I would be interested to know how the P-39 of Hobbyboss is as a kit.
Okay, you asked for it, so here it is:
Itís not a bad kit, but there is no reason to recommend it over the Academy P-39. The Hobby Boss P-39N and P-39Q kits are identical, with only the decal options being different. I like the following things about the Hobby Boss kit:
- Thin trailing edges on the wings, rudder, and elevators
- Good rib detail on the control surfaces
- Good intakes at the leading edge of the wing roots
- Good panel line detail Ė not too heavy, not too light
- Overall seems to be accurate in outline and shape
(Too bad I couldnít say the first three of these items about the Hobby Boss La-7, which has thick trailing edges, terrible rib detail, and NO wing root intakes!)
Things I donít like, and which I am trying to correct while building it, are:
- The intake scoop behind the cockpit is too short, so I made it longer (extended it toward the tail) with putty.
- It seems that this kit was originally designed as an early P-39, so the two 50-calibre guns in the top of the nose are missing completely. Itís necessary on the P-39N and P-39Q to drill these out.
- For the same reason, the nosewheel is too small (like an early P-39). Itís molded in one piece with the landing gear leg, so replacing it is difficult, but I might try filing it out and using the larger nosewheel from an old Airwaves P-39Q resin wheel set. The main wheels are not very good, either, with no detail.
- The exhaust stacks, again, look correct for an early P-39, but not the P-39N or P-39Q. Iím not sure what Iíll do about this yet Ė I have a Moskit exhaust set that would solve the problem, but I certainly donít want to use it on this kit!
- The prop and spinner need a lot of work. The spinner is too short and rounded off at the tip. I replaced the front of the spinner with one from an early-series Toko/Roden LaGG-3, and reshaped it a bit. The prop blades need to be made much narrower at the root of each blade to get the right shape.
- As with most Hobby Boss kits, the undersides of the rear part of the fuselage and of the nose are molded in one piece with the wings. Getting a good smooth joint, especially on the nose, is difficult and requires a lot of sanding to get the underside to blend in with the main part of the nose.
- The locating holes for the drop tank and the P-39Q gun pods are quite large, and need to be filled in carefully if not using these parts. There are very noticeable holes in the sides of the fuselage to represent the cockpit door hinges (the doors donít open, and the tops of the doors are molded as part of the one-piece canopy); these holes need to be filled partially, to make them less obvious.
I would not recommend this kit to a serious modelbuilder Ė the Academy kit is much better, and needs a lot less correction, so it would probably be easier overall and more satisfying to build. My reasons for building the Hobby Boss kit were only because I had bought it out of curiosity, so I thought I might as well try it, and because I wanted something easy to practice painting!