Karo-As 1/72 P-59 'Airacomet'
Scott Van Aken
Short run with vac canopy
The Bell P-59 Airacomet was the first
American jet fighter aircraft, designed and built by Bell Aircraft during World
War II. The United States Army Air Force was not impressed by its performance
and cancelled the contract when fewer than half of the aircraft ordered had been
produced. Although no P-59s went into combat, it paved the way for another
design generation of U.S. turbojet-powered aircraft and was the first turbojet
fighter to have its turbojet engine and air inlet nacelles integrated within the
main fuselage. In total, fewer than 65 were eventually produced.
is very much an old school short run kit. I'd call it second or third
generation as none of the sprues are circular and while there is flash, it
is pretty light. In addition, it does not rely on resin or photo etch parts
for detail. The kit also has nicely engraved detailing which is rather
shallow and will soon disappear under any sanding that will have to be done.
The white plastic is a tad brittle and all of the major parts have ejector
towers on the inside that will need to be removed.
There is no inner fuselage detailing and the cockpit consists of a flat
floor, a seat, control stick and instrument panel. There is detailing on the
instrument panel that is raised. There is an anti-glare panel for the
instrument panel and there are two pieces that fit behind the seat that
includes a raised box which is supposed to be the radio.
The wings are two pieces per side with no boxed in wheel well. The nose gear
well is also open. The lower fuselage section goes across the fuselage and
has small wing stubs that fit atop it on either side. These stubs form the
wing root and the rest of the wing attaches to it. Tailplanes are a butt fit
as well. There are small blanking plates for the exhaust, but none for the
intake. Intake lips are a separate piece. I can imagine that getting the
engine assembly properly in place will require a bit of fiddling.
Fortunately, there is lots of room for nose weight as I'm guessing this will
require it. Main gear doors are a single piece and will need to be cut
according to the plan provided in the instructions. There are demarcation
lines on each door piece as it will require being separated into three
pieces. Main wheels
are two halves with the nose wheel being a single mold. This is all topped
by a nicely molded vacuform canopy, which in my kit has yellowed over time.
Instructions are basically an exploded view, which on a low detail kit like
this is adequate. A parts layout and four view plans are also provided.
Decals are for two planes. One is listed as a YP-59 in OD over Neutral grey
with just red surround insignia. This kit is clearly not a YP-59, but a
P-59B. The other is for one of the many production P-59Bs used as trainers.
It is in post war markings with buzz numbers and is in unpainted metal. The
decals are nicely printed, but have yellowed so replacements will be
required. Fortunately, all the markings are basic so finding replacements
should not be difficult.
Aside from resin kits, the only other injected 1/72
P-59s that I can recall are those done by Special Hobby many years back. That
one is undoubtedly a more detailed kit, but if you just want something to build,
this one will do as well and probably at a lower price.
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