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Greg Kittinger
124 articles

MPC 1/72 P-39 Aircobra

August 3, 2017 · in Aviation · · 21 · 2.3K

This was a pretty enjoyable project - turning an old "dog" kit into a decent representation. This was the old "Profile Series" (I understand MPC are re-boxed Airfix kits). I love the pacific theater birds marked with white tails and wing leading edges, so went with that look.

A few "surgeries" required to just get the kit together. I had to replace all the gear doors to get them retracted, added the small vent doors on the underside and the mount for bomb or belly tank (I would have loved to add the belly tank, but kit parts were broken and I didn't want to scratch build the whole thing...). I also had to repair the lip of the spine air scoop, add an instrument panel, and replace the gun barrels on the wing guns. The wing intakes were just open spaces in the wing halves, so using reference photos, I added blanking with styrene to create the ducts. I also added the detail to the rear deck behind the pilot. I Drilled out all gun barrels and the exhausts, and added epoxy drops for the wing lights.

To achieve some Pacific theater sun fading, I dry brushed a lighter shade of the green along the top of the nose and rear fuselage area, and on some of the wing panels. I also used oil dot filtering with several colors, and when that brush was dirty, and before each fresh oil dot application, I brushed the dirty mineral oil across the white sections to dirty them up. Then used pastel chalks on all panel lines, and for dirt/grime work on wings, walk ways, etc. I used Tamiya weathering kits to enhance the exhaust staining. Used mostly silver pencil for chipping with just a tad of dry-brushed aluminum. All of the decals were from the spares box. The Sweet Sue nose art was actually from a P-38J kit - but hey - like I said - it is a representation!

The two areas hardest to get right were the nose spinner and the canopy area. The spinner and prop blades were all a single piece, and the spinner shape was horrible. I sanded as much as I could, but finally just stopped and decided to live with it. For the canopy area, in hindsight I would have gotten a better result to glue all the glass on the model and then shape things down or add some styrene to match up all the lines. Since I brush paint and don't mask like you air-brushers, I didn't realize this area was going to look so disjointed until I got done. I did try to shape the glass quite a bit to get a better fit, and had to replace the side door panel glass with acetate anyway.

Finished off with Uschi line for the aerials and a scratch-build pitot probe.

Reader reactions:
16  Awesome

16 additional images. Click to enlarge.

21 responses

  1. Very nice weathering Greg. You've put a lot of work into an old kit, and you've made an excellent job.

  2. I like the model and presentation very much. Very nice and accurate build!

  3. Nice work on a beautiful aircraft!

  4. Yeah...what they said, Greg. And you need to market those display stands, my friend (they're a dead give away when I see the headline photo(s). Unless, of course, you wanna give us a brief tutorial on the assembly process so WE can copy 'em. 🙂 🙂

    • They're pretty simple - I'll take a few photos of my rig and the tools I've upgraded to, though you don't need everything I've got to build them if you only occasionally make a stand. Since I mount everything I build on a stand, I've put some effort into "mass production!"

  5. Great work! And a really nice representation. Love the weathering!

  6. Hey Greg, great build, I love the weathering. Very nice indeed.

  7. Hello Greg...Nice job with that challenging old kit. Sometimes it's fun to dig into one of those just to see what can be done with it. Your P-39 turned out quite well.

  8. Great work Greg, but I really can't understand why some guys spend so much time trying to make a silk purse out of a pigs ear Ahem hem ! when you could just buy the latest Tamafixagawa masterpiece, all you do is take all the parts off the sprues chuck'em in a bag with a healthy dollop of glue ,give it a vigorous shake and tip out a a top notch kit -easy.
    Seriously though you've turned out a really nice kit ,well done .

  9. Great work on a classic! one of my first kits as a yuot was the Airfix boxing. I've got a belly tank from their old P-40E I think there similar, if you want.

  10. Profile Photo
    said on August 3, 2017

    Nice work Greg.

  11. Greg, this one is great! I know the P-39 was considered to be a "dog" but they soldiered on, nevertheless. They were very New Modern in concept & deserve better than they get, in my humble opinion. (IMHO) Your take on this one is especially welcome. I like the white on some of the Pacific birds and you hit a home run with this.

    Thanks for sharing and here's a hearty "Bravo" for your latest offering.

  12. My eyes said Airfix even before i read the story. Built it many many years ago. I´ve seen a P-39 up close in Australia, it´s a very small machine as I remember it. I like how you managed to get the colours right.

  13. I like that you built it cleaned up. They really are nice looking birds! We had four Bells at EAA this year. Three P-63s and a lone Airacobra in Soviet markings which sadly came in one evening reeking of fuel and leaving quite a puddle of it under the plane so he did not get up on Saturday. Yours turned out nice and crisp in the end.

  14. You've really brought this old kit up to scratch, Greg, I think it's a great looking plane and you've made a terrific job, that colour scheme really suits it.

  15. Old school plastic scale model. Old school modeling techniques. Thar is my definition of scale modeling. Outstanding results! By the way, the MPC Profile Series kits were my favorites back in the day and they still rock today.

  16. Greg,Always fun to fix up an old style kit, and see what you can do, I like what you've done here, way to use your model skills to make this work. Well done !

  17. Thats very very nice Greg
    The white tail is beautiful ! I love it

  18. Very nice Greg. I always enjoy seeing your models!

  19. Nicely done Greg, looks good.

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