| From the ubiquitous P-51 Mustang to more obscure German fighters, we love ’em all: scale warbirds turn heads, they’re a blast to fly and they even look good just sitting on the flightline. But start to weigh the merits of a WW II twin bomber against a trainer-turned-fighter and you’ve got a definite discussion on your hands! We considered looks, size, performance, quality of construction and parts and overall value. When the dust settled, we had a list of our top 10 warbirds, from heavy-metal giants to a foam park flyer. If you’re a fan of scale fighters and bombers but weren’t sure which one was right for you, we guarantee that you’ll find one here that’s perfect for your hangar!
B-25J MITCHELL TOP FLITE GOLD EDITION
Without a doubt, this is our favorite B-25 model. A big bomber that you can easily transport in an SUV or minivan, this IMAA-legal B-25 has built-up construction with flat MonoKote covering. Its numerous scale features include a dummy radial engine, multiple machine guns and details like the nose-gunner’s knee pad! It’s perfect for builders who are looking for an enjoyable scale project that they can customize as much as they like, such as the optional Robart retracts. In the air, it’s surprisingly stable and tracks rock solid through maneuvers, It has two degrees of outboard engine thrust built in to both engines for improved one-engine-out performance, and its tricycle gear makes taxiing a piece of cake.
During the famous Doolittle Raid on Tokyo in 1942, some of the pilots put cut-off broomsticks in their tail cones so the Japanese pilots would think they were equipped with tail guns.
F6F HELLCAT HANGAR 9
“WITH THE GEAR UP AS IT ROARS DOWN THE FIELD, IT IS SO REALISTIC THAT IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE IT’S A MODEL.”
Here’s a fighter that’s as easy to fly as a sport plane. Built-up construction and Ora-cover covering are the foundation of this great-looking warbird. It comes with a painted fiberglass cowl; two main wheels; a tailwheel with spring gear; plastic wheel-well covers, landing-gear doors, a radial engine and canopy. The best part? Installed rotating 90-degree rotating retracts! The F6F is very stable in all facets of flight, and control response is good at all attitudes and speeds. Inverted flight is just as stable as upright and requires only a touch of down-elevator. The F6F performs loops and rolls with ease, and approaches and landings are a breeze.
During WW II, the F6F Hellcat became the prime ace-maker aircraft in the American inventory, with 305 Hellcat aces.
F8F BEARCAT THUNDER TIGER
“FULLY DECKED OUT WITH RETRACTS, PANEL LINES AND OTHER SCALE DETAILS, THIS BEARCAT IS A GREAT SCALE PROJECT.”
You’ll stand out from the crowd with this seldom-modeled Bearcat. A great-looking painted fiberglass fuselage and built-up, plug-in wings and tail feathers covered with UltraCote make this WW II fighter stand out. The plane also comes with a painted fiberglass cowl, a custom-made tank, drop-in mechanical retracts, a pilot figure and landing-gear covers. All of the control surfaces come slotted and ready for CA hinges. In the air at high speeds, the F-8F is point and shoot, and it is able to glide as long as you can keep up the airspeed. The Bearcat flawlessly performs basic aerobatics and in addition to adding scale detail, the flaps reduce airspeed on approach and increase flight realism.
The F8F Bearcat was the favorite aircraft of Neil Armstrong, who flew them in 1950 during his Navy Advanced Training at the tender age of 19.
MOSQUITO MK VI BH MODELS
“FOR A TWIN WARBIRD, THIS PLANE IS REALLY EASY TO FLY AND CAN MAKE ANY PILOT LOOK GOOD.”
BEST ELECTRIC TWIN!
What could be better than an electric twin war-bird? All balsa and ply construction and Oracover covering help to make this British bomber out. Designed for electric power, it even has a nose hatch that’s held on with rare earth magnets for easy access to the battery and gear. Functional flaps and retracts as well as fiberglass engine nacelles and nose round out its features, and the parts fit is outstanding. With the recommended motors, this plane has solid performance and more than enough power to get out of stalls and other sticky situations. The Mosquito can be assembled by anyone, but should be flown by someone with advanced flying skills.
When it became operational in 1941, the Mosquito was heralded as a technological breakthrough for being the fastest aircraft in the world, flying 397mph at a 23,700 foot altitude.
P-40 WARHAWK E-FLITE
“THIS GREAT-FLYING, NICELY DETAILED WARBIRD IS THE PERFECT SIZE TO BE PACKED IN YOUR CAR’S BACKSEAT FULLY ASSEMBLED.”
BEST BUDGET FIGHTER!
Fly a warbird nearly anywhere, anytime with this good-looking park flyer fighter. This Warhawk comes out of its box with a very nice scale paint job, molded-in panel line details and aircraft markings. You’ll just need to do is install two servos, an ESC and a receiver. It’s designed for easy hand launches and comes with nicely detailed wheels in the retracted position under the wing panels. This park flyer grooves nicely and given that you don’t have a functional rudder, it still feels solid and tracks nicely through shallow and steep banking turns. Loops and rolls are easy and very much in keeping with this model’s warbird heritage.
