Tamiya 1/48 P-47D Thunderbolt




$18 (In Japan)


See review


Brian Shields




Brian doesn't do histories or kit info so it's on to the next step. 


Construction started with the cockpit as usual. There is absolutely no need for an aftermarket resin set here. The only thing one may want to add is a set of photo-etch seat belts. Decals for them are supplied, but in my opinion they donít look very good.  The parts fit together perfectly and make a very nice looking ďofficeĒ.  I painted the cockpit Model Master Interior Green which is a bit light so I gave it a wash of black followed by a dry brushing of the green again. This produced a much darker, worn appearance.  Switches, knobs, & other smaller panels were then painted their appropriate colors.  Typical of some Tamiya kits there is no instrument detail on the main instrument panel. I chose to cut out the kit supplied decals and apply them individually. After a little bit of Solv-a-set was applied they snuggled down into the bezels nicely and looked very realistic.

Now it was time to install the cockpit into the fuselage along with the wing spar. The fit of the spar was excellent, which is important since it is designed to make up part of the main wheel well.  The supercharger was also added at this point and the fuselage halves were joined together. I encountered no problems in joining them and a quick pass with the sanding stick made the mating seam disappear.

From this point on you must decide if you are going to do version A ďThe Little ChiefĒ or version B ďThe Spirit of Atlantic City N. J.Ē  There are several different parts used for each specific version.  I chose the later of the two since itís never been offered before in kit form (that Iím aware of).

 Construction went by very quickly and easily after I decided what version to build. One note of caution: be careful after installing the centerline fuel tank mounts, they will break off very easily! I almost found that out the hard way when I went to set it down on the belly, luckily common sense kicked in! I spent a little extra time detailing the engine but once installed itís hard to notice.  After the cowl was mounted, I assembled the wings and glued them to the fuselage. They fit securely with no gap at the wing root.  I decided to leave the rear horizontal stabilizers, flaps & other smaller parts off until painting was complete. 


I painted the cowl and the tail Model Master White first then masked off the desired areas and painted the overall Olive Drab / Grey scheme. Iím sure the provided decals for the white tail stripes would have worked fine but construction went so fast I decided I would go ahead and paint them on.  I masked and painted the canopy with Tamiya tape and a new no.11 blade. I havenít had very good luck with aftermarket masks, they always seem to be slightly off.  I also used a slightly darker color Grey than what was called for because in the photograph I was using as a reference it appeared to be darker. In hindsight I probably should have followed the directions of the kit. Regardless it looks fine as is.  I then masked off the wheel wells and painted them Testorís Zinc Chromate from the tiny Ĺ 0z bottle. I also painted the gear door covers and the gear themselves at this point. Once the paint had dried I gave it a coat of Future and prepared to apply the decals.

I used the kit decals and had no problems at all with them. They reacted fine to Solv-a-set and seemed a little thinner than the usual Tamiya decals.  I did manage to get some slight silvering on two but itís hardly noticeable once completed.


          At this point things were really starting to come together. I attached the gear and gear doors in their appropriate locations. Again everything fit very nicely in its place.  Once the gear were in place I picked out a few of the details molded in the wheel wells with some silver and black Testorís paint.  I also decided to add the 150-gallon drop tank instead of the 80-gallon type. There is a chart in the instructions that shows you the different loads carried for each particular mission. The machine guns were added next, they are very nicely molded. Each barrel is already slightly hollowed out and the ends have a nice bevel on them.  After attaching these parts I gave the entire plane a wash of Burnt Sienna artist oil thinned with Turpinoid to accent the panel lines. After allowing it to dry for a couple of days I sealed it with flat and lightly dusted the panel lines with Black pastel chalk. This was followed by another very light coat of flat to seal the pastel. The finishing touch was to add the canopy and the tip lights. Tamiya added a really nice touch in the inclusion of notches in the tip lights to represent the bulbs. Just add a drop of the appropriate color and you have a very realistic looking bulb inside the lens.


             This was by far the easiest kit I have ever built, taking only one week of evenings after work to complete. It has excellent detail and looks great next to my other WWII fighters. I can recommend this kit even to the very beginner.

Brian Shields

March 2003

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