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Build Report: Hobbycraft’s 1/48 P-59A

I like watching my son build models. He decides what he likes, and how he wants it to look, and just does it however he pleases. Sometimes I think as we grow older we lose a lot of the joy of modeling by getting caught up by words like “correct” and “accurate”.

So when I put this Hobbycraft P-59A to the top of the build pile, I decided I wanted it in markings like it had participated in the D-Day landings. never mind that it never saw action- I wanted it have fun and do some different!

This kit was a wonderful gift from my dear brother, Drew Hatch. Not only did he send me this excellent kit, he also included the Cutting Edge resin cockpit set for it, which was a joy to build in and of itself. Thank you Drew!

The kit cockpit is not bad by my standards, but it is very simple- floor, seat, stick and IP essentially. A good palette for scratch building, certainly. But the Cutting Edge resin cockpit was gorgeous- it’s not overstating it, I believe, to call it stunning. And it fit perfectly- no sawing or hacking or sanding. I just cut away a few projections from the kit sidewalls, dry-fitted the resin inside the taped fuselage halves, and it just fit. Nice- very nice!

I’ve always read about the quest for “Bell Green”, and all the debates about what color it is. I’ve seen a few period color picks, too. I figured my secret, patent-pending method for matching colors would work perfectly. It involves looking at my shelf of paint, and deciding what color is close enough without mixing to use. The honor fell on a bottle of paint I did not even know I had- Pollyscale US Tactical Mid Green. I tapped the lid ceremoniously with my xacto blade, and dubbd it “Sir Bell Green”. I hand painted the cockpit with the newly named paint, and picked out details with various colors and a tiny brush. I finished it off with an oil wash, and it settled nicely in place between the fuselage halves.

The rest of the build was actually very smooth and had no dramatic episodes. The fit was good- not Tamiya, of course…. (what is?), but still very easy and simple. A little filler here and there to mostly smooth out the seams was all that was needed. The only place that needed a little extra attention was where the trailing edge of the wings met the “decking” leading to the jet nozzles. I simply stuffed in a few small pieces of sheet styrene (and I truly mean small), blobbed on some Tamiya Extra Thin cement, and sanded it down. With all the major parts in place, I began to paint.

I decided to go with the tried and true OD over neutral gray. On the undersides I used Model Master Acryl, and on the uppers…. well, I can’t recall. It was either Vallejo, Acryl or Pollyscale. (Sorry…. old age, memory… that old chestnut…. ;)) The fun was painting the invasion stripes. I used black and white, just in case there was a question. 😀 I found somewhere on the web the width of the stripes, and using my handy-dandy scale ruler from my high school drafting days (thanks Mr. Wynn!), I measured out the strips of tape. After all the spraying was over, I was rewarded with what I think are some pretty cool invasion stripes, and only had a few little places to correct.

The decals are a mixed bag.  The US stars are kit decals, as is the nose art. the fuselage lettering is some decal parts I found in my decal drawer- I’m not even sure what they were originally intended for. The tail numbers are from an MPM P-63.

I finished the kit off with some light weathering and a wash of oil paints.

I’d certainly recommend this kit to anyone- it is a very enjoyable build, and it’s even more so in my mind because it’s not something you see everyday. Even without the Cutting Edge cockpit, I’d say pick up this kit if you have the chance. And build it… I waited far too long to do so.