Hasegawa/Monogram 1/48 P-39 Airacobra

KIT #: HM8
PRICE: 1600 yen in 1994
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Andy Garcia
NOTES: Monogram rebox from 1988

BACKGROUND

 I found a very interesting advertisement in Koku Fan magazine, November 1988 on page 125. Hasegawa was releasing kit HM-8 a P-39! A few pages later, page 164, in the new kit releases article there was a P-39 in 1/48th scale by Hasegawa. I cannot read Japanese. My fertile mind thought it was a new release of the P-39 by Hasegawa. I really wanted that kit and waited for a US supplier to put it on sale. That never happened because it was a Hasegawa re-boxing of the Monogram kit which is supposed to be only for the Japan home market.
 
I thought it would be interesting to build this kit using the Air-A-Cutie markings. During a business trip to Japan in 1994 I decided to use the superb concierge service at my Tokyo hotel and asked them to locate the Hasegawa HM-8 kit. They managed to obtain one and I was so pleased with that hotel and its service. Inside my suitcase on the return trip was the HM-8 P-39 kit and I was a blissful modeler thanks to this little find.
THE KIT

 Once home I found the kit plastic was the very nice Monogram kit, the same plastic we have enjoyed since its release in 1969 and not a new mould Hasegawa release. The Hasegawa decals were nice, not great but good. The art work for Air-A-Cutie was very similar to the Superscale decal.
 
Based on reviews of photos of this aircraft I would say the artwork was a characterization, a good likeness but not exactly the same artwork as some of the photos I had seen.  Also the kit was missing the nose art artwork on the starboard side of the aircraft. So my happiness was tempered but I was still pleased with this kit.

In March of 2007 Hasegawa released a special boxing of the P-39 Air-A-Cutie, using their new tool P-39 plastic. That kit had excellent decals with great artwork. That release, # 09738 P-400/P-39D Airacobra with Pinup Girl, flew off the shelves and disappeared. I never saw one built.
CONCLUSIONS

 So, if you are looking to build an Air-A-Cutie I suggest saving the HM-8 Hasegawa-Monogram kit for its collector value and getting the newer Hasegawa P-39 kit and some aftermarket decal to build your P-39.

Andy Garcia

May 2009

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