Tamiya 1/48 P-47D Razorback

KIT #:



$ 48.00 MSRP – about $ 36.00 Retail


Aero Master SP11 & SP13 P-47’s of the 405th F.G.


Andrew  Garcia


A kit build or a decal review.
Decals long out of production



 Republic Aviation's P-47 Thunderbolt, also known as the "Jug", was the largest, heaviest, and most expensive fighter aircraft in history to be powered by a single reciprocating engine. It was heavily armed with eight .50-caliber machine guns, four per wing. When fully loaded, the P-47 weighed up to eight tons. The P-47, based on the powerful Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine, was very effective in high-altitude air-to-air combat and proved especially adept at ground attack.

The P-47 was one of the main United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) fighters of World War II, and served with other Allied air forces such as France, the UK and the USSR. Mexican and Brazilian squadrons fighting alongside the U.S. were equipped with the P-47.

The sturdy and rugged aircraft was designed by expatriate Russians Alexander de Seversky and Alexander Kartveli. The armored cockpit was roomy inside, comfortable for the pilot, and offered good visibility. A modern-day U.S. ground attack aircraft, the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, takes its name from the P-47. 


For a look at what's in the box, see the preview.

The Tamiya P-47 1/48th scale series of Razorback and bubbletop’s are one of those kits that makes every modeler feel their skill level is improving. The final result is always something to be proud of. The model is so pleasant to build that after I built the first one I followed up with a ten aircraft project. The biggest problem you will have with the Tamiya P-47 is deciding on which colorful decal and painting combination, O.D. or NMF to use. There are plenty of aftermarket decal choices and lots of resin if you feel the need for even greater detailing. 

The real focus of this build is the decal sheet, or should I say book because I used decals from the AeroMaster special release “SP” series, # 48-11 and 48-13 for the markings. These represented colorful aircraft from the 405th F.G. and research from Norris Graser who is a Jug-A-Holic.  The release featured an 8 ½  by 11 inch illustrated booklet, tables for modeler concerns like which prop to use, featured Cartograph for decal printing and the booklet used color printing. This was rare in the June 1999 and January 2000 time frame when they were released. I remember lamenting how the price of modeling was now exponentially increasing but did I ever enjoy the decals. I paid about $15.00 for each release and considering there were about four full sized decal sheets included it was a bargain! The AeroMaster sheet was released before the Tamiya kit was issued (in 2002). They noted the Hasegawa P-47 Razorback was the best in scale (in 1999), except for a lack of depth in the fuselage. This flaw was fixed by Tamiya. While the Hasegawa kit is nice, the Tamiya is superb.


It is a very simple kit to build. Just follow the instructions. Hey, it's a Tamiya kit.  As Tom Cleaver once said: “Unless you are too illiterate to read the instructions, and too ham-fisted to touch the parts without breaking them, it is impossible for you to not "get it right" by following the instructions.”

Paint all the interior parts for the cockpit and the engine area, wheel wells, etc., and set those aside to dry for a day. The cockpit is so good you may not need a resin replacement. I added an Eduard color zoom set for the seat belts and other nice bits. The next day start your cutting and gluing and detail painting.

If you follow the instructions you will have the kit assembled in about 2 hours of enjoyable work. There are no problems to worry about like gaps or seam filling.  The production design of the kit is as good as the Corsair and the other Tamiya  releases - what more needs be said?  I left on the flaps and landing gear for ease of painting. There are wonderful extra color painting notes for each color scheme detailed in the AeroMaster instructions. I found this to add a great deal to the satisfaction of the build. 


I used SNJ enamel metallic’s in a variety of shades. It was painful to cover over most of the wings on the NMF aircraft because the finish turned out to be flawless. I started with a shiny aluminum then added other aluminum shades using post-em notes to isolate individual panels. The markings went on flawlessly. They were printed by Cartograph and are perfect in register. If Cartograph could use the paints that Microscale uses they would be exceptional. Cartograph produces a very thin, perfectly printed decal but they easily tear. I like Microsoft printed decals because they are not as brittle and take movement or placement in stride. The only detraction in Microsoft printing is the stencils are incomplete or not as clearly printed as Cartograph’s. It appears Microsoft decals are silk screen printed and perhaps the resolution is limited. Cartograph may be using a direct offset printing method to obtain the improved resolution.


I attached the wheels, pitot, gun tubes and used some Tamiya weathering master drybrush effect. A bit of touchup on areas where the paint went under the masking tape and that was it. Yes, you can mask SNJ metallics!


I really enjoyed this build. I still have a goal of at least ten Tamiya P-47 Razorbacks. I have several Hasegawa, Monogram, and Otaki/Arii Razorbacks in the stash. The Tamiya is the best overall. Was it a Tamiya kit build or an AeroMaster Special decal release review?


P-47 Thunderbolt by Warren M. Bodie 1994

P-47 Thunderbolt Vol. I to IV Kagero Books

P-47 Thunderbolt In Action # 1018, 1067 & 1208 Squadron Signal Books

P-47 T-Bolt In Detail & Scale Vol. 54#   SS8254 Squadron Signal Books

Republic P-47 Thunderbolt 'Bubbletop' # 6128 Mushroom Model Books

P-47 Thunderbolt Aero Detail #14 Model Graphix Aero Detail Books

P-47 Thunderbolt Warpaint Special #1  Hall Park Books

P-47 Thunderbolt International Air Power Review Vol. 1 2001 

Andrew  Garcia

October 2011

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