Some general information about the P-39
The Bell P-39 Airacobra was one of the principal American fighter aircraft in service at the start of World War II. Although its mid-engine placement was innovative, the P-39 design was handicapped by the lack of an efficient turbo-supercharger, limiting it to low-altitude work. The P-39 was used with great success by the Soviet Air Force, who scored the highest number of individual kills attributed to any U.S. fighter type. Other important users were the Free French and co-belligerent Italian air forces. Together with the derivative P-63 Kingcobra, these aircraft would be the most successful mass-produced, fixed-wing aircraft manufactured by Bell.
P-39 in RAAF service
In early 1942, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), experiencing Japanese air raids on towns in northern Australia, found itself unable to obtain British-designed interceptors or sufficient numbers of P-40s. US Fifth Air Force squadrons in Australia were already receiving the brand new P-39D-1. Consequently, in July 1942, older USAAF P-39s, which had been repaired at Australian workshops, were adopted by the RAAF as a stop-gap interceptor.
Seven P-39Ds were sent to No. 23 Squadron RAAF at Lowood, Queensland. Later, seven P-39Fs were operated by No. 24 Squadron RAAF at Townsville. In the absence of adequate supplies of P-39s, both squadrons also operated Wirraway armed trainers. However, neither squadron received a full complement of Airacobras, or saw combat with them. The home air defence role was filled first by P-40s, followed by Spitfires. Plans to equip two more squadrons with P-39s were also abandoned. 23 and 24 Squadrons converted to the Vultee Vengeance in 1943.
(Source: Wikipedia It's a really good article.)
The link will guide you to youtube.
Max. speed: 539Km/H
Armament: 1x 20mm Hispano Suiza Mk. I
2x 12.7mm Machine guns
4x 4.4mm Machine guns
(Source: The construction manual)
This picture shows the Airacobra, that I choosed to build. P-39D, A53-9, T-Z, des 23 Sqn RAAF, late 1943. (Quelle: RedRooModels.com )
A picture of the kit I choosed for my project. It's really a nice kit, but it is not very easy. It contains resin-, colored photo-etched parts and the fitting is good. But you still need a lot of time for sanding. I used this LSP-Thread from Manu for help (a really impressive Model )
The front wheel well
I began with the front wheel well. I improved the wheel well with some photo-etched parts from Eduard and from the kit. I tried a for me new method (I don't know the english name, but you apply salt to cover some parts of the paint.). Nevertheless I will demonstrate the method.
A general Grey base followed a base with Silver X-11. Then followed some Future to protect the paint. After that I applied the salt. The salt is fixed with simple water.
The third color coat is a darker mix of the last color coat "Interior Green". Future, salt, next and last color -->
I used from "Vallejo Air" "Interior Green" for the last color coat. I carefully removed the salt with a brush and water (It's not very clean on the picture. Mea Culpa ). As you can see the salt protected some areas and you can see the colors among the general Green color. I like this method. It is easy and effektv, but very time-consuming, too.
The last steps were a washing, a drybrushing, a few more cables and some oil stains.
The whole wheel well.
As you can see the fitting isn't the best. But nothing, which can not be solved with sandpaper
Pictures of the Cockpit will follow later this day. And I hope that my english isn't to bad
Greetings from Germany!