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Republic P-47D Thunderbolt

by Ian Robertson

 

Republic P-47D Thunderbolt

 


Hasegawa's 1/48 scale P-47D Thunderbolt is available online from Squadron.com

 

Introduction

 

The P-47D was a large, pugnacious, and portly radial-engine fighter that became the most-produced fighter in American history (over 15,000 built in total).

Early versions of the P-47D had a sharp upper ridge aft of the cockpit in order to increase the pilot's field of view. These "razorbacks" stood in contrast to later versions which sported a bubble canopy.

 

 

My model depicts "Raid Hot Mama", a P-47D-15 razorback from the 510 FS, 405 FG, flown by Lt. John Drummond in 1944.

 

 

Hasegawa's 1/48 Scale P-47D

 

Basic Construction

Overall I found the fit of Hasegawa's model to be very good. The fuselage to wing join was a bit tricky in terms of getting a symmetric dihedral and smooth join to the belly, a problem I've heard repeated by other modelers. It was not a major obstacle to overcome.

The wing assembly was constructed as per the instructions. I opted to glue the lower-center wing section to the fuselage first and then set it aside to dry overnight. The next day I glued the upper part of the wing to the wing-root, taking care to achieve a proper dihedral for both wings. In the end some sanding beneath the fuselage was still required to get a smooth transition between the wing assembly and fuselage. A minor amount of detail was lost in the process.


 

Detailing

I used Verlinden's P-47 detail set to display the cowl flaps open, detail the cockpit, and reposition the control surfaces on the tail.

 

 

Overall the resin parts fit well; however, the kit's cowl is slightly larger in diameter than the resin cowl flaps, necessitating rather heavy sanding an rescribing on the cowl in order to mate the two pieces without a noticeable step. Tamiya's upcoming release will undoubtedly be an improvement in this regard. The control surfaces and cockpit details in the Verlinden set are superb. Some minor modifications to the cockpit were needed because the Verlinden set is designed for a bubble top. Note that the Verlinden detail set also allows for dropped wing flaps, engine details, and an open gun bay. I opted to save these parts for another P-47 model.

The main landing gear were modified slightly by thinning the oleo scissors and adding brake lines made from electrical wire. The tail wheel was modified by removing the strut from the wheel and replacing it with wire. The wire was bent with pliers and attached to the wheel and strut using CA glue.

The intercooler exhaust vents on the side of the fuselage were thinned as much as possible using an exacto knife. This simple procedure makes a big difference in the model's appearance because the thickness of the plastic is very noticeable otherwise. I thinned the vents on the underside of the fuselage in a similar manner.

Although not a common configuration, some P-47D razorbacks carried a flat drop tank beneath each wing pylon rather than a single tank suspended beneath the fuselage (refer to Jeffrey Ethell's book "Air Command" for some beautiful color images of razorbacks with this configuration). The Hasegawa kit provides only a single 150 gallon flat tank for the belly position. However, I had a spare tank from another Hasegawa P-47 kit and decided to use the two of them on my model.

 

 

A swing brace constructed from stock styrene was attached from the back of the wing pylon to the rear of each tank (Darrell Thompson supplied me with some excellent photos - thanks). A fuel line made from heated styrene rod was added to each tank.

 

 

Painting and Markings

 

The exterior of the model was first painted with SnJ Aluminum metallizer. The white bands on the cowl and tail were then painted with Polly Scale acrylics and masked. The underside panel lines were pre-shaded in black and then painted neutral gray with Polly Scale acrylic until the pre-shading had all but disappeared.

The upper surfaces were painted various shades of olive drab using a combination of Aeromaster faded olive drab, Aeromaster olive drab, and Polly Scale olive drab. Some applications of olive drab included a touch of dark green and/or black. My goal was to create the varied colors evident in period photographs of olive drab camouflage. As a final step, highly thinned back paint was sprayed over certain areas of the model, particularly the wing roots and behind the cowl flaps. Once the camouflage scheme was complete, fine grain sandpaper was used to make minor surface abrasions and expose the SnJ aluminum beneath, particularly around the cockpit entrance and leading edges of the wings.

The canopy was treated to a coat of Future floor wax, masked with Tamiya tape (once the Future had dried), and then painted. A coat of interior green was sprayed first, followed by a mixture of Model Master Acryl "French Blue" and Polly Scale "ATSF Blue". These two colors produced a nice match with the blue of the nose art.

 



The decals for "Raid Hot Mama" were produced by Eagle Strike (American Jabos, Part 3: #48053). They were of excellent quality and reacted well to decal solvents.

 

 

Photography

 

All images were taken outdoors on a sunny day with a SONY S-75 digital camera set at its highest picture resolution (2048 x 1536 pixels). Other camera settings were as follows: 200 ISO film speed (yes, it is a setting on my digital camera), 1000th/sec shutter speed, F-stop 8.0 (highest possible), and fixed focus distance of either 20 or 30 cm.

 

 

Images were cleaned up using Adobe Photoshop 6.0 for the Macintosh. Specifically, the interface between the base and background were merged using the software's "blur" tool.

 

 

Additional Images

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model, Images and Article Copyright 2002 by Ian Robertson
Page Created 23 October 2002
Last updated 04 June 2007

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