Tamiya 1/72 P-47D 'Razorback' Thunderbolt




$19.50 MSRP


Two options


Richard Bingham





Tamiya has done it again. They've shrunk down their highly acclaimed 1/48 scale P-47D Razorback down to "gentleman's" scale.

What's a P-47 Thunderbolt you ask?  Rather than repeat what's been printed over and over again, here's a link to a site that gives some history of the P-47 as well information on still-flying warbirds  I think it's a great site and really enjoy browsing through the aircraft there.


When I first heard about this kit, I was both excited and disgusted at the same time. Excited, because I know when Tamiya makes a kit, they really knock it out of the ballpark. I was disgusted because I was in the middle of upgrading an Academy Razorback with an aftermarket cockpit and wheel wells! I probably spent more money on the upgraded Academy kit than the Tamiya! Of course, all the modifications I made to the Academy offering are standard in the Tamiya kit! Once again, Murphy's Law was in full effect...

Tamiya has produced a real beauty, it includes 94 finely engraved, injection molded parts, along with 2 poly caps (1 plus an extra) and decal options for two different planes. The plastic is Tamiya's typical dark gray, there is no flash or sink marks present. There are plenty of options as well; included are 2 different propellers, 2 gun sights, 2 500lb bombs, 2 M10 bazooka-style rocket launchers, 2 "paper" drop tanks, 3 types of rear view mirrors and 2 pairs of wheel covers.

The instructions are well laid out and clear in their presentation. Even my 3-year-old can follow them. But, I do have two minor gripes about Tamiya instructions. The first is that they only use Tamiya paint codes for the color call-outs. I would prefer it if they included Federal Standard, RLM or what have you. That would eliminate any confusion on painting. Second, I do wish they had a diagram of the sprue layout. Most other model companies include them and for me, just come in handy sometimes. Like I said, those are my gripes.  They're just my personal preferences.

The high points of this kit, to me, are the cockpit and the engine. Both are finely-molded and well-detailed. I've built other 1/72 P-47s and included a True Details resin cockpit. Tamiya's stock cockpit is easily as good as the aftermarket one! The engine has the scavenger pump and distributors on the crankcase, which is nonexistent on all other 1/72 P-47s that I know of (with the exception of the Revell Germany Bubbletop).

The decal include options for well-known 56th FG ace Frank Klibbe's "Little Chief" and a Pacific-based 58th FG jug named "Sleepy Time Gal". There are those who like Tamiya's decals and many more who hate them. Their detractors point out the decals thickness and resistance to setting solution. The jury is still out as far as I'm concerned since I've never used Tamiya's kit decals before, because I'm a pathological aftermarket decal buyer... There are plenty of aftermarket decal options available for Razorback P-47s, but for this kit the modeler will be limited to building a P-47D-10 through D-23. This is because the kit has the later-style cowling flaps. One can make an early razorback with the "full" cowling flaps, like those on Walker Mahurin's P-47D-5 "Spirit of Atlantic City, N.J." or Neel Kearby's P-47D-2 "Firey Ginger". I don't see much problem in cutting off the cowling flaps on the kit and scratch building early style ones. It worked on the Academy kit!



What can I say? It's a Tamiya kit! If their other recent 1/72 kits are any indicator, this one will go together easily without any fuss. With some basic modeling-building skills and a good paint job a quality model can be turned out. The only fumbling block for many will be the price. For some, $19.50 for a single-seat, World War Two fighter is awfully steep. I think it's worth it; Tamiya's quality is head and shoulders over other model companies. But, for those who can't stomach the price, rest assured. Sooner or later, Hobby Lobby will have them on their shelves in time for a half-off sale, or you'll find one at a swap meet! It's a great model, so do yourself a favor, and get one!!

My thanks to Ron Damratowski for the pictures.

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