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Dan DeSilva
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Monogram 1/48 P-39 as a Portuguese P-39D 1943

August 5, 2017 · in Aviation · · 30 · 2.3K

I have always had an interest in Portuguese aircraft, as my parents are both from the Acores. This diorama was built as a curiosity for my dad, as he had always seen me building kits from my early teens up until I left the house when I got married.

The kit is the , set up to depict a maintenance scene with crew working on a Portuguese P-39D- one of a number of USAAF aircraft types that were interred in Portugal during WW2, as a result of emergency landing due to low fuel in transit or mistaken navigation. This P-39D was put into service at Airbase No.2, Ota Portugal. Esqudrillia OK. For markings, I used the Tally Ho Decals -4206 Portugal: Fighters 1940-1950.

I used some spare Monogram crew figures, and aftermarket white metal crates, you can also see the crate and oil drum included in the AMT 1/48 F7F Tigercat kit! The detail is out of the box in terms of the kit, as I wanted a straightforward conversation piece, and was not as interested in detailing it as accurately as possible, as my dad is not a big model fan- I just wanted to make something for him as a memory of me after leaving the house.

I am hoping to do some more detailed dioramas, but have not found the nerve yet!

Reader reactions:
12  Awesome

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30 responses

  1. That'll work, Dan...those "old" Monogram kits are still a good buy for the money.

    • Thanks for the encouragement Craig! I love Monogram- I have two B-17's, a C-47 and a B-24 in the stash waiting to be built. Gave a B-29 away a number of years ago and wish i hadn't- might get one eventually, butI need to build the others first!

  2. Good ol' Monogram, I'll bet probably every model guy has built a Monogram kit at sometime, good to see some of us still give them a try and can have them turn out well, as you see here. Nice work, Dan !, and thanks for the info on the decals, I was looking for some Portugal markings !

    • Thanks Terry, There are a ton of Portuguese markings out there- was googling to save myself looking through my files for the instructions of the sheet i used, but ended up going in anyway because the sheet i used is OOP I think!

  3. That is a great gift to your dad! Wish I had done the same for my dad... I did not know that Portugal used the P-39. Hope to see more of you dioramas in the future!

    • I would have liked a bit more enthusiasm from his side, but for a guy who grew up with not much on a farm, models are kind of lost on him- and I understand that. I love scale modelling for the history, and the fact that I love aircraft so much that having a miniature of an aircraft to appreciate makes my day!

      • That's precisely why I became obsessed with this hobby. The history and having a piece of that history in your hands. My dad introduced me to it. First models were a Revell Ju 88, Esci F 100 Super Sabre, Esci F 104 Starfighter, Esci Mirage III and Esci North American Fury.

        • Ha ha- my first model kits were a 1/72 Revell Ju-88 and a 1/72 Revell Ju-87G!
          The appreciation of history grew with looking through "American Aircraft of WW2" style books and gawking at profiles!
          Thanks again for your comments!

          • If you are interested, I posted some photos of the Grumman Tigercat wing intakes that you requested on the group build page. Cheers!

  4. Very nice indeed and an interesting
    story... Modeling used to be a " father and son "thing.

  5. Neatly done, nice to see the Portuguese subject.Super work!

    • Thanks very much David, once I am done painting my house I hope to post my Portuguese P-38 too- very humorous story of how it became interred in Portugal!

  6. Well done Dan, I'm finishing up a Monogram P-39 myself. This kit still shows well when completed, I've never seen one with Portuguese markings, I like it.

    • Thanks Tom, There are some other schemes the Portuguese P-39's carried. I think Ota is pretty arid so they went with a British style WW2 desert camouflage for theirs.

  7. Dan, you've proven that the "Monogram Classic" is still a viable kit in a contemporary world of slide molds and computers. My only niggle is that there are not enough photographs any, thoughts of shooting more photos with the model alone?

    Two thumb up on educating people on Portuguese history too.

    • Stephen,
      Ha ha, I regularly beg people to show the undersides of their builds, or provide more pics- I usually do.
      I will shoot some more at my dad's house and add them to the post- these were some I found in a file I was clearing out.

      • Yeah, being modest has it merits. I like the paint job, you choked down the air-brush and did some good work. The canopy is masked so that it is sharp. The Portuguese markings add interest and bring things together. Don't sell yourself short ...more photos please.. 😉

        • Hey Stephen- not bragging at all- but I hand paint all my canopy frames. Masking, painting, then stripping the masking takes too long for me. I usually dip or brush the canopy parts with future, paint the interior colour, then future again, and then exterior colour. The future protects the clear parts from being frosted by the enamel, or thinners. The future between colour coats makes sure that the top colour does not soften or lift the interior colour on the frames. Of course I have to be very careful with a clear flat if that is needed over the top colour. Thanks for your kind comments.

  8. Great alternative for the classic Mono Aircobra! I too have built this kit in earlier days. I like what you did with it.

  9. Thanks Greg! I hope to post more of my recent completions soon! Still painting my 1/1 scale house at the moment!

  10. Dan, great choice of markings, the Portuguese got a couple of everything when folks took a wrong turn. It would make for an intersting collection, provided you can find the markings. I remember when the only ones I could find were in the old Frog biplane torpedo bomber, the Blackburn Shark.

    What I really like about the Monogram P-39 is that they give the makings of a nose interior, and rudimentary engine detail. Do some thinning down,add some wires and stuff, you can do a gun reloading dio.

    Great work on an old classic.

    • Thanks very much Bernard. I had that Blackburn shark kit in the stash- the only reason I bought it was because it came with Portuguese markings! I was going to do two 1/48 Beaufighters, one British, one Portuguese, but had to thin the stash. Kept the RAF malta Beau option...
      The Tally Ho sheet I referenced is very nice for variety of airframes.

  11. Excellent work ! Go Monogram.

  12. Another good example of building a classic Monogram kit and making something special with it.

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