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Readers’ Gallery: Wayne Dippold’s Hasegawa 1/48 P-400


Forum member Wayne Dippold (Eagle334) shared this “speed build” of his Hasegawa Airacobra. Despite the blinding rapidity of his build- 1,268 days…., Wayne did an awesome job. 🙂

Well, I can finally say this kit is finished. It has been a labor that has had it’s highs and lows. This is the Hasegawa 1/48th P-400 issue of their P-39 kit. For those unfamiliar with the designation P-400, these aircraft were originally destined to go to Britain as the Airacobra I. With the entry into the war of the United States and being woefully unprepared, the U.S. decided to keep the Airacobras. The British were ecstatic to let them do it, as they had refused to accept them. Apparently the fact that the aircraft flew 100mph slower than advertised and had no high altitude capability stuck in their craw. The U.S. Army rushed these planes to the south Pacific, many with their British camo and ID numbers still on them. While essentially a P-39D, they were given the P-400 designation to differentiate the different armament. They flew in mixed squadrons with the P-39D’s until later marks became available.

The kit goes together fairly well. In the cockpit I used a combination of kit parts, eduard pre painted photo etch, and an old KMC resin seat. All parts were painted Model Master French Khaki which I consider a close approximate to Bell green, given an overall burnt umber wash and then dry brushed with various colors. Assembly was straightforward except for a couple of problem areas. First is the piece that has the radiator cooling ducts in the front of the wing. This piece has a horrible mold line on the inside of the ducts which must be removed and is hard to get at. This piece also is meant to fit to the front of the wing and make the back of the nose gear bay. It took a lot of sanding and filling to get it looking right. The bigger problem is that the canopy is significantly more narrow than the fuselage. I was able to fix this on the rear part of the canopy with very careful sanding of the clear piece, gluing one side then spreading the canopy a bit and gluing the other side. The front just took a lot of filler and sanding. Don’t even think about building it with the doors closed. That about covers that.

Overall I am glad I did this kit, I really think it’s a toss up between this and the Eduard kit. Both have their problems but can be overcome with a bit of patience and ingenuity. A big thank you to Mike Grant who saved the day when the Hawkeye II decals I had were unusable. Comments and questions are welcome.