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Monogram 1/48 P-39 Airacobra

June 24, 2016 in Aviation

Probably the most brilliantly engineered fighter of WWII, the P-400/P-39 was designed around the Oldsmobile 37mm cannon. Because of the weight and recoil force of this cannon,it necessitated the gun to be mounted in the nose firing thru the propeller hub. This required the engine to be mounted amidships which allowed for the retracting nose gear. Brilliant but it never really lived up to expectations as a high altitude fighter because the USAAC required the removal of the turbo-supercharger. Then the Russians got hold of them thru Lend Lease, and it prove to be quite a ground-attack platform as well as an Ace maker for several Soviet pilots.

Don’t know why but I enjoy picking up these old Monogram and Revell kits at shows then try my hand at making them look good. Added a True Detail seat, along with some wheels, AeroMaster decals, and presto chango one has a decent looking model. The decals really went down well and I would recommend them. I also used Tamiya and Model Master paints,some were rattle cans some were hand painted. This A/C depicts a P-39 flown by Lt Roy Owen stationed in New Guinea, October,1943. Yes I realize this model has a 20nn cannon in it, and not the 37mm. Likewise, I just couldn’t bring my self to dirty her up, enjoy seeing her factory new. Either way it was fun to build and that’s what it’s all about.

10 additional images. Click to enlarge

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15 responses to Monogram 1/48 P-39 Airacobra

  1. Very nice! I built this also year ago when I still did 1/48 builds. I do love the white-tailed birds from that theater – I’ve got a 1/72 version that I plan to do in very similar livery. Built my Kingcobra as a Russian version.

  2. A clean, delicate looking machine, Tom. Very nicely presented.

  3. Neat, clean, nicely made model!

  4. Ya can’t beat those “old” Monogram kits for the money, and this one turned out very nicely indeed. And I (nor anyone, I’d venture) could say definitively what size the cannon is – which, by the way, I never realized was manufactured by Oldsmobile(?). Nice work all around.

    • That’s the RAF Airacobra I, later known to the USAAF as the P-400, which was armed with a 20mm cannon.

      The quick solution to “arm” this model with a 37mm cannon is to cut off the cannon barrel so that only about 1/16 inch sticks out in front of the spinner. The 37mm had a much shorter barrel.

      This is one 47 year old Monogram kit (it came out in 1969) that has stood the test of time, the only thing “wrong” with it is the taper of the wings, which lack the upturned-from-the-bottom tips.

      Nice work on the kit.

  5. I’m sure Tom’s correct, but cutting off the barrel would surely spoil the look of this model. It’s amazing how good these “old” kits look with some care on their build.

  6. Tom, you sure know how to make an old dog stand up and howl. That is sweet.

  7. Tom. good one! Other than the raised panel lines, she still holds her own, plus the interior details.

  8. She sure looks mean and lean!! I agree with your assessment of Monogram kits. They just need some tlc and patience. Well done Tom!!

  9. Oldie!!
    Nice build and paint.


  10. Lean and mean, looks great.

  11. Hello Tom…Very nice build of a classic old Monogram kit.

  12. 🙂 … Greetings … 🙂 :
    Tom … I am very much of the same thought of Craig and Jim when the MONOGRAM line of kits come to mind. They were there for the times, bringing us way to many god times and variety … and through the years … they still are.
    This one here is one good example of it, that is one good clean and sharp work and model.

  13. 🙂 … Greetings … 🙂 :
    There is a miss spell in my text …
    ” bringing us way to many god ” … should read as – good – … sorry friends .

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