Dora Wings 1/48 P-43 Lancer

KIT #: 48029
PRICE: $50.00 or so
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2020 release


The Republic P-43 Lancer was a single-engine, all-metal, low-wing monoplane fighter aircraft built by Republic, first delivered to the United States Army Air Corps in 1940. A proposed development was the P-44 Rocket. While not a particularly outstanding fighter, the P-43A had a very good high-altitude performance coupled with an effective oxygen system. Fast and well-armed with excellent long-range capabilities, until the arrival of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, the Lancer was the only American fighter capable of catching a Japanese Mitsubishi Ki-46 "Dinah" reconnaissance plane at the speeds and heights at which they flew. In addition, the P-43 flew many long-range, high-altitude photo recon missions until replaced by F-4/F-5 Lightnings (P-38 variants) in both the USAAF and RAAF.

272 were built with about half going to the Chinese Air Force for use in combat. Their lack of self sealing fuel tanks made them easier to shoot down than the P-40. Some were used as photo recon aircraft thanks to its high speed and high altitude performance. In the US, the aircraft were basically used as advanced trainers.


 Prior to this the only other P-43 in this scale was the short run Classic Airframes kit. This one is also a short run kit, but short run has come quite a ways since the C.A. kits of 20 years ago. The kit is nicely molded with petite engraved panel lines. These will disappear under any sanding so one needs to take care in construction. Each of the major parts has a zillion sprue attachment points to deal with. These attach to the mating surfaces so if you are like me, you'll over-sand them after cutting them free and have to use filler on the ensuing gaps.

The kit includes the somewhat mandatory photo etch fret that includes the seat harness, cowl flaps, main instrument panel, a bunch of little levers and an under-fuselage vent. One starts building up the cockpit, which has separate sidewalls. There is a decal to fit on the panel to which the p.e. instrument panel attaches. You next build up the firewall and engine mount, which consists of some 9 parts and will be pretty much invisible once the kit is done. However, you need it to mount the engine.

You are then to build the turbocharger ducting and the main landing gear before moving on to the engine and the exhaust. The engine has small tubes that go from the two valves on each of the 14 cylinders that you must attach as they will be visible from the front. Then the rest of the cowling is attached along with the pushrods for the forward cylinders and the gear hub. The prop is build up and the cockpit/firewall/engine mount assembly is trapped between the fuselage halves.

The lower wing gets a separate wheel well before attaching the upper wings. This is then attached to the fuselage along with the inserts for the aft canopy section. Ailerons are separate and attached at this time. Then the tailplanes are glued in along with the separate elevators and rudder. The two piece windscreen/canopy are then mounted. The rest of the assembly takes care of attaching the turbocharger and ducting along with the landing gear and doors.

The color instruction booklet is well done and provides a variety of paint options. There are four markings options. One is the box art plane in unpainted metal with the 1st Pursuit Group in early 1941. The other three are in olive drab over neutral grey, each with different insignia and minor paint differences. Decals are nicely done and should work just fine. For those wanting the Chinese version, there is another boxing that provides that. A nice touch is the inclusion of canopy masks. I do wish more model companies did this as aftermarket masks can be difficult to track down after a year of two.


For those who are used to short run kits, this is a nice looking one. Those who have built it, and are comfortable with the genre report that it holds no surprises. This isn't for beginners but those who consider themselves experienced modelers, should run into few difficulties. This wasn't a successful plane, but it was an important stepping stone to the P-47, which was successful.


January 2021

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