Karo-As 1/72 P-59 'Airacomet'
KIT #: AM 04-72
PRICE: $10.00 'used'
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run with vac canopy


The Bell P-59 Airacomet was the first American jet fighter aircraft, designed and built by Bell Aircraft during World War II. The United States Army Air Force was not impressed by its performance and cancelled the contract when fewer than half of the aircraft ordered had been produced. Although no P-59s went into combat, it paved the way for another design generation of U.S. turbojet-powered aircraft and was the first turbojet fighter to have its turbojet engine and air inlet nacelles integrated within the main fuselage. In total, fewer than 65 were eventually produced.


This is very much an old school short run kit. I'd call it second or third generation as none of the sprues are circular and while there is flash, it is pretty light. In addition, it does not rely on resin or photo etch parts for detail. The kit also has nicely engraved detailing which is rather shallow and will soon disappear under any sanding that will have to be done. The white plastic is a tad brittle and all of the major parts have ejector towers on the inside that will need to be removed.

There is no inner fuselage detailing and the cockpit consists of a flat floor, a seat, control stick and instrument panel. There is detailing on the instrument panel that is raised. There is an anti-glare panel for the instrument panel and there are two pieces that fit behind the seat that includes a raised box which is supposed to be the radio.

The wings are two pieces per side with no boxed in wheel well. The nose gear well is also open. The lower fuselage section goes across the fuselage and has small wing stubs that fit atop it on either side. These stubs form the wing root and the rest of the wing attaches to it. Tailplanes are a butt fit as well. There are small blanking plates for the exhaust, but none for the intake. Intake lips are a separate piece. I can imagine that getting the engine assembly properly in place will require a bit of fiddling.

Fortunately, there is lots of room for nose weight as I'm guessing this will require it. Main gear doors are a single piece and will need to be cut according to the plan provided in the instructions. There are demarcation lines on each door piece as it will require being separated into three pieces. Main wheels are two halves with the nose wheel being a single mold. This is all topped by a nicely molded vacuform canopy, which in my kit has yellowed over time.

Instructions are basically an exploded view, which on a low detail kit like this is adequate. A parts layout and four view plans are also provided. Decals are for two planes. One is listed as a YP-59 in OD over Neutral grey with just red surround insignia. This kit is clearly not a YP-59, but a P-59B. The other is for one of the many production P-59Bs used as trainers. It is in post war markings with buzz numbers and is in unpainted metal. The decals are nicely printed, but have yellowed so replacements will be required. Fortunately, all the markings are basic so finding replacements should not be difficult.


Aside from resin kits, the only other injected 1/72 P-59s that I can recall are those done by Special Hobby many years back. That one is undoubtedly a more detailed kit, but if you just want something to build, this one will do as well and probably at a lower price. 



June 2014

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