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FineScale Modeler reviews the Dora Wings Republic P-43 Lancer

Good surface and interior details make this 1/72 scale airplane worth a look 
You know that CGI effect you see in the movies, where one thing smoothly morphs into another? OK, press pause about halfway through the morph and you get something that looks somewhere between the two. That’s what Republic’s P-43 Lancer looks like to me; the halfway point of the development of the famous P-47 from the original Seversky P-35. The P-43 had the same wingspan and was a touch longer than the P-35, and even had the same tailplanes and fin. The engine was the same, too, but had the addition of a turbo-supercharger to boost performance. Like the P-47, the turbo and its ducting were mounted in the bottom of a deepened fuselage, resulting in a slightly ovoid cowl. The windscreen and sliding canopy were similar to the razorback P-47. The P-43’s wing did away with the flat center section and rearward retracting landing gear of the P-35 and featured increased dihedral from the fuselage and inward-retracting gear.

Dora Wings’ 1/72 scale P-43 looks like the little brother of its 1/48 scale kit with fine recessed exterior panel lines and good cockpit and landing gear details. The kit features separate ailerons, elevators, and rudder, three-piece injection-molded canopy, and photo-etched brass (PE) cowl flaps, seat harness, screens, and ignition wiring harness.

Fit overall is good — once you figure out how the kit goes together. And there’s the rub: The instructions lack labeling and additional views to help attach small details and how they should be aligned. This is most noticeable with the tiny struts and push rods that go on the main landing gear struts.

The instructions also skip over the installation of the instrument panel and the firewall to the cockpit tub. Or do they attach to the inside of the fuselage halves? Also, the engine is shown mounted inside the cowl but there is no mounting mechanism there. The diagram also shows an attached exhaust collector ring which is not provided in the kit.

Looking more carefully, I saw that there are indents in the separate front cowl ring that make room for the rockers on the engine cylinders. So that’s how you should mount the engine; to the cowl ring!

I also had trouble handling some of the tiniest parts. The 1mm-long nose-gun barrels quickly became tweezer-launched carpet fodder, so I replaced them with longer pieces of styrene rod and cut them down after the glue had set.

There is no suggestion in the instructions that you have to slightly curl the PE upper and lower vent screens and cowl flaps before attaching them to the cowl.
I had to clean up the edges of the plastic cowl to get it to fit cleanly onto the fuselage. I also had to sand the adjoining edges of all three sections of the canopy to get them to fit the fuselage. The sliding section is too thick to mount in the opened position so forget that idea.

In the final step, it appears that the small inboard and outboard landing gear doors are mounted closed. It’s not clear how the linkage arms (parts D12 and D15) should mount inside the wells.

I painted my P-43 with Mr. Color lacquers using the kit’s handy, pre-cut vinyl masks on the canopy. I had no trouble with the well-printed decals, using only a hairdryer and a touch of decal solvent.

After 21 hours, my little P-43 looks pretty good. I can’t detect any outline or shape troubles when comparing the model to reference photos. While I was building this model, I was also watching an airing of the old movie Air Force about an early B-17 crew caught up in the opening American battles of World War II. Some of the cuts show swooping P-43s as attacking Japanese fighters! No CGI there!

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