P-39N Airacobra in 1/33 by Halinski (2, 2003)

Discussion in 'First Impressions Kit Reviews' started by Leif Oh, Aug 28, 2004.

  1. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member


    When I first got this kit in my hands, it was a revelation. So this is was cardmodelling had evolved into - fantastic! So rich in detail, and so crisp in printing, that you could easily enlarge it at least twice (as I found out when scanning it at 300 dpi).

    Instructional images (reflecting the 3D CAD computer design) the likes of which I had never seen, and never could have imagined prior to seeing them. All that remained was the little problem of being able to do this masterpiece of design justice in building it...


    The design, colouring, weathering & ageing, and printing are all flawless (as far as I can tell). The samples below from interior and exterior parts in no way do the original justice (too low resolution). Take my word for it - it is as near perfection as this reviewer has ever seen.


    And this is where the problems - if they are - start. The model is so perfect that it is almost daunting to start building it. I've made one not totally failed start so far, although my clumsy fingers and habit from old balsa modelling days of spreading glue too thickly always makes me ashamed of not doing the model justice - not even in the comparatively forgiving scale of 1/25 (I scanned and enlarged it, rearranging parts on new sheets).

    It is so evidently possible to do much better (as I have seen others do; see e.g. the beautiful and instructive thread on building a Ju-88; there's as master at work who can do a Halinski kit justice - and at the original scale of 1/33!).

    So, while seemingly a perfect model, it is not a forgiving one. Since every part seems to fit perfectly, every little fault that immediately comes to sight must be the builder's - which is very discouraging. No blaming the designer here!

    Also, it is definitely not a beginner's model, even if you do obtain an English copy of the instructions. The publishers readily supply one, if you write to them (which I did; the English manual is now in the Parts Bin). But it is really not much of a manual, least of all for a beginner. I ran into trouble with the doors (which is why I wrote in for the manual), but on that particular issue, the manual simply says: "The way the door should be made is left to the constructor's imagination". So much for guidance to beginners!

    Suffice it to say that (almost) every conceivable detail is there, such as detailed wheel-wells; all the knobs and levers in the cockpit; multilayered instrument panel; separately built doors with recesses (each consisting of four layers, plus glazing), which can be built in an open position as an option; every little strut, door and hinge of the landing gears faithfully modelled and printed down to the last rivet, etc.

    No separation between rudders and stabilizers, though, and no moveable control surfaces (in case this is important for somebody contemplating buying this model). Also, you would be well adviced to scan and print (if you have that option) an extra copy of the top instrument panel layer, cut holes for the instruments, and insert a layer of glazing beneath it.

    Enthusiasts and expert builders have gone even further. I've seen (on the old site, as I seem to remember) that somebody has gone the whole hog and replicated even more internal details, such as guns, ammo boxes, and the engine, situated behind the pilot. What a cut-away model to dream about!


    If somebody has information how to obtain this issue of KartonowyFan (1-2, 2004) I'd be very grateful - that is, if it really contains instructions for how to make these further enhancements. The magazine doesn't seem to be able to accept foreign orders.

    Recolouring this model (if anybody is contemplating this) would seem very difficult. You would in fact have to make a whole new decor from scratch, since there are so many nuances and weathering effects. Which means that you are pretty much stuck with building the Russian version as it comes.

    Which also sums up this model pretty well - near-perfect as it comes; but not much - if any - room for alterations or improvements. I would say it is an example of the new generation of card models; as close to plastic as you are likely to get - but with almost no room for creative alterations. It is a dilemma, isn't it - the more perfect you make a kit, the less creativity is demanded from the builder. You'll just have to be a very, very good builder, and you will end up with your near museum-perfect model.

    So what's the harm here, you might well ask. But it also high-lights another dilemma. Since the basic design is of such high quality, the printing of it on paper shows up very clearly for what it is - a marketing device. It really is a pity that you do not have the option to buy the model as electronic files, to print and enlarge yourself as you see fit.

    If that would come about, I am sure this little kit in 1/33 could very well be scaled to let's say 1/8 or even 1/6 to provide covering for a RC model built on a balsa or foam framework according to the model's basic measurements (preferably electric; I'm not sure combustion engine fuels and paper go together very well even if you apply layers of protective dope).

    There's an interesting scenario for the more entrepreneurial out there - anybody seen it done yet?

    Leif Oh.

    Previous reviews by this reviewer:
    Liberator B-24D, fly Model Nr 21
    A comparison between Fly Models and Halinski P38-J models
  2. Huey

    Huey Member

    Thank you for the informative review. For newbies like me, this will come in handy in deciding whether to purchase the model or not as you've put in insights on the model. Hope for more reviews coming from you. Great job!
  3. Swinger

    Swinger Member

    Great review. :)

    Check THIS out. The additional parts were to be printed in some special add-on to Kartonowy Fan (for subscribers only :/ ), but I don't know if it has been done. I've asked about it in that thread.
  4. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Oooohhh! Makes your mouth water, doesn't it. I concur, watch the indicated thread all the way to the bottom (never mind if you, like me, don't get the Polish; there are more, and more, and more images, all the way down), and see what's possible (and dream on...).

    Here's a taste of what's offered:


  5. barry

    barry Active Member

    Great article looking at Savage I got exactly the same impression but it was electronic so I could make all the mistakes and not worry. I can't modify much anyway so I really enjoyed building it but I would have been overawed if it had been a book.

  6. jyduchene

    jyduchene Member

    RE: Kartonowy Fan P-39


    I was surfing and found this reference to the Kartonowy Fan edition at the the following link


    the specific item is at the bottom of the page, the second choice (middle choice) of Kartonowy Fan selections. Thought you would be interested.

  7. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Many thanks! I guess I'll have to wait for confirmation from Swinger (see above), however, since it seems uncertain that this issue really contains parts, etc. Seems like it might just be a photo report of the build, not the parts. Right? But many thanks anyways! - Leif
  8. Swinger

    Swinger Member

    On the black phorum Losiu wrote: "The add-ons have been published in KF 1-2, I've got them and will use some day (though it will be necessary to paint them, because the colour doesn't match)". :) So it must be that. I mean 1-2/2004. And the red lettering on the cover's scan on Gryf Hobby looks like "elementy uzupelniajace do P-39 Airacobra", which means "supplementary elements for P-39 Airacobra".
  9. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Many thanks, both of you. I have immediately written to my supplier in Germany, who has good Polish connections, asking if he could help out. - Leif

Share This Page