Tamiya 1/48 P-47D Thunderbolt (Razorback)




$41.00 MSRP


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Tom Cleaver




     If you are visiting Modeling Madness and don't know what a P-47D "Thunderbolt" is, you are in sad, sad shape.  However, fear not, many, many reviews are here to educate you.

      What we want to know is:  what's in the box and is it worth the price???




I must admit at the outset that, when this kit was first announced, I was among the many who said "why?"  It's not like there aren't a bazillion Thunderbolt kits out there in 1/48 - it is one of the best-represented aircraft ever to be modeled.  That said, that was also my reaction to the Tamiya Mustangs...

      Until I opened the box.

      What's waiting inside is a very accurate kit of the P-47D "Thunderbolt", in the P-47D-10/P-47D-23 range of the early "razorback" version of this famous fighter.  In exactly the same way that the Tamiya Mustangs solved the problems associated with the Mustang released by Hasegawa (P-51D) and Accurate Miniatures (P-51B/C) as regards ease of assembly, overall accuracy and display options, so this Thunderbolt stands head and shoulders over that released four years ago by Hasegawa.  The only complaint about this kit could be price, and it is listed at places like Squadron at virtually the same price as the Hasegawa kit.

      Whereas the Hasegawa kit really does need a resin cockpit interior, the cockpit interior of this kit is as acceptable as that of the F4U-1 Corsair series or the Me-262s. If a finer amount of detail that really can't be seen all that easily is your thing, by all means go ahead and add $20 to the kit with a resin cockpit.  The rest of us can get away quite nicely thank you with what is here.  I do wish it had seatbelts, but if you apply the seatbelt decal to the foil wrap from a wine bottle, then trim it, you can pose what is there in a very believable manner; it won't be resin-like, but it will be acceptable.

     Tamiya has solved the vexing problem of the wheel wells that has plagued every P-47 kit released since Monogram's first one thirty years ago.  The roof of the wheel well is molded past the end of the wing, which means there will be no annoying seam that can't really be dealt with.  The annoying underwing to fuselage fit of the Hasegawa kit is dealt with by two separate wings, which cannot be assembled with incorrect dihedral, due to the two spars they mount to.

      While the majority of P-47 photos I have seen show the air­plane on the ground with flaps up, Tamiya has provided the option of lowering the flaps; the P-47 is not like the Merlin Mustang, which is almost invariably parked with the flaps down, but it is a nice option to have, and the flaps look right.

      The engine and cowling interior detail is the best of any P-47 kit on the market.  The one thing about the cowling is that only the late version cowling flaps are supplied, which means you can only make a P-47D-11 through P-47D-23 sub-type.  This means that the decals that are provided for Bud Mahurin's "Spirit of Atlantic City NJ" cannot be used with the kit out-of-the-box, since that airplane was a P-47D-5, with the "full span" lower cowling flaps. No, you cannot interchange the earlier Hasegawa cowl.  I already checked, and there there are enough dimensional differences that the Hasegawa cowling - and any aftermarket cowl­ing such as the Cutting Edge P-47C cowling - will not fit. 

     The decals are standard-issue Tamiya:  too thick to really waste your time on.  Given the wide number of decals available from practically every aftermarket decal company that ever re­leased a sheet of decals, marking your model will be the least of your problems.

      All three versions of propeller used are provided: the Curtiss-Electric 12-foot prop, the Curtiss-Electric 13-foot "pad­dle" prop, and the Hamilton-Standard prop used on the P-47D-23.


     Only if price is your sole criteria, and you do not plan to use any aftermarket resin parts on the cheaper kit your are buy­ing, does this kit qualify as "too expensive."  If you are buying the Hasegawa kit, the Tamiya kit is competitive price-wise and a bargain in comparison since you don't really need to buy that Aires (or whoever's) cockpit.  It is very definitely the best P-47 in terms of out-of-the-box accuracy and production design I have seen in all the years I have built models of this airplane.

Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for providing the review copy.

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