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.
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.