RS Models 1/72 XFL-1 Airabonita

KIT #: 92074
PRICE: $21.00
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Peter Burstow
NOTES: Short run kit

HISTORY

Scott wrote a nice history in his preview. Not much for me to add except that it was based on the first XP-39, and has a smaller tail, shorter fuselage and longer wing than a production P-39. So not just a hooked Airacobra.

THE KIT

 Coming in an end opening box, there are 35 parts moulded in soft grey plastic, with fine engraved detail. There is a lot of detail on the parts including moulded seat belts. Why can't the major manufacturers do this? There are a number of large ejector towers that will need removed, these and the absence of locator pins are the only clue that this is a short run low pressure moulding. There is a little flash, and some mould joint lines visible on the smaller parts. There are no resin or PE parts provided.

 The two clear parts are very clear with well defined framing lines on the canopy. Decals are provided for the one example built, in silver dope with yellow wings, the stars having separate red centre dots. The instructions are photographic style, with five steps, but parts location is vague. A full colour three-view is on the back of the box, showing suggested painting and decalling.

CONSTRUCTION

Started with the cockpit, 11 parts made it highly detailed, some parts were small, including the separate rudder pedals. It all went together easily. I painted the cockpit with the suggested zinc chromate, and then painted the belts, instrument panel and other moulded details.

 The exhausts and tail wheel bay needed to be added before the fuselage was closed up. Then added the lower wing half, which I shaved a little around the trailing edge to fuselage joint. I had to remove some ejector towers to get it to fit properly. I then added the upper haves of the wing, managing to break both of the moulded pitot tubes in the process of removing the wing parts from the sprue. I had to remove a couple more ejector towers to get them to fit. I then added the tailplane halves. They had tabs, but there was only the indication of a slot in the fuselage so I cut the tabs off and butt joined them.

 Cleaned up the joints, needed a little filler here and there, mainly around the wing to fuselage under-surface joints.

COLORS & MARKINGS

I decided on a Royal Navy version, grey, with grey and grey. The boxing of the kit previewed including RN markings, as well as USN. My boxing being the prototype. Used various roundels and fin flash decals from a Hasegawa generic sheet. I used Ventura 24 black letters for the code, for some reason one of them was very glossy and silvered a bit, the other was fine. Right next to each other on the sheet. Gave the model a coat of very thin Tamiya buff to dull down the markings. An overall spray with Testors Dullcote before proceeding.

 Added the undercarriage and propeller. Made some new pitots and the arrestor hook, which broke as I tried to remove the mould seam, from copper wire. Bit more detail painting and then added the canopy and used Krystal Klear for the lower window.

CONCLUSIONS

 A quick and easy build of a one-off prototype. I didn't measure it so don't know how accurate it is, but it looks alright. Recommended for anybody, a good introduction to limited run kits. Take more care than I did with the small parts.

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_FL_Airabonita

Peter Burstow

July 2013 

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