The Bell P-39 was one of the principal American fighter aircraft when the United States entered the Second World War. Designed and manufactured by Bell Aircraft, it took its first flight in April 1938 ad entered service in 1941. During its period of production between 1940 and 1944, just over 9500 were built and were used not only by the USAAF but also the Royal Air Force and the Soviet Air Force. The P-39 was an all-metal, low-wing, single-engine fighter with a tricycle undercarriage and was one of the first production fighters designated as a ‘weapons system’.
No. 601 (County of London) Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force based in London. It was formed at RAF Northolt on 14th October when a group of wealth young British aristocrats, all amateur aviators, decided to form the unit after a meeting at White’s Club in London. As a result, the unit was nicknamed the Millionaires’ Squadron and even the Millionaires’ Mob! Their battle honours include notably the Battle of Britain and the first Americans to fly in the Second World War were members of this Squadron. The Squadron became a day fighter unit in 1940 but as casualties mounted, replacement personnel were drafted in from all walks of life and the unit became as cosmopolitan as any other.
No. 601 Squadron RAF was the only British unit to use the Airacobra operationally and received the first two examples in August 1941 which they armed with two-nosed mounted 0.50 inch machine guns an four 0.303 Browning machine guns in the wings However, the aircraft proved disappointing with an inadequate rate of climb and performance at altitude. After using four P-39s to attack enemy barges in the autumn of 1941, the aircraft’s shortcomings were confirmed and only 80 of the original 200 ordered were retained by the Squadron, the rest being either sold on to the Soviet Air Force or demoted to training duties.
The subject of our 1:72 scale model as flown out of RAF Duxford in 1941, is the P-39 decorated with Squadron code UF on the fuselage, which served the unit between September 1939 and April 1942. Complete in the grey/green camouflage colour scheme with mid grey underwings, both upper and lower surfaces feature the RAF roundel. Note the 601 Squadron’s winged sword insignia and AH585 lettering on the tail fin, as well as the pale yellow tail band. The four detailed gun barrels positioned at the front of both wings are black as is the cannon muzzle on the front of the nose cone.
Despite its shortcomings in real-life, the P-39 was one of the most successful fixed-wing aircraft manufactured by Bell.
Oxford Diecast "Oxford Aviation" diecast airplanes features
Length 6.25" Wingspan 7.5"
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