Building the Bell P-63 A-9 Kingcobra - SN 270434 Russia, spring 1945

MPM 1/48 scale

by Jaime Pastor Pueyo © 2010 Modeler Site

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The aircraft that I have represented (SN 270434), has the peculiarity of having a great stain of white smoke that it can be seen from the exhaust to almost the tail, covering partially the fuselage red star. No other P-63 I have seen on photographs had this smoke stain so big. I started this model one year ago, although after a while working on it, I got tired and I moved it away for a while, until I found a picture with the white smoke stain that impressed me so much that I immediately took it up again.


In 1942 Bell started the re-design process of its antiquated P-39 Airacobra. Although this plane was largely used, with a notorious participation in the pacific war theatre, its performance was far from acceptable. The whole cell was modified, but the main characteristic that differ this aircraft was kept: the back position engine, right behind the cockpit. A new engine was installed, the new Allison V-1710-95, that moved a four blade propeller and gave the aircraft better performance.
At the end of World War II, two thirds of the 3303 aircraft built, were sent to Russia in a lend-lease operation, but it is difficult to know if finally they were used in combat in the West Front. Maybe, they carried out war operations, but it is probably that they did not fire against any enemy aircraft.

I had already searched some information when I started it firstly, and I had riveted a large part of it, but now I needed more pics, drafts and general information in order to be able to carry out even a better model.


First of all, I touched up the riveting and finished a few rivets that I had not still made. No sooner I finished this stage, I began the cockpit and wheel wells. In practice, they required the same rebuilt and painting. The front wheel well and the cockpit shared one piece, that at time was the cockpit floor and the bottom of the front wheel well. This piece was made of resin made on "Aires", coming from the kit, but its design was far from what I expected and moreover, it lacked any detail. In order to solve the fit problem, I had to glue all the main cockpit pieces to the right fuselage side, and work in it with everything already placed.

Using stretched plastic, copper wire or sheets and plastic robs the whole cockpit was detailed. I added the armor-plating behind the seat, the radio, the fire extinguisher, the tubing and wiring or the medical bag. Moreover, I refused to use the kit seat, and I made a new one in order to reproduce faithfully the one that it can be seen in the real aircraft pictures. I also used plastic sheet and plastic rob for the main seat-shape, then, I glued the strengthening and put some rivets. The seat belts were made of paper and photo etched buckles of Extratech.


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