattern with lightened gray

6.) thin airbrush coats of the base colour

 

FCr6M9f.jpg

lvED5ZL.jpg

m5B0GZH.jpg

mUfDimu.jpg

 

One problem was that the chipping fluid left a marked gloss where it was only partially covered by paint. This could be washed away with water, however.

Was it worth the effort? For the upper surface, I guess, I will skip the chipping fluid. In any case, I enjoy trying out new things.

 

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Another episodes of the popular series "Unnecessary Complicated Paintjobs" for you to enjoy: the upper side

 

tMKwBeS.jpg

The preshading of the panellines was actually exaggerated. It would be better to skip that phase completely. I toned it down a bit later.

iizCbLk.jpg

I airbrushed a lighter colour and added some chipping with a sponge and painted some details with a brush

ldXdoX4.jpg

Everything covered by thin coats of the final colour.

VfvVeV6.jpg

OD is a difficult colour to match due to its variations and sometimes extreme fading. In this case, I used a mix of Tamiya XF62 (OD) and XF57 (Buff).

 

 

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very nicely done!!!

 

"Unnecessary Complicated Paintjobs" though do look really nice in the end and I think often worth that extra bit of work. The pre-topcoat work is excellent and looks just right.

 

Are you going to do any fading work over the main colour? Super thin yellow (90:10) just on the surfaces that can be seen looking directly downwards can give a nice "sunburnt/faded" effect to green. I've tried using white but it just doesn't quite look right.

 

Either way you're doing an awesome job, keep it up. :thumbsup:

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Thanks Trickyrich. Depending on how the paintscheme looks in daylight, I might add some fading, maybe on top of the decals to blend everything in.

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