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Republic P-43 Lancer (DW48029) 1:48


Mike
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Republic P-43 Lancer (DW48029)

1:48 Dora Wings via Albion Alloys Ltd

 

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The P-43 Lancer was a work-in-progress in the mid-30s, and bears more than a passing resemblance to the pinnacle of its design, the P-47 Thunderbolt.  Republic’s name was changed from Seversky, and it was their P-35 that was the jumping-off point for a number of designs in the period when it wasn’t yet certain that the US was going to join the war in Europe.  The P-43 was one of the more successful designs, but it was an aircraft with some limitations, only performing at its best at higher altitudes where it was fast enough to catch and kill high flying reconnaissance aircraft.  Lower down it wasn’t so great, so while it went into limited service with the US Air Force and other operators in small numbers it was soon obsolete thanks to the speed of technological progress during war.

 

Some aircraft found their way to the AVG, flying against the Japanese before the US entered the war officially, where they were well-liked enough that when they were withdrawn, petitions were made by the Flying Tigers to keep them.  They also served as high altitude reconnaissance with the RAAF who received a few airframes, and to intercept the aforementioned reconnaissance aircraft, but with only just under 300 built they were never destined for fame, and the P-44 Rocket that was to replace it didn’t even reach service, as the P-47 was just so good.

 

 

The Kit

This is a brand-new tool from our friends at Dora Wings, who have a short but interesting history of producing unusual subjects in various scales.  I built their P-63E KingCobra kit when it was released, and thoroughly enjoyed it, despite a few trials, some of which were of my own making.  Perusing the sprues of this kit gives me the impression that the moulding has moved on somewhat since then, and detail is good too, with decent transparencies, instrument panels with decals for each one, and a well-moulded engine, some PE parts with an alternate instrument panel and even some masks.  That’s a pretty good package.  The kit arrives in a small top-opening box, with six sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, a small pre-cut vinyl mask sheet and a medium sized decal sheet, with the colour A5 instruction booklet that has painting and decaling instructions in the rear completing the package.  Moulding is neat, and while there are loads of sink marks on the sprues, there aren't any visible on the parts, although there is a small amount of flash on the parts that make up the supercharger, but that won't take more than a few scrapes to remove - the logo on the photo covers it nicely though :)

 

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Construction begins with the cockpit, starting with the instrument panel (IP), which can be either built with moulded-in dials and decal over the top, or with a flat panel to which you apply the decal then the PE panel to allow the decals to show through more realistically.  Rudder pedals are fitted to the back of the IP, sidewalls are detailed with additional parts, then the sections are joined together on a floor panel and rear bulkhead, strengthened with the side panels and with the seat and PE belts glued in place and a short control column in front.  The cockpit is put to the side while the firewall and engine mounts are made up, then the tail wheel bay, supercharger assembly, landing gear with 2-part tyres and separate scissor-links, and finally the engine.  This is well-detailed, with both cylinder banks fully replicated with push-rods, reduction housing bell at the front, ignition harness and finally the close-fitting cowling added.  The initial cowling comprises three parts plus a PE grille in the bottom, with the cowling lip added to the front and the PE cooling flaps inserted into the gap at the rear, giving a scale look and a view into the engine, so you’ve not wasted your time painting it.  The prop is also made up, with all blades moulded together, a spinner at the front and a tiny ring at the rear.  All of this makes for a very fast final assembly, and is akin to the process many modellers take when building a model – you can tell Eugen and friends are modellers first and foremost.

 

The cockpit and firewall are joined together first, then trapped between the fuselage halves along with the tail wheel bay, while the full-width lower wing has the two bay parts inserted then closed over with the upper wing halves, filling the gap in the middle with the fuselage.  The ailerons are also separate parts, which is also the case with the tail feathers, giving you some options for a more candid pose.  A clear gunsight, headrest and the rear canopy section are fitted first, then the rest of the canopy and windscreen are added to close it over, while the engine cowling assembly is glued to the front of the fuselage onto its mounts.  Flipping the model over, the supercharger, cooling flap, pitot and wing guns are installed along with the prop, which you’ll probably leave off until later, then the main gear assemblies, bay doors and tail wheel with bay doors added while it is still inverted.  Job done!

 

 

Markings

You get a generous four decal options in the box on a medium-sized decal sheet that is bright and colourful.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • YP-43 Lancer, US Air Force, 1941
  • P-43A Lancer s/n 40-2920, 55th Pursuit Group, Portland Air Base, Jan 1942
  • P-43A Lancer s/n 41-6721, US Air Force 1942
  • P-43A Lancer s/n 41-31496, Aug 1943

 

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Decals are by DecoGraph, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin matt carrier film cut close to the printed areas.  On the rear of the booklet is a colour table decoding the letter codes given throughout the instructions in Mr Hobby, Tamiya, AMMO, Hataka and Life Color codes, plus a key for the instruction icons that are also seen within.  The vinyl masks are ready for application to the canopy, taking some of the work out of that aspect of the build, which is always welcome.

 

 

Conclusion

Dora Wings are to be lauded for their efforts to widen the subjects covered in all scales, and with the improvements they have made so far in their successive products, we’re going to be treated to many more interesting and esoteric kits in the future in differing scales, and I really like this one, which will look great next to my old Academy P-47D I built a number of years back.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

Review sample courtesy of

albionlogo.gif UK Distributors of logo.gif

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