A few years ago, I did a dual Airacobra build, comparing the Eduard kit with the Monogram kit. So my approach in this build review will be as if this was Part III of that comparison.
In my opinion, the cockpit of the Hasegawa kit is the most detailed of the three. While the Eduard kit is certainly no slouch (nor is the Monogram kit), the Hasegawa kit just adds a few very small details that I think make it stand out a bit. Additionally, the cockpit/nosewheel assembly is much simpler than the Eduard kit. While Eduard’s parts are not difficult, it does require careful alignment. Hasegawa accomplishes the same thing in fewer parts. And the Hasegawa kit includes the seat frame. Though a small detail, it is a distinguishing factor. On this build, I used an Ultracast seat, which definitely livens up the interior. I also think the instrument panel on the Hasegawa kit it better. While Eduard does provide a photoetched part in many of their boxings, I’ve always thought the look of a well cast and nicely drybrushed instrument panel fit in better with the rest of the look. In this regard, Hasegawa is much better. (In fact, I think the Monogram IP is nicer than Eduard’s too.)
Assembly of the fuselage is not a problem, as the interior slots nicely in and closes up without anything more than a seam to clean up. One note- the vertical stabilizer is a bit slab-like (to use Brett Green’s term). I didn’t notice this until paint was on…. I should have sanded it to a nicer profile on the leading edge to hide it a bit.
The wings of the Haseagawa kit are a bit better overall than the other two kits. The main areas are in the thickness of the wing, and in the wheel well detail. Hasegawa simply has a bit more detail in the wheel wells, and it’s a noticeable difference. Additionally, the wings of the Eduard kit seem a bit too blunt and thick when viewed head on, almost like a Hawker Hurricane. The Hasegawa kit is much more rounded and thin, and to my eye compares better with photos.
Fit of the wing to the fuselage is excellent overall, although I did have to do a small bit of filling and sanding at the forward join on the underside. In that area, the Eduard kit is a bit better.
The canopy fit is good, though it’s no better or worse than the other two. None of the kits do a really good job of being able to close the doors if you choose to do so. I did manage to get the left door on the Hasegawa kit closed, though it required some sanding and fiddling, and in the end it still left a pretty significant gap. For the most part, you have to build these doors open. (The Monogram kit has the left door molded in place, which I actually prefer.)
Once assembled, the painting was pretty simple. Tamiya paints were used, and then some oil streaking, airbrush fading and shading, and an oil wash of the panel lines was applied. Silver chipping was done with a Prismacolor silver pencil.
The biggest letdown in the Hasegawa kit were the decals. They were a bit too thick, in my opinion, and the white was just awful- more like an ivory color. In fact, I generally never rely on kit decals for anything from Hasegawa, because every kit I’ve built has been this way.
The irony on this build was that I used Eduard decals.
In the end, it builds into a very nice Airacobra model. It has a few warts here and there, but nothing of any difficulty. I was very happy with how it turned out, and would certainly recommend this kit to anyone.
Now- to draw the inevitable conclusions-
Bottomline, go with Eduard. Generally. 🙂 Here’s why.
While the Eduard cockpit is a little less detailed than the Hasegawa kit, the difference is slight. And if you’re in to photoetch, and purchase a kit that has those parts, it’s actually better detailed when using those parts.
In the area of ease of build, the Hasegawa kit is slightly ahead, I believe, but only by the barest of margins. It essentailly comes down to the alignment pins, which are almost non-existent on the Eduard kit.
Both kits have multiple part options that essentially allow any P-39 from the D through Q model to be built. (While the Monogram does have parts for different variants, it missed some critical details entirely, and is rather generic in its versioning, so I won’t address it in detail.) However, Eduard gets the nod here, as they have a few more options, including not only the 12 stack exhausts, but straight and fishtailed 6 stack exhausts. They also have more nosewheels, including the early, mid and late versions. Eduard also includes more prop types, as the P-39 used various props, and even 3 and 4 bladed models. While you can certainly build many options from the Hasegawa parts, Eduard went a few extra steps further to give a greater variety of options to make your model correct, if that is something you look for.
The Eduard models also just has a bit more finesse to the smaller parts. They just seem a bit more refined. For instance- compare the nose gun vents on the two kits. Eduard’s are much more petite and to scale.
Of course, Eduard’s decals are head and shoulders above Hasegawa’s, and except for the Weekend Edition boxings, they provide quite a few options. (The Dual Combo boxings usually have eight!)
Finally, Eduard’s pricing is generally better. While you can always find the odd bargain here and there, in general, a Hasegawa it will cost more than an Eduard kit. In fact, I’ve seen some of Eduard’s Dual Combo kits priced about the same as a single Hasegawa kit.
So based on all of that, I’d say if you’re planning to buy one P-39 kit, go with Eduard’s offering. If you plan to build multiples, then maybe try the Hasegawa and/or the Monogram kit. You really can’t go wrong with any of them.