Hasegawa 1/48 P-47M Thunderbolt

KIT #: 09572
PRICE: Around$40.00 MSRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Patrick Grué
NOTES: Techmod 48012S, and Eduard  FE354 Zoom used


When Republic Aviation conceived the Thunderbolt in 1940, it seemed to go against all the current norms in term of design, which called for light weight and streamlined fighters. The “Juggernaut” was certainly the largest and heaviest single-engine aircraft during WWII, and also the most produced fighter in USA with 15,683 being built. The XP-47B prototype made its maiden flight on 6 May 1941.

Early Thunderbolts suffered many problems such as stability until the engine was shifted forward, unsatisfactory control surfaces, and also problems of canopy opening and tire bursting at landing. These teething troubles were progressively corrected on the P-47C and finally overcome with introduction of the P-47D. This most produced version introduced a new water-methanol injection system, a better turbo-supercharger unit, stronger tires and a universal wing allowing the Jug to carry both bombs and drop tanks.

Though these improvements did significantly increase its range, the Jug was unable to escort US bombers all the way over Germany, a role better played by P-51s Mustang and P-38s Lightning. However the Jug played an essential role as a ground-attack aircraft, especially against German airfields to reduce the workload of the long-range escort fighters.

 In July 1943 the P-47D received its most significant and visible modification, the adoption of a bubble canopy instead of the framed glass canopy so-called “razorback”. The P-47D-25 sub-versions were the first to receive this improvement which became very appreciated by the pilots due to the excellent rear visibility. The reshape of the fuselage aft section introduced another problem of lateral stability at low speed that was corrected by addition of a dorsal fin on the P-47D-30 sub-versions.

In the summer of 1944, Republic was informed of the British request for a high speed interceptor specifically to chase down and destroy the V-1 flying bombs. Republic already had a solution in hand one year before with the XP-47J (one demonstrator built) and the YP-47M. Based on the P-47D-27/ -28/ -30 airframes, the YP-47M was developed for superior speed and rate of climb over standard Jugs. In fact it was a coincidence that the YP-47M was available when the V-1s began to fall on London.

The P-47M was fitted with a high output version of the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engine, the R-2800-57. This engine could reach 2,800 hp at 2,800 rpm over 30,000 feet in war emergency power and, coupled with the new Curtiss Electric C642S-B40 propeller (13 feet diameter), could give the P-47M a top speed of 470 mph (756 kph).

It was originally developed without wing pylons unnecessary to chase the V-1s, but once free of that duty refitted them to carry bombs or drop tanks. Because of its short range (530 miles), the P-47M should carry drop tanks to give it a comparable range to the late P-47Ds without drop tanks (1030 miles).

However the M-type was developed too late in the war to make much of a combat contribution in the European Theater Operation. It entered into service in January 1945 and only with the 56th Fighter Group which was in a way the sole test unit of the P-47M.

Republic Aviation built 130 P-47Ms at Farmingdale plant (Long Island, N.Y.).


This kit was a limited-series released in 2004. It features 113 parts: 102 parts in grey plastic, 8 in transparent plastic, 2 in photo-etched for the airbrakes, 1 in resin for the additional “N type” dorsal fin. There is one decal sheet for two options:

When looking at the sprues, it is funny to note that one is dedicated to the F4U Corsair. Among the 20 parts of the F4U sprue, only 3 are used for the P-47 engine parts, the other parts are for F4U cockpit and tail wheel. Well, some spare parts for a F4U project…

There are 48 parts in the Eduard p-e sheet; some of them are painted. This p-e sheet is dedicated to the Tamiya kit and seems necessary since the Hasegawa cockpit is poorly detailed.



I noticed that some original Hasegawa parts such as the breakers panel (LH console) and the storage box (RH console) were very undersized and closer to 1/72 than 1/48 if compared with p-e parts. Obviously the photo-etched sheet is necessary here. Originally the cockpit floor doesn't feature ridges since the P-47D. It is smooth. However I decided not to modify it.

The p-e instrument panel needs to be filed on LH and RH wedges to fit correctly inside the fuselage. I added some details on the aft bulkhead such as a stiffener (lozenge shape) and a recessed horizontal line on the shoulder position. Some electrical wires and the oxygen hose are also added.

Don’t use the ridiculous transparent sight (part #U1) which is too small. Use the grey sight (part #N1) and identified as “part not for use” that suits in fact better.

Most of the parts are painted in interior green (Hu #158) with a wash of dark earth/ black acrylics in the recessed lines and a final silver dry-brush.


There are only 7 parts for the engine. The rear cylinders row is half-cut and molded with its fire-wall bulkhead. Tamiya made the rear cylinders row separately which is better, but it is not important as you can’t see all details behind the first cylinders row when the engine is inside the cowling.

The engine could be a kit itself if you try to add all the ignition wires to the huge 18-cylinder radial engine. To have a more detailed engine at this scale, I cut 36 copper wires of 0.75 inch long. Then I drilled 36 little holes in the ignition wire sleeve ring and 36 more in the 18 cylinders (one hole in front face and another in rear face). Then I glued all the wires.

Engine painting:

Hasegawa suggests two types of Curtiss-Electric prop: the paddle blades model C642S (the big ones to choose here) and the standard blades (maybe the model C542S). The blades are independent so as you can adjust the pitch. I drilled dozens of holes on each blade basement to represent the cuff fittings. I also drilled four holes on the spinner.

Fuselage and wings:

The two fuselage halves fit correctly with the cockpit inside. However there is a flaw when the wings are glued on the fuselage: the front seam between wings and belly needs a lot of putty and sanding.

Landing gear and wheel well:

All landing gear parts are correct except the torque link which must be replaced by the p-e parts. I added the brake wires as usually. Note that there is a molding mistake in the wheel well: Hasegawa reversed the position of the L/G actuator in such a way that the actuator rod can’t act on the leg (can’t work that way!).

I discovered that when my Jug was quite finished (damned flaw!). So I removed the wrong molded part in each well and put a new rod in the right position. I added also some hydraulic pipes on the actuators.

Yellow zinc chromate color is obtained by mixing “Linen” yellow (Hu #74) with a touch of bright green.


Techmod decal sheet suggests two nose art options: one for a 56th FG/ 61st FS a/c nicknamed “Dottie Dee II” (my choice), and the other for a 56th FG/ 63rd FS a/c nicknamed “Ugly Ducking”. Both wear the lovely two shades of blue camouflage.

The camouflage scheme is made of intermediate blue/ azure blue over natural metal finish. I started to airbrush the lower surfaces including the wing & stab leading edge upper surfaces using Hu #27002. Then I put the masks for the camo pattern; the lighter color (azure blue Hu #89) airbrushed first then the darker color (intermediate blue Hu #157).

The decals are correctly printed but are subject to silvering, which needs some cut out around the identification codes. The big nose art can't fix on the cowling without crumpling. So you have to cut it out from its white disk, paint the disk directly on the cowling using a circular mask and then put the nose art.


Weathering of my Jug has been made using a mixture of midnight blue acrylics with water on a sharp brush, with additional touch of dark earth/ black acrylics on greasy & smoky parts.  


On what I read, Tamiya 1/48 P-47D is better. Nevertheless this Hasegawa kit is cheaper and finally a good base with some corrections and improvements.


Hasegawa 1/32 P-47D by Tom Cleaver, November 2007

Tamiya 1/48 P-47M by Oishi

YP-47M-1-RE of the Yanks Air Museum

P-47D photos

Curtiss-Electric web site

Patrick Grué

April 2010

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