Bell P-39 Airacobra

Published: December 6th, 2011     
Product Image
Author: Robert Peczkowski & Artur Juszczak
Reviewed by: Floyd S. Werner Jr. - IPMS# 26266
Company: MMP Books
ISBN #: 978-83-61421-28-3
Other Publication Information: Softcover. 160 pages, 112 in color, 4-view drawings in 1/32, 1/48, 1/72, 1/144, historical photos, 25 pages of full-color profiles
Price: $22.00
Product / Stock #: Yellow Series 6129
Product provided by: Casemate Publishing

Spoiler alert - if you don't want to know what I think, go to the next paragraph. This is THE only book you will need to own for reference on the P-39 Airacobra. Printed on high quality gloss paper, this paperback book is printed on A5 size with 160 pages chock full of information. Modelers will love the information included in this book.

The very first thing you will notice upon opening the book is four view drawings of the P-39F and Q in 1/48th scale and the P-39Q in 1/32nd scale. If you build 1/72nd scale, fear not - there are plenty of 72nd scale drawings throughout the book. OK, 1/144th scale guys, there are drawing in the book for you as well.

The development of the aircraft is followed from prototype to the P-39Q. The P-63 variant is not covered in this book. I suspect we'll see that one in a separate book. Each version is illustrated in detail, with emphasis on the armament and differences. The photos are quite clear and large enough to use. What is nice is that the differences between British and Soviet Aircrobras are discussed. Two aircraft that got my attention were the two-seat trainer aircraft. Talk about ugly. The P-39 is not a particularly attractive airplane, but when you add the other cockpit in front of the standard one, it turns really ugly really fast.

The Soviet aircraft are given a special chapter. There is a list of Soviet Aces.

The technical description chapter will appeal to the mechanically minded modeler. Drawings from the actual manual are included for authenticity.

The rest of the book is in full color. I found the Soviet aircraft in the Finnish Museum to be the most interesting because it isn't a restored example. It is still in its wartime finish, unrestored. Every aspect of the aircraft is covered. The Soviet original aircraft plus aircraft undergoing restoration will be a tremendous help for the modeler, especially the super-detailer. Supplemented with drawings from the maintenance and pilot manual, you can't go wrong here. Everything is here: fuselage, wings, tail, landing gear, and armament. This chapter alone makes this book worth obtaining.

25 pages of full color profiles are included at the end of the book to motivate the modeler even more. The Airacobra carried some unique schemes. Included are pre-war, Southwest Pacific, Africa, British, Soviet, Australian, Italian, Polish, Portugese, and Free French markings.

If you only want to have one book on the P-39 then this is THE book. Literally everything a modeler could want to model a P-39 is included - drawings, historical black and white photos, and color photos of the actual aircraft. You couldn't ask for more in a reference book. I loved it.

Highly recommended.

Thanks to Casemate and IPMS/USA for the review copy.

  • Line drawing
    Line drawing
  • Museum photos
    Museum photos
  • Profile

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