Dora Wings Bell P-63A/C King Cobra

What's in the box and is it any good?

Dora Wings Bell P-63A/C King Cobra

Postby ajmm » Sat Sep 22, 2018 21:05

This arrived.

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Background
I'll be brief and won't try to rival the Wikipedia entry. I love the King Cobra. Bell's King Cobra is to the P-39 Aircobra (which it superficially resembles) what Hawker's Sea Fury is to the Typhoon - a design nearly perfected, fettled and uprated to its limits. Of course, it wasn't perfect and could be unpredictable at slow speeds. I won't delve into the history in any depth, but suffice to say the US were so soured by their experience with the P-39/P-400 that they palmed these all off onto the Russians and later the French, the only two air forces with which this aircraft saw combat (the latter in Indochina). The USAAF operated a few in reserve roles, and then passed the remainder to the civilian market (where they had a renaissance as racers) or to Honduras. Oddly.

The P-63 A and C can chiefly be distinguished by the ventral fin (that was put on the C to assist spin recovery I think).

The Plastic
There is a nice review of this kit here on Britmodeller. I won't go over the same ground but thought that (as a regular 144ist) I might highlight a few unusual or noteworthy bits that would interest regulars in this scale.

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Immediately obvious is how crisp and detailed the kit is for 144. Very impressive and to the same standards as Eduard or perhaps Platz Bego. Very impressive. The surface of the plastic is very slightly grainy (so may need some prep for a "perfect" natural metal finish but will otherwise help paint stick. Some examples of the quality of the detail...

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You get some rather nice cockpit wall detailing (above) including a map pocket and a very respectable office interior (below). Would be nice to pose one of the side doors open (notice the instructions tantalisingly suggest this is possible in steps 5-6 below). Not much space for lead weight to keep it on its toes.

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You also get some undercarriage bay detail, often overlooked.

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One thing to note is that you will not be able to build two P-63 C's or P-63 A's out of the box. You are provided with one C and one A fuselage (though a conversion wouldn't be hard - just add that fin)…

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The build itself doesn't have any major surprises, but the instructions are quite confusing (I thought). Note that the different A/C fuselage parts have the same callouts. Note you get two choices of drop tank and also the wing hard points so you could put bombs on this if you wish.

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The canopy is superb. Very thin, finely moulded with nice and subtle raised detail. You also get masks as standard!

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Decals and paint schemes

Impressive. This comes with no less than 9 options!

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Decals are in perfect register (the acid test is the yellow surround to the French cockade). You also get a surplus number of Aeroproducts logos. These are actually really useful for other builds as there are currently no off the shelf decals for this. Niche, but you'll thank me if I that saves you an hour in the spares drawer!

A few points about specific schemes that you may wish to be aware of:

- The yellow RP-63A was a live target that lit up when hit by a student's gunfire (hence Pinball!). Consequently it had extra armour installed and vulnerable areas covered over. Most obviously it has a modified air intake on the spine. This is shown in the painting instructions but no provision is made for this in the kit. It won't be quite as simple as grinding the existing intake off as (looking at the inside of the fuselages) there will be a largish gap as it is not solid plastic to the required level. You would also have to scratch build alternative ducts facing rearwards. There is also no aerial mast provided.

- The racers have clipped wings. The instructions show you roughly where to clip the wings but check your references as these were faired off in different ways - compare the blue and silver ones with the white one in the painting instructions.

Conclusion
Nice. Really very nice. Keep in mind that references will be handy throughout, especially if you are doing a racer. Also go at it knowing the instructions are a bit ambiguous. But these should build up beautifully. I think the test will be whether the fuselage seals up nicely with that lovely cockpit/wheel assembly installed.

What a great debut to this scale for Dora Wings. I read that they are looking to produce three scales of model (1/72; 1/48; 1/144) for every 3D CAD they do so hopefully we can expect much more from them in this scale in future.

I have a P-39 entering the home straight. Perhaps it needs a King Cobra to keep it company...
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ajmm
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Re: Dora Wings Bell P-63A/C King Cobra

Postby smeg1959 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:09

Thanks for the comprehensive review, Angus. This boxing is so much nicer than the admittedly 43-year-old ARII kit. Good selection of schemes, too. Added to the wish list ...
OTB ...
GB13 - Late 298 (Aeronavale), Bf109E-3a Strela (Bulgarian AF), ČKD LT vz.38 Praga (Slovakian Army)
Shelf of Shame - F-100D-20-NA (Don Schmenk, USAF), Me262A-1a/U4 (Prototype), Ju87B-2 (Hungarian AF)
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