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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Special Hobby P-59 Airacomet

Winter is always the most productive time for me in terms of completed models. We don’t get very much snow each year in Seattle, but we do have to deal with resolutely grey skies that can go on for literally weeks at a time. It is one of life’s small pleasures to be able to sit down at the workbench and plug away at some models when the weather is wretched. We didn’t get any of the huge winter storm that is currently burying most of the country; in fact it was rather sunny here today. But I know that Dallas at least was in trouble – Squadron Mail Order, the “hobby shop that never closes” – was actually closed today. The NFL folks must be pounding their heads against the goal posts, with all the people who will be coming to Dallas over the next couple of days.

So here is another recently completed model: the Bell P-59 Airacomet from Special Hobby. Make no mistake, this is a short run kit, but the detailing is good and the canopy is injected, even if the engineering on the lower fuselage / engine compartment seems overly complex. Like any SH kit, there is some filler in there, but it is certainly buildable. I had the most trouble with the canopy; it was a bit too narrow for the fuselage. It became more noticeable, unfortunately, after painting was complete. In trying to spread the canopy out a bit during construction, there was an audible crack, but the crack itself must lie under the painted bits, because it is not obvious on the finished model. Dodged a bullet there. I am a great fan of the Czech modelling industry; for the 1:72 modeller, they are responsible for doing so many of the kits that fill the holes in a collection of aviation history. I am willing to put up with the fact that their kits may not  be state of the engineering art since they are doing types that don’t make sense to the larger manufacturers. Though I have to say that it is a mystery to me why no one like Airfix or Hasegawa had ever done a P-59 – the first American jet fighter.

This is completed model #338, finished in January of 2011.

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