Revell 1/72 Air Racers






Two Aircraft


Scott Van Aken


1976 issue



Air racing is as old as the aircraft with the sport reaching its 'Golden Age' in the 1930's. In those days, these sleek aircraft were the cutting edge of aviation design and development. Often the air racer of the 30's was superior in speed to anything that had been developed for the military. Of course, these planes were designed for one thing and one thing only: Speed. Everything else was secondary, including the soundness of the design as many of these planes were unsafe or required incredible skill.

After WWII, this all changed. With a plethora of cheap ex-military airframes available, there was no need to build custom airframes for racing as the older military planes were often more than fast enough. A bit of weight shaving, perhaps some trimming of flying surfaces to improve speed and souping up the military engine were all that was needed to produce a winning aircraft. This was the norm for several decades until the mid-1970s when the desire for even more speed led to more radically altered airframes, most with huge engines that were never designed for the aircraft. Today, warbirds are still the basis for most Unlimited racers, but special build airframes are becoming more and more prevalent as the need for speed continues unabated.



This kit was released in the mid 1970s and provides two basically stock military aircraft. Two of the more popular Revell 1/72 kits; the Mustang and Airacobra were chosen. These kits are strictly early 1960s technology and design, so would never even be considered by modern builders. The Mustang in particular is rather horrible with many shape problems. The P-39 is much more acceptable in terms of shape, but is still very basic.

These kits have no boxed in wheel wells, only the most rudimentary cockpit and are otherwise suitable only for the bare beginner or for the collector. What is the draw for this kit is the fact that it is for racers. There are large cardboard sections in with the kit that, along with the box will make a diorama. One of the sections is to be glued onto the box top while the other is glued along the aft section. Two plastic hold-downs (excuse me, 'Action Display Stands') are then punched through the box top on one end while the other end grabs the plane in a dramatic pose.

To facilitate things, the planes are molded in rather garish colors that would do older Matchbox kits proud. Both aircraft represent famous pylon racers; one of them Clay Lacy's 1970 Reno winning 'Omni' Mustang and the other the 1946 Thompson Trophy winning 'Cobra II' P-39. Despite being over 25 years old, the decal sheet is in remarkably good shape, providing all the needed markings for both planes.

This particular kit was the third in a series that included a WWI pair with hangar and a P-51/Stearman 'Barnstorming' set.



Truly this is more of a set for the collector as there are MUCH better examples of the Airacobra and Mustang available in the shops today.

Review kit courtesy of my kit collection.

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