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Tamiya 1/72 scale
P-47 Razorback Redux

by Rafe Morrissey


P-47 Razorback


Tamiya's new 1/72 scale P-47D Razorback is available online from Squadron




After watching Floyd Werner build three super looking P-47s for our last DVD, I figured I should have a go myself. In the process, I learned a valuable, if painful, lesson on the importance of testing any finish before applying it to a model.

What you see here is actually my second attempt.

My first go around was with the Tamiya 1/48 scale P-47D Razorback. Unfortunately, after having detailed the cockpit and fully assembled the airframe, I used a bottle of Alclad II gray primer that had gone bad in the bottle. This made the subsequent metallic shades look so horrible that I elected to bring the project to a halt. I decided to start over with the excellent 1/72 scale rendition of the P-47 by Tamiya.





Aside from altering the design of the model so that the seam through the landing gear bay is visible (unlike the 1/48 scale version), the kit is truly a marvel of engineering. In addition it comes with a variety of prop styles and under wing ordinance to suit almost any configuration. The model was built out of the box as I wanted to expedite the process of turning out my first NMF model.



The only exception was the need to make a scratch built replacement for one of the bomb shackles and the antenna which were lost when I took the model to work on during a model night at a friendís house.



Painting and Weathering


As mentioned earlier, I used the Alclad II system to finish my model. After my earlier experience, I made sure to test the Gray primer on a scrap kit and the new bottle I obtained directly from Alclad II worked to perfection. When it works, there is really nothing better as you can detect and fix flaws and re prime in a single session rather than waiting overnight for the various paint coats to dry. Incidentally, we have posted a guide to determine to the best of our ability which primer batches are good and how to tell the difference between them. You can access it off of the Master Class Model Building Videos main page.

The basic process in painting the model involved laying down the primer coat using a Badger 200 single action airbrush at a low pressure setting (@5-10psi). I then applied a base coat of Alclad II Aluminum using the same single action airbrush and pressure settings. Control surfaces were masked and sprayed with Alclad II Duraluminum. I also used Alclad II Dark Aluminum for the panels behind the exhaust waste gates.


I should mention that my base coat of Aluminum had the problem of remaining tacky that has been mentioned on this site. I found that the major problem was that the paint is extremely sensitive to heat from finger tips when being handled. I had no problems handling the model with Tamiya modeling gloves and suspect regular cotton gloves would work as well. Fortunately, the paint was able to withstand masking with Tamiya tape and 3M blue tape without lifting so I didnít find it to be too much of a liability. This again highlights the importance of testing any finish on a scrap first, however, so you know what you have to work with.

With the base NMF applied, I then masked the model for the tail surface bands, anti-glare panel, the cowling ring and the invasion stripes and applied the necessary colors using Tamiya Acrylic paint. I cut special masks made by tracing the shape of the side stars and bars onto Tamiya tape to protect this area when the invasion stripes were added so they would not show through underneath the decal. Immediately after applying the anti-glare panel, I used a sharpened toothpick to chip around various access panels and fasteners. I also used this method to apply chips to the leading edge of the cowling.

Once all the complicated masking and painting was accomplished, I applied an overall glosscoat of Future thinned slightly with Tamiya Acrylic Paint Thinner. I find that the addition of the Tamiya thinner helps the Future flow on more smoothly and level out better.

After applying the decals, I over sprayed the decaled areas with another coat of Future and let it cure overnight.

I continue to experiment with the post shading technique made popular by Chris Wauchop and our Hyperscale editor, Brett Green. I find that applying the post shading with a very thin mix of Tamiya XF-1 Flat Black and XF-64 Red Brown is best done over the cured gloss coat since it is possible to remove any errant streaks with a q-tip dampened with Windex. You can remove streaks two or three times before the Windex starts to affect the Future under coat as long as you are careful to keep the q-tip just slightly damp. I also kept a print out of Roger Fabrociniís excellent article on his beautiful P-51B close at hand. This is one of my all time favorite NMF subjects from Hyperscale and was very helpful in planning my weathering strategy. I highlighted selected panels with the super thin mix and concentrated on the control surface hinge lines, engine area and areas of natural shadow. I also added a few random streaks vertically on the fuselage and in the direction of airflow on the wings and tailplanes.


I sealed the post shading with a coat of Testors Acryl Clear Flat which dried to a nice even matte finish. I enhanced some of the engine panel lines with a pin wash of Raw Umber oil paint and used a mix of thicker Raw Umber and Black Oil paint to create random oil streaks on the underside of the fuselage behind the engine and other areas likely to leak a bit of oil. Additional chips and scratches were added with a Prismacolor silver pencil. I added a filter wash around the wing root areas to replicate the grime tracked about by the ground crew during servicing. I also added a few chips along the wing root with a regular #2 pencil which, if not over coated, adds a little different metallic sheen suggesting wear.

The propeller blades were also chipped with the #2 pencil. I left one blade unchipped to indicate a recent replacement and added a manufacturing date with a white Prismacolor pencil. My references suggest these markings were often chalked on by hand at the end of the manufacturing process.

The exhaust stains behind the waste gates were added with the ubiquitous red brown/ black mix. I love how repeated applications produce different effects. The first few passes look quite brown but if concentrated it takes on a very black tone allowing you to create a variety of realistic effects with the one mixture.

Finally, I used MiG pigments to add a bit of dust to the wheels and sealed it in with a wash of pure mineral spirits. When the wash dries, it leaves a nice even dusty appearance and helps bond the pigments to the wheels.


I chose E4*M from Eagle Strikeís sheet for Thunderbolts from the 362nd Fighter Group (Sheet Number 72-055). The decals performed flawlessly and conformed to all the panel line details. I should also mention that the sheet includes decals for all the tail stripes. I just masked and painted mine because I felt in the mood.





All in all this was a very satisfying project and Iím happy to have finally cracked the NMF barrier. If I had tested my paint first, I would have had a rather nice 1/48 P-47 to show, but it was an important lesson to learn and one Iíll not soon forget.



Now, I wonder if the Tamiya cockpit will fit in the old Monogram kitÖ.



Additional Images


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Model, Images & Text Copyright © 2007 by Rafe Morrissey
Page Created 24 May, 2007
Last Updated 24 December, 2007

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