Pro Modeler 1/48 P-47N Thunderbolt
Price: $20.00 approximately - depends on source.
Decals: 2 aircraft: "Drinkin' Sister" and "2 Big and 2 Heavy."
Accuracy: The most-accurate Thunderbolt after the Hasegawa P-47D.
Quality: So-so molding.
Reviewed by: Thomas McKelvey Cleaver (The Aeronut)
Designed for long-range escort of B-29s in the Pacific, the P-47N was the last version of the Thunderbolt to see operational service, entering combat in the late Spring and Summer of 1945 from bases on Okinawa and Iwo Jima. Post-war, the P-47N was a mainstay of the Air National Guard until the F-80 and F-84 replaced it.
When ProMaster announced a P-47N, I was personally unimpressed. The least-produced Thunderbolt, and already done by Academy. When Ed Maloney asked me to do one for the Planes of Fame Model Museum, I approached it more as a chore than anything else.
The molding quality of the kit is not good. While the wing detail is crisp, the fuselage isn't. The engineering of the landing gear, with the main gear legs integral to the wheel well wall, and the gear doors moolded in one piece, takes things back to the Monogram P-47D, which first saw the light of day in 1969.
The kit assembles well, and the cockpit is better-detailed than the Academy kit. I think the instrument panel is undersized, but I think the Academy panel is oversize. Compared with the Hasegawa P-47D panel, it's not all that small. Overall, the detail in the cockpit is good enough one could pass on buying a True Details resin cockpit (even Squadron now admits that True Details cockpits are not as accurate as you might think). There are numerous sinkholes from the molding process, and putty is necessary on all seams. The construction of the radio antennas is just plain wierd.
However, this P-47 is the only one besides Hasegawa's to have a windscreen the correct size, and the outline shape of the Curtiss-Electric paddle blade propeller is much more accurate than Academy's. Overall, the final result is much more accurate-looking than Academy's kit.
I was going to use a set of SuperScale decals and do a 507FG yellow-tail, but they were printed too thin and were unusable. After removing the yellow paint from the tail and starting over, I did the airplane on the boxtop with kit decals, utilizing a SuperScale medium blue color decal to get the squadron colors for nose and tail. The kit decals worked just fine.
Overall, I am satisfied with the outcome. So far as kit quality goes, whoever did this for ProModeller, they were not the same folks who did the Bf-110G nightfighter or the SB2C Helldiver (or perhaps they were and they learned their lesson with this kit).
What I'd really like to find for a P-47N would be the outline accuracy of this kit with the molding quality of the Academy kit. Are you listening, Hasegawa?
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