Toko P-63C Kingcobra
Toko is a Ukranian manufacturer that's been making waves with their eclectic range of kits (WW I, Kingcobras and the modern Antonov An-24 transport). Their kits are well moulded, with a mix of finely engraved panel lines, some raised panels, and both raised and recessed rivets. Offsetting this, the fabric detail on the rudder and elevators is overstated, and the canopy framing is indistinct, though the canopy is quite clear. The kit provides a reasonable cockpit, with a detailed floor, seat, stick, rudder pedals, radio, and a clear instrument panel with raised faces. Both of the car doors are moulded clear, with internal detail (door handles, window cranks and a map pocket!) The gear is well detailed though the nose gear yoke looks overscale (the real thing is quite beefy, though). Toko offers a range of P-63s, and this kit includes parts for them all, including the ventral fin for the C model, two styles of air intakes for the spine with separate lips, plus a scoopless spine and armoured rear canopy panel for the flying target RP-63G. The builder is instructed to cut the cannon barrel/propeller shaft short for the C. Underwing tanks are provided, along with a large belly tank.
The only question mark I found with this kit has to do with the shape of the gear wells and doors. The one piece lower wing has wells shaped like the gear, with circular cutouts. The one piece door moulding, which must be cut into separate doors, features a squared-off shape that doesn't match the wells at all. A quick check of my references showed nothing conclusive to either prove or disprove this arrangement, but it certainly looks strange. Another minor error is that the gun muzzles that protrude from the upper cowl are moulded as a single raised section, instead of two separate bulges. This should be easy to fix with a quick bit of file work. Construction looks straightforward, with possible pitfalls being the fit of the multipart scoops on the spine and losing the fine detail during filling seams.
Decals are a dream, with well-printed markings for no less than four Indochina-based P-63s. The aircraft depicted are: 5L-M, 44-094, G.C.11/5 Ile de France; 44-086, G.C.11/6 Normandie-Niemen; 43-11622, G.C.1/9 Limousin; and 43-40037, G.C.11/9 Auvergne. Each includes well printed squadron crests. The blue in the cocardes and the tail bands (provided) looks a little dark, though not nearly as bad as the box art makes it look. My only concern with these decals is their relatively flat finish, which may make silvering a problem (if they're anything like Italeri's). Alternative markings are available on Carpena's Indochine 1er Partie sheet, for a P-63C of GC 2/5 Ile de France.
A great reference on the P-63 in French service is Aviation Francais Magazine (AFM) No. 1.
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