Hobby Boss 1/72 P-47D 'Razorback'
|Scott Van Aken
|Easy Assemble Authentic Kit
The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was the largest, heaviest, and most expensive fighter aircraft in history to be powered by a single piston 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, and in the fighter-bomber ground attack roles could carry five inch rockets or a significant bomb load of 2,500 pounds; over half the weight the B-17 bomber could carry on long-range missions (although the B-17 had a far greater range). The P-47, based on the powerful Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine, was to be very effective as a short-to-medium range escort fighter in high-altitude air-to-air combat and, when unleashed as a fighter-bomber, proved especially adept at ground attack in both the World War II European and Pacific Theaters.
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, notably those of France, Britain, and Russia. Mexican and Brazilian squadrons fighting alongside the U.S. were equipped with the P-47.
It has been a while since I have seen any of Hobby Boss' easy assemble kits. I found the ones I built in the past to be nicely detailed, but as is typical of the genre, the seams are quite large. A bit of filler takes care of the seams so for most modelers, this is not an issue. Being basically a snap kit, the cockpit detail is minimal at best and is all molded into the fuselage piece. There is no forward depth to it past the area where the instrument panel would be. There is a separate seat that would benefit from some belts.
The kit includes two wing pylons that hold long range tanks. Perhaps some bombs would have been a nice option. There is also a centerline tank. I am not sure if Hobby Boss got the keel right so I will wait for those who know more than I to make that determination. Landing gear are sturdy and have separate wheels and doors. The attachment points are all large and the canopy is a single piece so no open cockpits on this.
The kit comes with the DF antenna which is not appropriate for the box art plane as this feature was generally only used in the Pacific. I should also point out that according to the serial numbers on the planes, both of these are P-47D-23-RA aircraft and not the D-20-RE as mentioned in the instructions. These planes both had Curtiss-Electric props and not the Hamilton Standard that is supplied in the kit. It would have been nice if both were included, but for those who want to have an accurate aircraft using the kit decals a replacement prop will have to be found.
Markings are for two planes. One is the box art plane listed as the 361 FS/356 FG with the Sth Air Force. I know they mean 8th, but that is how it is printed. You will need to paint the white tail stripes, and I have a feeling it should have a white stripe on the fin as well for that was a standard marking. The other is an unpainted metal plane with a black upper fuselage and black stripes on the wings and fuselage (break out the paint or decal stripes) of William Dunham with the 348 FG in December 1944, not 1943 as stated in the instructions. This is the last of his Thunderbolts. Markings are nicely printed though the fuselage insignia do not take into consideration the waste gate doors on the fuselage side and to my eyes, seem to have too thin a surround.
This is a nicely done kit, but continues the Hobby Boss tradition of not being exactly right in some form or another; in this case it is the prop. Gone also is the plastic tray, but Hobby Boss has foam wrapped the wings to protect the guns and the fuselage to protect the radio mast, so no worries on those items being broken in shipment.
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