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Michael Turner
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Eduard Russian P-39 N Airacobra 1/48

November 12, 2015 · in Aviation · · 8 · 3.6K

The subject this model represents is the aircraft flown by Nikolay D. Gulayev (alternatively spelled Gulaev and miss-spelt by AeroMaster as Gulyayev) of the 129 GIAP. He was the third highest scoring Soviet ace, with 57 plus 3 shared kills, behind only Ivan Kozhedub (62) and Aleksandr I. Pokryshkin(59+6). Four of Gulayev's kills were tarans (aerial ramming) and he scored 32 of his kills (including 2 tarans) in the . Another source claims that he scored all 41 of his P-39 kills in just over 12 months of combat.

The decals are from Aeromaster 48-089 "Stalin's Cobras", however they didn't include the inscription on the port side which I had to hand paint.

The vast majority of P-39s delivered to the USSR were factory new and painted with a red stars on white discs in 6 positions duet to a probable misinterpretation of the Soviet request for white outlined red stars. These were probably painted using US insignia stencils. The white sections, excepting a thin border to the star, were painted out prior to the aircraft being sent to the front.

This is born out by the P-39 recently recovered from a Finish lake and by the few exceptions that retained the white discs. There are also Bell factory photos of P-39s with the red star on white disc markings.

If you look carefully you can see that the white discs have been painted out (ok, I've simulated this on the model) using soviet colours on the wings. The fuselage has the full surrounding panels painted out making it harder to spot. Also, the aircraft serial number has likewise been painted out prior to the application of the red star.

Reader reactions:
2  Awesome

6 additional images. Click to enlarge.

8 responses

  1. Well done Michael

  2. I love a model which tells a story. The overpainted markings are the clue that leads to the tale of an aircraft almost disregarded in the west but which became a Hero of the Soviet Union.

    Smart work too. I've tried this one and didn't find it an easy build at all. In face I have yet to finish one.

    Regards, Don

    • Donald, for the easy build, the old Monogram P-39 holds up well, you might find one cheap at a show or swap meet. It had raised lines, which isn't a deal breaker for me. Good cockpit, rudimentary engine and better than average armament detail in the nose.
      Hasegawas series of P-39s are IMHO a little crisper than Eduard, but more $$$.
      I really like the lead nose weight in the Eduard, wish other manufacturers did that.

  3. Nice build...don't see enough of these.

  4. Michael, whose green did you use for the interior?
    Congratulations on your hand painting skills, and cryllic at that!. Just like the original, too.
    Different and well done!
    Agree with Donald, planes that tell a story rather than looking generic are a laudable goal. Plus, sort of latitude with the Soviet insignia. The underside stars show how it arrived, and the topsides the modifications.

    • The interior colour is (Lifecolour) RLM 25 Green.
      It should have been Medium Green 42, which I believe is close to Bell Interior Green.
      I had both in my hand at my local hobby shop and thought I put the RLM 25 back and bought the Medium Green 42.
      It was only after I finished the model and was documenting the build that I realised my mistake!
      Oh, well.

  5. Nice work - love the Aircobra, and agree that we don't see enough of them built up.

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