WOW194 P-39 ‘Air a Cutie’
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WOW194 The Bell P-39 Airacobra was one of the principal American fighter aircraft in service when the USA entered WW2. The P-39 was used by the Soviet Air Force and was responsible for the highest number of individual kills by an American aircraft on the Eastern Front. Designed by Bell Aircraft, it had an innovative layout, with the engine installed in the center fuselage, behind the pilot, and driving a tractor propeller via a long shaft. It was also the first fighter fitted with a tricycle undercarriage. Although its mid-engine placement was innovative, the P-39 design was handicapped by the absence of an efficient turbo-supercharger, preventing it from performing high-altitude work. As such it was rejected by the RAF for use over western Europe but adopted by the USSR where most air combat took place at medium and lower altitudes. The rear-mounted engine made the aircraft ideal for ground-attack since fire would be coming from the front-bottom quarter and was less likely to hit the engine and its cooling systems. The arrangement proved to be very vulnerable to attacks from above and behind and nearly any hit on the fuselage from an attacking enemy fighter was virtually guaranteed to disable the cooling system and lead to the prompt demise of the engine and thus the aircraft. Flying at its upper altitude limits, the Airacobra was extremely vulnerable to any enemy fighter with decent high altitude performance. Because the pilot was above the extension shaft, he was placed higher in the fuselage than in most contemporary fighters, which in turn gave the pilot a good field of view. Access to the cockpit was via sideways opening “car doors”, one on either side. Both had wind-down windows! As only the right-hand door had a handle both inside and outside this was used as the normal means of access and exit. The left-hand door could be opened only from the outside and was for emergency use, although both doors could be jettisoned. In operational use as the roof was fixed, the cockpit design made escape difficult in an emergency. The complete armament fit consisted of the T9 cannon with a pair of Browning M2 .50 caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns mounted in the nose. This changed to two .50 in (12.7 mm) and two .30 in (7.62 mm) guns in the XP-39B (P-39C, Model 13, the first 20 delivered) and two 0.50 in/12.7 mm and four 0.30 in/7.62 mm (all four in the wings) in the P-39D (Model 15), which also introduced self-sealing tanks and shackles (and piping) for a 500 lb (227 kg) bomb or drop tank. Because of the unconventional layout, there was no space in the fuselage to place a fuel tank. Although drop tanks were implemented to extend its range, the standard fuel load was carried in the wings, with the result that the P-39 was limited to short-range tactical strikes. Our 1/30 scale hand carved Mahogany aircraft is most of the most famous visually striking Airacobra’s ‘Air-A-Cutie’ and was assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 36th Fighter Squadron. This aircraft operated in New Guinea and other locations in the Far East. Model also includes USA012 aircraft mechanic pictured and is limited to a total number of 10 models worldwide.
The $ price includes an addition for worldwide postage and therefore no extra charges will apply at checkout.