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Monogram 1/48 Bell P-39L-1 Airacobra

August 7, 2014 in Aviation

This is an older build that I finally got around to photographing last Thursday. I took it and several other models (see the Bell AH-1S Cobra) to another small-town airport, the Coffield Regional Airport in Rockdale, Texas, about 20 miles away. The airport used to belong to a local millionaire and he had lot’s of cool WWII planes out there, including B-25s and C-47s. I thought the old hangar had a cool, “classic” look to it and used it for a background.

The model’s first release date, according to the instructions, was 1969, then 1983 and ’89. It must’ve really been somewhat “state of the art” in 1969 with lot’s of cool detail and features. I added a little bit of wiring/tubing and tried my hand at dirtying up the landing gear and belly. It is done in Soviet Air Force markings and colors and represents one of over 4,000 Airacobras turned over to the Russians on Lean-Lease terms during World War II.

As to comments that it might be just too clean for the Russian Front, there’s this:

“Too clean?

Da, IS clean. Clean due to heroic efforts of Sgt. Alexei Nadgudunov, crew chief. Sgt. Nadgudunov was awarded Hero of Soviet Union medal for his efforts to maintain aircraft even in most-forward positions on front against German fascists in Great Patriotic War!

Wielding high-pressure water spray, Nadgudunov beat back worst conditions that Mother Russia could provide. Sgt. Nadgudunov stated that even in harsh circumstances of combat, Soviet aircraft could go to war in presentable condition! VVS General Dimitri Klekov said Sgt. Alexei Nadgudunov exemplified efforts of patriotic Russian comrade citizens and soldiers in war against the fascist invaders.”

Hopefully, it turned out to be a fair “four-footer”. Thanks for taking a look, and all comments welcomed!


12 additional images. Click to enlarge

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27 responses to Monogram 1/48 Bell P-39L-1 Airacobra

  1. Good lookin’ build, Gary – although I dunno ’bout driving’ 20 miles to take the pictures. I have to admit, they ARE cool with the background you chose. But I think if I were gonna do that, I’d bring a whole slew of models all on the same trip, though. By the way, what are all those stencils with the red dot along the wing(s)…? They can’t ALL be fuel filler locations…..(can they?).

  2. Nice looking P-39 Gary. I can indeed verify that in 1969, it certainly turned my 13 year old head at the Base Exchange at Little Rock AFB. Mine did not come out anywhere near as nice as yours.

  3. Never get tired of seeing a P39. Well done Gary, background images and sky gives off the feeling of some far of aerodrome in the Russian frontier.
    Thanks for sharing.


    • Thank you Chuck! They are one of my favorite planes from that era. I’m glad to read that about the “feeling” the pics convey. That is just what I was looking for! Thanks again, Gary

  4. What is Rockdale near? I just relocated to Houston. Nadgudenov? Looks gudanov to me!

    • Rockdale, and Cameron where I live, are located in Milam county. If you draw a triangle from Houston to Dallas to San Antonio (or even Austin), Milam county is smack in the middle. We’re about 150 miles NW of Houston. Thanks for the comments! Gotta love that Sgt. Nadgudunov!

  5. Nice detailing in this scale, Gary. Coincidentally, I had the following link bookmarked as a possible reference for a diarama. Check it out.

  6. Great looking Cobra. The Monogram kit looks the business to me. I’m surprised at the level of detail for a kit of that vintage. Like it!

  7. Your clean aircraft is really nice. Congratulations, Gary !

  8. sweet looking monogram

  9. Hello Gary….it’s always nice to see what a real modeler can do with those older Monogram kits. You did a fine job on building that one. Back when that kit and other Monogram models were released, they were the state of the art. What a shame that Monogram did not continue to produce their fine kits and continue their evolution. Had they done so, it’s quite likely that they would have ended up at the top of the modeling food chain. In any event, your P-39 build is outstanding and quite nicely done.

    • Well thanks so much Jim! It’s great to read your warm comments and I’m really glad you like this ol’ bird. I haven’t completed a plane in over a year now and I need some re-motivation to finish several stalled build projects. Your encouragement sure helps! Thanks again, Gary

  10. Outside of the wingtips being incorrect (more upturn on the lower surface, wing should be thicker out at the tip) the Monogram P-39 is still a good kit and built up looks better than the far pricier Eduard kit, though it can’t stand up to the even-pricier Hasegawa kit outside of price, though the Hasegawa kit doesn’t make it look bad or anything. As the guy who bought the first one to show up at sadly-gone Franciscan Hobbies in San Francisco in 1969, it was indeed “state of the art.”

    Nice work on yours.

  11. Great work! That is still a solid model after all these years. I remember getting one in 1976 and being blown away by the detail.

  12. I’m glad you like it John! Thanks a lot!!

  13. I can’t comment on the kit, but your model certainly looks good, and the photographs are great.

  14. Thanks so much George! I’ve been trying to recall just when I did build this model. It had to be around ’93 or ’94 I’d reckon. It impressed me then with the great detail and I can’t remember any bad fit issue either.

    You know the advantage of digital photography; I may take 40-50 shots, or more sometimes, and maybe get a handful of decent pics. But, I do get lucky with a few. I really appreciate your compliments!

  15. Gary,
    The Monogram early kits were and still are great. Yours is beautifull.
    I posted a Monogram P-39 representing the only airplane to date, to have ever crashed within the city limits of San Bruno, CA Which is adjacent to SFO.

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