Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Here are some images of Special Hobby's 1/32 scale Bell P 39 D Airacobra. From Wikipedia "The Bell P-39 Airacobra was one of the principal American fighter aircraft in service at the start of World War II. It was the first fighter in history with a tricycle undercarriage and the first to have the engine installed in the center fuselage, behind the pilot. Although its mid-engine placement was innovative, the P-39 design was handicapped by the lack of an efficient turbo-supercharger, limiting it to low-altitude work. The P-39 was used with great success by the Soviet Air Force, who scored the highest number of individual kills attributed to any U.S. fighter type. Other important users were the Free French and co-belligerent Italian air forces. Together with the derivative P-63 Kingcobra, these aircraft became the most successful mass-produced fixed-wing aircraft manufactured by Bell.
Bell Model 13, production variant based on the P-39C with 245 lb (111 kg) of additional armor, self-sealing fuel tanks. Armament increased to 1 × 37 mm/1.46 mm cannon (30 rounds), 2 × .50 in/12.7 mm (200 rpg) and 4 × wing mounted .30 in/7.62 mm (1,000 rpg) machine guns; 60 Produced.
Bell Model 14A, production variant fitted with a M1 20 mm (.79 in) M1 cannon. Specifically ordered for delivery under Lend-Lease; 336 produced
Bell Model 14A-1, production variant with a V-1710-63 (E6) engine (1,325 hp/988 kW) restored the 37 mm (1.46 in) cannon, provisions for a single 145 gal (549 l) drop tank or maximum 500 lb (227 kg) bomb under the fuselage; 158 produced.
26 conversions from P-39D-1 to Photo Reconnaissance Configuration; K-24 and K-25 camera in rear fuselage, extra armor for oil coolers
11 conversions from P-39D-2 to Photo Reconnaissance Configuration. Same modifications as D-3 aircraft.

In 1945, Italy purchased the 46 surviving P-39s at 1% of their cost but in summer 1946 many accidents occurred, including fatal ones. By 1947, 4 Stormo re-equipped with P-38s, with P-39s sent to training units until the type's retirement in 1951. Only a T9 cannon survives today at Vigna di Valle Museum.


Pat Tillett said...

I seen these planes many times but never noticed the engine placement.
nice one...

Warren Zoell said...

Thanks Pat - When I first saw these planes I thought they were from the 50's.

William said...

I've always liked this airplane, especially in Soviet markings (USAAF colors always seem so drab to me!) I have a Monogram 1/48th kit that I'll do one of these days.

Have you ever seen the swept-wing versions NASA experimented with? Here's a link showing an example; it's photograph number 7 in the linked document.


The only problem is that they call it an "L-39" and insinuate that it's based on a P-39, but that sure looks like a P-63 to me...

William said...

Let me try the link again. It seems to be too long for Blogger.

Warren Zoell said...

William - I do believe that you are right. Here is what I found under Wikipedia's King Cobra article.
"Two war surplus P-63Cs were modified by Bell under Navy contract for flight testing of low-speed and stall characteristics of high-speed wing designs. The aircraft received new wings with adjustable leading edge slats, trailing edge flaps and a pronounced sweep of 35 degrees. The wings had no wheel wells; only the nose gear was retractable.L-39-1 first flew 23 April 1946, demonstrating a need for extra tail surface and rear fuselage length to balance the aircraft in flight - the wing repositioning reduced empennage effectiveness and moved the center of lift aft. A lighter three-bladed propeller from a P-39Q-10 was mounted and the necessary changes to the empennage were made. L-39-2 incorporated these adjustments from the start. L-39-1 later went to NACA at Langley for wind tunnel testing, where much valuable data were gathered. L-39-2 also served as a testbed for the Bell X-2 40-degree wing design".

Entre Nous said...

My KID and I love the planes

Happy Thanksgiving Warren :}


Warren Zoell said...

Thanks Joni - Although I should let you know that here in Canada we celebrate our thanksgiving in October.
However I do appreciate the sentiment.So to you I say have a very wonderful Thanksgiving and make sure to cook that turkey upside down ;O)