Rareplanes 1/72 P-43 Lancer

Kit Number: ??

Price: $6.00

Media: Vacuformed plastic

Decals : None

Date of Review: 15 May, 1996

Comments: The Republic P-43 was an interim aircraft between the XP-41 and the P-47 Thunderbolt.  It had many of the attributes of the P-35 and the P-47.  It basically looked like a smaller P-47, but with the wings and tail of the P-35. The P-43 did have a turbocharged engine similar to the P-47 and was built in small numbers.  Most of the aircraft were supplied to China or used as fighter trainers in the US.  If you have ever seen the movie "God is my Copilot", then you have seen a P-43.

The Rareplanes kit is everything you could expect from this notable manufacturer.  There are no decals, brass or injected plastic parts, but everything is provided on the two pieces of card within the kit.  This one comes in a bag surrounded by the instruction sheet.  The sheet provides a good parts breakdown as well as a couple of paint schemes for the aircraft.  As with all vacuforms, the most daunting part of the kit is removing the pieces from the backing sheet.  I trace around all the parts with a soft pencil, then scribe around them with a new #11 blade in my knife.  I cut at a 45 degree angle to lessen the amount that needs to me sanded off at a later date.  Then the parts are (hopefully) cleanly snapped off the sheet.  One lesson I have learned is to leave some plastic around the more delicate parts such as the tail wheel assembly.  This prevents them from being broken off later.  Of course, if you have a spare tail wheel in your pats bin, you don't need to worry about this.

Once the parts are removed and sanded down (test fit often during sanding to prevent removing too much;  a common problem with vacs), the cockpit floor and bulkheads are glued to ether and inserted in one fuselage half.  Those parts requiring chromate paint are then painted.  You are given a relatively decent engine, but the fanatics will wish to replace it with a resin or white metal one from various sources.  I used the one in the kit.  I also scratch built some landing gear with Contrail tubing and scrap brass, although I did use the kit wheels.  I also used the prop from Heller's P-36 (the only good part of the kit) as well as a DF antenna and tail wheel from the spares box.  The kit was painted OD and grey with 1941 insignia and codes scrounged from spares.  Unfortunately the codes are in black and a bit difficult to see, but that is the way it was.  The kit is not that difficult to build and I would recommend it for a third or fourth vacuform.

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