Sheet #

Aeromaster 48-089 for Soviet P-39N




See review

Review By:

Scott Van Aken


'Stalin's Cobras Part 1'


An aircraft that was not the best thought of in the early days of the war was Bell's P-39 Airacobra. Designed as a short range, high altitude interceptor, the removal of the turbocharged engine pretty well doomed any high altitude performance. The plane was a complete slug at altitudes above 16,000 feet. Where it did operate very well was at low altitudes. US pilots in the Southwest Pacific were able to use that low altitude performance to their benefit and racked up a number of kills against the Japanese. What was also a plus was the 37mm cannon in the nose of some of them.

Since the USAAC/F didn't really want the P-39, thousands of them were shipped off to the Soviet Union as part of Lend-Lease. The Russian pilots soon took to the aircraft and were able to exploit its low altitude performance and heavy firepower much to their benefit. A large number of Luftwaffe aircraft fell to the guns of P-39 pilots; many of these pilots racking up very impressive scores flying the Airacobra. To add to it, the 37mm cannon was rather potent against ground targets, with many a German vehicle coming to its demise as a result.

This is an early Aeromaster sheet. That means no color profiles and a reasonable price. I don't know if you have noticed, but a lot of new decal sheets are creeping very near the $10 range with some actually going over that mark.

Anyway, on this sheet are a number of P-39Ns as flown by Soviet pilots. All are aces aircraft and all are basically OD over neutral grey. There are enough national insignia and wing walks to do all four aircraft on the sheet. As an aside, the Russian P-39Ns were all delivered without the underwing guns as the Russians didn't like the additional weight of the guns pods.

Another thing is that often the aircraft were delivered with US insignia. It is unknown if the blue background was repainted out in either OD or Russian topside green. Aeromaster gives masks in case you wish to paint the background in the green color.

First on the sheet is Maj. Sultan Amet-Khan from the 9th Guards IAP. This one has no stars on the upper wing (standard Soviet practice) with a large snake on the side of the fuselage.

Next is ND. Gulyayev's P-39 from the 129th Guards IAP. This one carries a number of victory markings on the door.

AI Pokryshkin's  P-39N is next. This is one that may have the insignia background in green. It is also liberally sprinkled with kill markings. Strangely, the Soviets used stars to denote a kill, where all other Allied nations uses german markings of some sort.

Finally, another 9th Guards IAP Airacobra, this time flown by KV Sukhov. It has several areas on the uppersurface overpainted in dark green. This aircraft has unaltered Soviet insignia as misapplied by the Bell factory with a white background.

Though an old sheet, this one will go well with either the new Eduard P-39 kit or the older and still good Monogram version.

Review copy courtesy of me and my wallet! 

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