TOKO P-63 Kingcobra

by Dave Marshall


Indochina War -- 10,000Day War -- Vietnam War anniversary Jan 30 2007


Basically a souped-up version of the P-39 Airacobra, the P-63 Kingcobra was too late to see combat in WW2, but found success with French and Russian airforces in the years shortly after.  The first Armee de l'Air P-63s arrived in IndoChina in April of 1949 to help counter Viet Minh insurgency in that region. Initial losses were fairly high, and lack of spares and adequate maintenance kept large numbers of these planes on the ground.  However, Kingcobras from GC1/5 Vendee, II/5 Ile-de-France, II/6 Normandie-Niemen, III/6 Roussilon and I/9 Limousin performed a wide range of ground attack and bombing duties before being re-equipped with Bearcats in 1951.
This is the TOKO (now Eastern Express) version of the P63, which I have had in the stash for quite a while and just had the desire to build one day.  The parts are well molded on two sprues and have a weird mixture of raised and engraved details, most of which was lost trying to get this kit together.  The cockpit is well detailed for this scale, but as with everything else, doesn’t fit very well (especially the instrument panel, which isn’t even close to the right shape to fit in the enclosed fuselage).  The wings are way to thick at the trailing edges and need a lot of sanding to get a reasonable appearance.

Click on images below to see larger images


The clear parts seem to be covered in a waxy substance, but look nice with a little polishing up, although once again fit is pretty poor (especially the rear section) and the frames look overly thick to me. If you are thinking of building this one, I would glue the doors on first, then trim the front to fit, and lastly, tackle the rear section.
On the plus side, the landing gear is nicely detailed (although you do have to cut the gear doors into sections as they are molded as one piece) and the decals are excellent, with markings for three of the Groupe de Chasse mentioned above. You also get two drop tanks and gun pods for under the wings.

Overall, I wouldn’t rate this one too highly after all the work that went into getting a reasonable result, as fit ranged from poor to downright awful, but in the end it does look like a P-63 and I was pleased with myself for finishing it instead of junking it when nothing would fit. From what I have read elsewhere, it is better than the ancient Aoshima offering, has sharper detail than the old MPM release and can be picked up quite cheaply, which pretty much makes it the only game in town if you want a P63 in this scale.



Photos and text © by Dave Marshall