The P-51D Mustang is without doubt my favourite aircraft and
modelling subject. However it's very closely followed by the P-47D
Thunderbolt and F-86 Sabre. My liking for the Thunderbolt "Jug" is
reflected in my model building as this P-47D is the sixth 1/48 scale
P-47 I've built. Of the six, this is the third Hasegawa P-47D Bubbletop.
The other three are a Hasegawa P-47D Razorback, an Academy P-47D
Bubbletop and a Minicraft/Academy P-47N.
P-47D Thunderbolt in
using ESP Decal Set #48030
I won't bother with a complete blow-by-blow construction account as
numerous models using the many boxings of Hasegawa's P-47D Bubbletop kit
have already appeared on HyperScale. It is an excellent kit and
relatively vice-less as a result of how Hasegawa has engineered the
The kit was built straight from the box, with masking tape simulating
the seatbelts. The only deviation I used from the instructions was to
glue the one-piece lower wing in place first before attaching the left
and right upper wings.
My only minor criticism is the canopy. It is very thin and requires
extreme care when detaching from the four attachments points on the
clear plastic sprue. How do I know this you ask? Well for my last
Hasegawa P-47D I badly cracked the canopy at the left-front and had to
substitute an Academy P-47 bubbletop canopy.
In all honesty, I prefer the Hasegawa bubbletop to the Academy
bubbletop. However, the Academy offering has a strong following among
many P-47 modellers as it comes with a truckload of options - open upper
wing gun-bays and a full suite of ordnance (ie. different styles of fuel
tanks & bombs, rockets and even grenade launchers !). Some modellers
also say it's more accurate in outline than the Hasegawa kit. If doing a
diorama involving a P-47D Bubbletop then I would certainly use the
Okay I admit it ! I'm a natural metal freak and like doing natural
metal finished aircraft.
In the early days of HyperScale I submitted an article to Brett on
how I approach natural metal finishes. Some years later, I'm still
building silver birds and still swear by the Floquil Railroad Colours
(which I sometimes refer to as the "Floquil Silvers") of "Old Silver",
"Bright Silver" and "Platinum Mist". My natural metal finishes article,
using the Floquil paints, can be found in HyperScale's Reference library
The paints used for the major colours of the exterior finish on the
Floquil "Old Silver" (thinned with Floquil
Diosol) - some panels were masked off and polished with SnJ's
"Aluminium Polishing Powder"
AeroMaster "Olive Drab" (enamel) for the
AeroMaster "Black" (enamel) for the cowl
flaps and propeller blades
AeroMaster "Tyre Black" (acrylic).
To seal the decals, I sprayed on a mixture of AeroMaster "Clear
Gloss" and "Clear Flat". I then felt the anti-glare areas on the nose
and fuselage spine looked too shiny. These areas were carefully
re-masked, with Tamiya masking tape and Post-It notes, and sprayed
AeroMaster "Clear Flat" - this completely killed the shine.
All decals, including stencil data, came from the ESP 48030 "American
Jabos P-47 Thunderbolts Fighter Bombers Pt. 1" decal set released
mid-2001. It covers three natural metal finished aircraft with Olive
Drab anti-glare panels from the last year of WW2. Here is a brief
overview of the set:
- "Le Mort" B2-M flown by 1st Lt. Melvyn R. Paisley (final
score was 5 kills), 390 FS / 366 FG based at Handorf, Germany, May
1945. There are two cowl flaps on each side of the nose that need to
be painted by the modeller. The fuselage insignia come complete with
the uneven D-Day stripes for the lower fuselage - these worked an
absolute treat and I would like to see the same for P-51 Mustangs if
they are going to work as well as these did!
- "Wee Speck" GQ-U flown by Capt. Lowell K.
Brucland (including two Korean War kills, final score was 14.5
kills,), 355 FS / 354 FG based at Rosieres-en-Haye, December, 1944.
Front of cowl painted Medium Blue which is followed by a band of
Medium Blue and White diamonds. Stylised "Flying Bomb" cartoon
nose-art is on left cowl.
- "Ole Trapper" CP-R flown by 1st. Lt. Donald O. Scherer
(only ace of the "Orange Tails" squadron), 366 FS, 358 FG, Sandhofen,
Germany, April, 1945. Cowl is painted Red while the entire tail
section is Orange, except where the serial number is, hence the
squadron's "Orange Tails" nickname.
All decals worked beautifully ! I used a little AeroSet setting
solution to get the decals to melt right into the recessed panel lines.
I've used ESP decals on my last two models (a 1/48 Hasegawa A-4C done as
an A-4L and this P-47D) and was mighty impressed with them, ie. easily
came off backing paper, in perfect register, easily positioned with
water, adhered well and reacted well to setting solution.
I found all three schemes colourful and appealing. Although I finally
decided to do scheme #1, I hope to eventually do the remaining two
schemes in the near future. To entice me to buy and build even more
Hasegawa and Academy P-47D Jugs, Eagle Strike Productions has more
American Jabos : P-47 Thunderbolt Fighter Bombers on 48031 (listed as
Pt. 2 & covers three more Bubbletops) and 48053 (covers two Razorbacks and
Decals from Eagle Strike Productions and AeroMaster Productions can
be viewed and purchased on-line at
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