Special Hobby 1/32 P39D Airacobra Fighter Kit
Item #: SPH32002
Sale Price: $55.20
Shipping: This item normally ships within 2-3 business days.
Bell designed an advanced fighter aircraft in 1938 that featured a 37mm cannon firing through the propeller spinner and different configurations of machine guns depending on the version. The engine was mounted behind the pilot, with the propeller shaft running under the pilot's seat and between his legs. The aircraft incorporated one of the first nose gear arrangements on an operational fighter.
The aircraft was initially destined for France, but after that country surrendered to Germany, deliveries were instead routed to the RAF. In operations, the RAF didn't care for the aircraft. It lacked performance above 12,000 feet and the Allison engine was not supercharged (a result of some pre-war politics in the US defense industry).
The Soviet Air Force employed the aircraft extensively as it was found to be a worthy fighter in both the air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. More information has started flowing out of the former Soviet Union's archives about the men and missions employing the Airacobra. Prior to the 'fall of the wall', historical publications tended to focus on the exploits of those patriotic crews that flew Soviet-built hardware, downplaying the contributions of lend-lease on the outcome of the Great Patriotic War by their then-current cold-war adversaries. In all, the Soviets receiving over half of the total Bell P-39 production run, which led into the P-63 Kingcobra, but that is another story.
Ultimately, the USAAF finally had good success with the P-39 when experienced pilots employed the P-39, like the F4F Wildcat, to draw on its tactical strengths and against the enemy's weaknesses. Tactics over performance.