Toko RP-63G Pinball
Like many people who slap bits of plastic together in an attempt to form scale models of full size objects, I have a great propensity towards starting kits but am severely lacking when it comes to actually finishing them. Very often, like this P-63, it will be the most trivial of tasks that stops me dead in my tracks and results in the model languishing in its box for several months/years/decades. In this case it was the minor task of re-scribing the panel lines around the wing roots which were obliterated during the filling and sanding stage that caused me to lose interest for a couple of years. At the moment however, I'm doing my very best to finish off all the old projects which have been sitting about for far too long before starting something new and the P-63 is the latest beneficiary of this policy. And it took all of five minutes a side to re-scribe those wing roots when I finally got around to finishing the kit. D'oh!!
This isn't a horrendous kit but it isn't the best you'll come across either. Fit was mediocre to poor in most cases, trailing edges of the wings needed a great deal of scraping to thin them down and the engraved detail was very hit and miss. I ended up re-scribing most of the kit because so much was lost filling the seams and what was left was very inconsistent anyway. Clear parts are rather thick but fairly clear and a dip in Klear/Future improved them even more.
Another issue concerns the stance of the aircraft. P-63s tended to sit very nose high on the ground with the bottom rear of the fuselage almost parallel to the ground. Toko's Kingcobra sits pretty much level although the close up pictures tend to give it an exaggerated nose high look. The problem is that the front forks aren't long enough and the main gear oleos aren't compressed enough. Neither would have been difficult to fix had I noticed it in time and if I was really bothered about it. It looks like a P-63 and that's close enough for me.
There are differing opinions concerning the colour of these flying targets. The P-39/P-63 "Detail & Scale" says orange/yellow and the colour profile in both it and the "In Action" book are in this colour. The January 1998 issue of "Scale Aircraft Modelling" says international orange and the Air Force Museum's restored RP-63 has been finished in that colour. My own personal belief is that since this aircraft comes from the same stable and era as the Bell X-1 it would have been painted the same "pumpkin orange" colour which is somewhat lighter and not quite as intense as international orange. There is a contemporary colour photo of a flight of Pinballs in the aforementioned SAM that does seem to show them as a pale orange, though the picture quality is quite poor so there is a lot of room for interpretation. I painted mine with Humbrol orange with some yellow and white thrown in to lighten it up a bit.
The USAF's aircraft has the gear legs painted black which I think is incorrect. Black and white pictures show the nose gear leg at least to be noticeably lighter than the anti-glare panel and propellor and I think it's much more likely that the gear legs were painted in "Bell Green" like the P-39.
Toko's decals weren't bad but they were almost completely impervious to setting solutions. The stars and bars were strangely proportioned so I replaced them with some Superscale ones. Stencils are from the spares box. I rearranged the kit serial numbers to model 557311, just to be a bit different. Note also that the "Pinball Do Not Tilt" markings belong on an RP-63A which had a different style of dorsal intake not supplied in the kit.
I didn't care much for the white dots in the centre of the black circles that were supposed to represent the flashing lights (thus the "pinball" name). I used an eighth inch drill bit to drill shallow holes where the white dots were and then painted them silver. When that was dry I filled the holes with 5 minute epoxy and had nice clear lights that are a big improvement. The light in the spinner is the kit part, polished and backed up with a bit of Bare Metal Foil.
Photos showed these things to be quite dirty with a lot of exhaust staining so I used my usual mix of Polyscale grimey black and clear flat for the exhaust stains and finished up with pastels for other miscellaneous dirt. Paint chips are Metalizer aluminum. RP-63s had two pitot tubes (I'm assuming one was a backup in case the other got shot off) and these were made from brass rod and scrap plastic.
  Left: Nosewheel had a nasty sink mark on one side so this was covered with a disc of .005" card.
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