P-40 WARHAWK KYOSHO
“THE P-40’S SPORT-FLYING FLIGHT CHARACTERISTICS MAKE THIS A GREAT PLANE TO GET YOUR FEET WET IN SCALE WARBIRD FLYING.”
Sport pilots will appreciate this P-40’s easy flight characteristics! MasterCote printed film brings the scale scheme of this built-up war-bird to life. It comes with the shark mouth and Miss Trixie nose art as well as 90-degree rotating mechanical retracts and plastic wheel-well fairings, split flaps for easy landings, a spinner and pilot figure. In the air, it flies like a much larger model, with no tendency to snap out of tight turns or at the top of loops. Stall turns, inverted flight and combat maneuvers and, of course, the low, high-speed pass and victory roll are mandatory maneuvers. An electric version of the P-40 is also available.
Of all the 13,738 P-40s built, only 19 are still airworthy. Approximately 80 aircraft are on static display or under restoration
P-47 THUNDERBOLT TOP FLITE GOLD EDITION
Sure, it’s flashy, but warbirds just don’t get better than this! A beautifully painted fiber-glass cowl, a complete cockpit, scale aluminum spinner, one-piece wing, flaps and heavy-duty gear doors make this model an easy 15-20 hour build. With exception of the rudder, all the control surfaces come pre-glued with hinge-point hinges. Optional Robart retracts are a drop-in fit. This giant-scale P-47 is solid as a rock, from taxi and takeoff to lightning-fast strafing passes, slow flight and landings. The rudder is extremely effective and will reward those with coordinated thumbs. Although the full-scale version was better known for its diving speed and low-level attack rolls, this baby can do aerobatics with the best of them.
The P-47 was, in fact, a product of Russian engineering, as it was created by two Russian immigrants to the U.S., Alexander deSeversky and Alexander Kartveli.
“THIS ARF IS A JOY TO ASSEMBLE AND HAS SUPERB FLYING CHARACTERISTICS.
BEST PAINT SCHEME
More than 14,000 P-40s were produced for service in the air forces of 28 nations.
P-51D MUSTANG AEROWORKS
“THIS PLANE HAS SUCH GREAT FLIGHT PERFORMANCE THAT IT CAN BE FLOWN BY ANY PILOT WHO HAS SOME LOW-WING TRAINING.”
A simple build, this famous fighter will make you look like an ace at the field. Incredibly prefabricated for a scale ARF, this built-up balsa and ply P-51 has UltraCote covering and comes with flaps, a flight-ready air retract system with sequenced landing gear doors and all control surfaces except its rudder hinged and ready to be connected to pushrods. A detailed cockpit with a sliding canopy is the icing on the cake! P-51s are known for their solid tracking capability, but this Mustang really sets the bar: once trimmed, it maintains course until another input is commanded. With its flaps deployed, it’s amazing how slow this P- 51 can go before the right wing drops during the stall.
By the end of WW II, P-51s had destroyed 4,950 enemy aircraft in the air, more than any other fighter in Europe.
SPITFIRE MK. XIV ESM
“THIS PLANE WILL MAKE YOU FEEL CONFIDENT FROM THE START AND WILL QUICKLY ELIMINATE ANY PREFLIGHT JITTERS.”
Hardcore scale enthusiasts will find a lot to love about ESM’s Spitfire. This gorgeous fighter has features like a painted, fiberglass fuselage and cowl with scale panel lines, molded scale exhaust, scale hinges and split flaps and a built-up stabilizer, elevator and rudder covered in Solartex fabric. You’ll only need CA, epoxy and radio and power systems to get it flight-ready. In the air, ESM’s Spitfire is very stable, and it’s gentle and easy to control. In a turn, the wing doesn’t drop but instead “rails” around it. To prevent the wing from stalling on landing, maintain the power as long as you can, and use full flaps to slow your landing for a gentle, controllable touchdown.
The first Spitfires’ machine gun bullets would go straight through enemy aircraft without shooting them down, so the fighters were equipped with exploding-shell cannons.
T-28 TROJAN BH MODELS
YOU’LL BE THRILLED WITH THIS CROWD-PLEASING, QUICK-BUILDING AND GREAT-FLYING T-28 REPLICA.”
A great-looking warbird that flies like a trainer? They don’t get much better than this! This highly prefabricated T-28 ARF uses standard balsa and ply construction and is covered in iron-on film. A detailed fiberglass cowl, pneumatic retracts and foam wheels are all included. This plane would be a nice electric conversion as the large canopy/hatch allows easy access to the batteries. The T-28 is rock solid throughout its flight envelope, and the rudder is very effective. Stalls are soft and gentle with minimal dropping of the left wing tip. The T-28 is very forgiving and a predictable flying airplane. (A .60-size version of the T-28 is also available for $180).
Designed as a trainer aircraft, the T-28 Trojan was so versatile that it eventually served with more than 20 air forces and saw combat on four continents: Asia, Africa, North America and South America.