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P-47 thunderbolt

28 May

model planes for sale

P-47D Thunderbolt 1:48 scale UK price £28.99

This latest release from Tamiya consists of 162 parts spread over five grey and one transparent sprue, with ten of these parts being unused and presumably included in anticipation of later releases of this popular subject, the most obvious being a ‘Bubbletop’.
Decal options are limited to two subjects, both from the 56th FG based at Halesworth in March 1944 and finished in Olive Drab over Neutral Gray. Lt Frank Kibbe of the 61st FS and Capt Walker Mahurin of the 63rd FS. Kibbe’s is the boxtop version with the Red Indian Chief marking to complement the red cowling and rudder, while Mahurin’s is more sedate with a white cowling ring and white bands around the tail surfaces and a ‘War Savings Bond’ legend. Both subjects feature the star-and-bar markings under both wings.
The optional parts are many and various. Three propellers are provided, tapered and paddle-bladed Curtiss and a Hamilton, four rear view mirrors, solid or ‘spoked’ wheel hubs, three gunsights, a pair of 5001b bombs, one 150 gallon and two 108 gallon drop tanks and a pair of triple 4.5in ‘bazooka’ tube launchers, plus odd parts like a D/F ‘tower’ and rings and a larger instrument panel glare shield. There is also the choice of open or closed cowling flaps, open or closed inter-cooler outlets, raised or lowered flaps and two different types of distributor on the engine housing.

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Construction starts with the cockpit interior and were it not for the absence of a ‘proper’ seat harness I would say this was the equal of many resin upgrade sets. Tamiya do provide a decal harness but such things are a bit too ‘flat’ for my own taste, so I added a seat harness from a generic Re-Heat set. A decal is also supplied for the instrument panel dials, something I have been wary of in the past having found them ill-fitting and/or crudely presented. No such fears here; this Tamiya offering is beautifully presented and settles into place perfectly, each dial in to the correct recess, even over the bold raised detail on the part.

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The fuselage halves are closed around the cockpit interior and a substantial wing spar, for unlike the current ‘norm’, the wing is constructed in two separate pieces rather than a one-piece lower wing part with two upper wing panels. However, the engineering throughout this kit is truly spectacular and the complex construction is made easy. I was also impressed by the scope of the detail included, Tamiya even providing the almost completely hidden turbo outlet in the fuselage underside!
The engine is most impressive and rewards time spent making up an ignition harness with fine wire. It is not essential as the engine lurks deep within the cowling, but like a seat harness I regard the addition of a wiring harness as
de rigeur.
Making up the wings reveals some unusual panel inserts in the undersides, which might indicate what we may see in the future from Tamiya. Perhaps a dive-brake equipped ‘hot-rod’ P-47M?
A cautionary note. Make sure all the parts are properly cleaned-up before assembly. The tiniest of sprue tag remnants will throw the parts out one way or another, but when cleaned-up their fit is fantastic. I really liked the gun blast tubes with all eight being substantial enough to rescue from the ‘carpet monster’ if carelessly dropped!
The flap hinge/actuators have to be trapped between the flap halves as they are assembled. Time should be taken here as the orientation of the hinge/actuators isn’t immediately obvious and it is best to remove and fit each one in turn after identifying it from the part number on the sprue.
I was also impressed by the provision of separate sway braces on the wing bomb racks. One point for the purists – if the 108 gal drop tanks are used on the wing racks the rod at the rear of the rack needs to be cut away and replaced with fine plastic rod between the rack and the rear of the tank. This was a spring-loaded strut which held the tank clear of the flap and aileron when it was dropped.
I also really appreciated the thought that went into the attachment points for the bombs and drop tanks. Tamiya provide for the creation of a finely detailed sub-assembly that can be carefully painted before it is attached with a very large tab that is completely hidden within the bomb rack.
Throughout construction the kit just fell together. Most of the join lines run along panel lines and those that didn’t were easily polished out. Impressive stuff. One exception were the sway braces for the centre line bomb rack, parts E2 and E3. These were a little shallow, so I laid a strip of lOthou plastic card into the recesses in the fuselage and polished the ends to suit before fitting the brace parts.
I also chose to replace the kit’s sliding canopy section with one from a Falcon vac-formed set, as the kit’s is a little too thick for scale and doesn’t sit properly on the model’s spine. No discredit to Tamiya here, the kit item is admirably thin and wonderfully clear – it just isn’t possible to mould the transparency to scale thickness and I really wanted to show the ‘lid’ open to reveal that super cockpit interior
AeroMaster and Polly-Scale acrylics were used to finish the model, followed by a coat of AeroMaster clear gloss varnish, then the kit decals were applied. In the past some Tamiya kits have suffered from sub-standard decals. Those in the P-47D kit are stunning, easily up to the standards of the best after-market offerings, wonderfully flexible with really solid colours and dozens of tiny stencils that can be read with the help of a magnifying glass. A coat of AeroMaster matt varnish finished the paintwork, then a little weathering and final assembly completed the project.
This kit is the finest aircraft kit of Tamiya’s I’ve built to date and re-sets the benchmark for their future releases. I am not going to waste time debating overall accuracy in terms of shape and dimension – it looks spot-on to me.
Alas, the price is sure to cause a sharp intake of breath to many potential purchasers and individual modellers will have to make up their own minds on the kit’s value.

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1 Response to P-47 thunderbolt


student property

April 26th, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Thanks, I’ve recently been hunting for facts about this subject for ages and yours is the best I’ve discovered so far.

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