ManCave Modeler presents...
Bell XFL-1 Airabonita

1/72 scale. RS Models

A derivative of the P-39 Airacobra, the XFL-1 Airabonita was an experimental carrier-based interceptor aircraft developed for the U.S. Navy by Bell Aircraft. Similar in many respects to the P-39, the XFL-1 featured an Allison XV-1710-6 twelve cylinder engine mounted behind the cockpit and nose mounted armament, but featured a tail wheel and arrester hook instead of the tricycle landing gear. Another difference was the dorsal air intake behind the cockpit is substantially smaller and the coolant radiators under, instead of inside the center section of the wing.

Testing problems with the engine and the landing gear, and performance at altitude inferior to other contemporary naval fighters such as the Grumman F4F Wildcat, as a result, the Navy decided not to order production of the aircraft
Only one prototype was manufactured

The Build...
With so few parts, this kit should be a quick build, but that turned out not to be the case.
The cockpit went together quickly, The instrument panel and the interior have a decent amount of detail for the scale

The wings is where this kit slows down.
There are numerous mold pins on the larger parts of this kit. Most of them are easily clipped off, but the ones on the wings need to be completely removed and sanded flush. there are also pitot tubes on both upper wing halfs, but no corresponding indentations on the lower half so you will need to file them.
This is where the real fun began. The instructions call for installing the lower half of the wing to the fuselage before installing the upper halves. When I tried to install the upper halves, the grooves didn't align and there was an overlap. I removed the lower half from the fuselage and installed the upper halves but the fuselage assembly would fit between the wings...
At this point, thoroughly frustrated with what should have been a simple build, I removed the wing tops, installed the bottom back to the fuselage, recut the Pitot tube notches and decided to live with the slight overhang.

I installed the canopy which had it's own fit issues, masked it off and off to the paint bench.

The interior was painted the usual Chromate Green FS34151 with black details. The exterior was primed black followed by Alclad Semi-Matte Aluminium. Upper wings are painted Insignia Yellow FS33538. The minimal amount of decals are pretty thin and slid into place with ease, a coating of solvaset dropped them.


Final Thoughts...

An interesting kit of a one of a kind aircraft.
I bought it to sit on the shelf with my collection of P-39 Airacobras and the p-63 King Cobra. I was disappointed at the poor fit of the pieces but found out this is a common complaint with RS kits.
Would I recommend it to someone? no, unless you're looking to fill a collection like I was, specifically the issues with the wings, and the canopy had it's own fit issues as well.
There is an aftermarket cockpit set avaialble for this kit. Were I inclined to to do the all the modifications and work involved to really do this aircraft justice I would probably invest in it.

My two cents worth


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Last Updated November 26, 20198