Hobbycraft 1/48 Bell P-59A
reviewed by Bernie Kugel
edited by Mike Horchler
The United States Military Leadership was informed of the development of a British Jet Engine in June 1941. On September 5th, Bell Aircraft was chosen to design America's first jet fighter, the Bell P-59 Airacomet. Over the next few months, the British sent a Whittle engine, complete Engineering drawings and a team from Power Jets LTD. to the US in order to speed up development of this jet. This allowed Bell to fly the first prototype in just one year. The Whittle engine was enhanced and redesignated as the 1-A with 500kg of thrust, as built by General Electric. The engines were mounted near the wing roots for easy maintenance access. Two engines were required to generate sufficient thrust to get a large enough aircraft airborne. Development work progressed nearly flawlessly, so that by 1944 Bell was able to supply 12 YP-59A prototypes to the Air Corps for further testing purposes. Despite the success of the programe, it was determined that the P59 was unsuitable for frontline combat duties, and it was designated as a Jet Trainer. A total of 66 planes were built, including three XF2L-1's for the Navy.
After years of waiting for an injection molded 1/48th scale P-59 Airacomet, it has finally come into our hands with a price tag under $100. Hobbycraft has promised us this kit for the past two years and in March 2003, it has finally been delivered. The kit is comprised of 63 parts (53 light grey, 7 clear, and 3 rubber tires). It has recessed panel lines, and except for the rudder, all flaps are separate. There is not much detail in the cockpit, however, seeing the real thing at Chino, there really wasn't much in the real thing.
Decal options are included for two natural metal aircraft and one blue and yellow Navy aircraft.
Instructions are the usual Hobbycraft. Simplistic and they leave you guessing where many of the parts are attached. With the bad drawings you may need to use references to accurately place many of the parts.
I plan on building this kit, so look for a build up article soon.
Thanks to Roll Models for this kit and
letting me give this review.
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