Revell AG 1/72 P-47D-30 Thunderbolt
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Without going into a lot of detail, the P-47 was probably America's finest ground attack fighter of the war. Though originally designed as an escort fighter with a turbocharged engine to allow it to fly at high altitudes, its short range, even with drop tanks meant that it was unable to escort bombers on missions that went very far into enemy territory. It wasn't until the advent of the P-51 Mustang into that role (after a lot of political wrangling) that the US had a true escort fighter.
The P-47 then spent the last year of the war performing admirably in the ground attack mission, where its robust construction and heavy firepower from its eight .50 caliber machine guns would inflict a lot of damage on whatever was in its sights.
The Revell AG kit has been around for a while and is one of those that is often overlooked by many modelers. It is of a reasonable cost and provides what seems to be very good detail. As it is a D-30 variant, it comes with the spoked wheels, Curtiss-Electric asymmetrical prop and the option of adding the fin fillet, something that, I believe is not available in any other P-47D in this scale.
The engraved detail is quite well done and it seems RoG has done their homework in getting this one right. The cockpit is quite complete with a floor, seat, rear bulkhead, control column and a nicely detailed instrument panel with rudder pedals. There is well done detail on the cockpit side walls. Detail can also be found in the main gear wells and though a tad generic, the engine is also nicely done. The tail wheel well is a separate piece that includes the doors molded in so no problem getting that done right. A two piece canopy/windscreen is provided so that the interior detail can be shown. This kit also provides the turbocharger exhaust side doors as separate bits and shows them in the open position. The wing pylons are separate and you have the option of a flat centerline tank and either bombs or wing tanks for the pylons. I should mention that my kit had quite a bit of flash. The engine cowling, wing guns, instrument panel, canopy, and some other bits being particularly noticeable.
The instructions are those usual top-folded booklet types that I have come to really dislike. Fortunately, the paper quality has improved. Construction steps are well drawn and color information (in Revell paints of course) is provided. Only two of the 15 shades required need to be mixed and generic names are given so you can use alternates if you can figure out what colors like 'Anthricite Grey' really are. A nice decal sheet is provided giving markings for the box art plane from the 509 FS/407 FG in unpainted metal, and a French version from GC II/5 in OD over neutral grey. The decals are well printed and matte, offering all the data markings and stripes needed. The modeler will have to paint most of the red bits on the initial offering.
For this kit, I decided to use one of those Eduard 'Zoom' sets. These are basically cockpit bits and some other external details. It does not include flaps, replacement gear doors and other such things. A very nice way to get into using photo-etch, though even these sets have a lot of small parts. This set is for the P-47M, so I can't use the name plate that makes up about 20% of the mass of the fret, but other than that, the parts are all basically the same.
To use this set, several bits need to have molded on detail scraped off. This includes the seat and the instrument panel. Application of these parts is really quite simple. If the area will be under stress, I use super glue. If it isn't, I use clear paint. Once it dries, it is able to handle a bit of work without falling apart and you don't glue your fingers together with paint!
You need to remove the kit head armor as well to replace it with the etched bit. Same for the turbocharger intake screens on the lower engine mount piece and the landing gear oleo scissors. The set comes with rear drop tank stabilizers but I don't think the wing tanks on the P-47 used them. At least I don't see any photos of them. These are used with the longer, P-38 style tanks that are used on the P-47N, so perhaps if your kit has these tanks they'd be applicable.
Because of the photo-etch, the construction time was about quadruple what it would normally be. For some reason, if I add PE or resin aftermarket, the build time is substantially longer than the norm.
Once I had enough bits in place with the interior, I painted everything with a darkened Testors US Interior Green enamel. Then I used black and a few other colors to paint some of the various bits as shown in the instruction. When all this was dry, I attached the acetate instruments to the back of the etched panel (using clear paint) and painted the back gloss white so you could see the instrument. When dry, this was cemented to the instrument panel. At this point, I should mention that the instrument panel section had more flash than 'the singer once known as Prince'. Flash was evident in some other parts, but not as much as on the instrument panel.
With the cockpit bits properly painted, washed and dry brushed, it was glued to one fuselage half. I opened the notch for the spine antenna, glued it in and then cemented the fuselage halves together. Next, the fin fillet was glued in place after trimming it back a tad as it was too long, bumping into the fuselage antenna. The fillet had several sink areas that needed filled as did the fuselage, mostly opposite alignment pins. Wings were glued together without opening any holes aside from those for the drop tanks. Other holes are for the P-47M kit as it has rockets as well and I wish I had those for this one as I could have used them.
The wings were then glued in place and the fit was very good. I then assembled and painted the engine (steel), running the prop shaft through it. It was then glued to the firewall section, which was glued to the forward fuselage. Again, a very good fit. Tail planes were next and while the fit is good, it isn't as tight as the wings.
Meanwhile, I glued the turbocharger intake section into the lower cowling. This had been rather badly damaged during shipment and when I tried to fit the cowling as a test fit, the small 'arms' that went towards the rear caused the cowling to not fit all the way. I removed these bits and the cowling fit was better. Though shown as being chromate, I painted the inside of the cowling with a rather greasy dark grey, figuring that oil would have been slung all over the place in there during ops. The cowling was then painted white, followed by yellow as shown in the decal markings guide. I also painted the rudder white then yellow at this time.
Then I glued on the windscreen and the canopy after masking them. The windscreen was attached with standard glue, but the canopy section was tacked in place with white glue. While this was drying, I glued the oleo scissors to the landing gear struts and the bomb braces to the wing pylons. These pylons were then put on after sanding down the leading edge attachment. They fit better on the opposite wings from what was shown in the instructions. There are no etched sway braces for the center fuel tank so those inserts were glued in place as they were. Then the wheel wells and inside gear doors were painted with yellow chromate primer. I then stuffed the wheel wells with tissue and covered the engine with tape before heading for the paint shop.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
As with the majority of P-47 Bubbletops, this one would be unpainted metal. But first I had to paint the rudder which was first painted white then yellow. Same with the cowling and I did the prop tips at the time. After drying, that was masked. For the rest of the airframe I used Alclad II Aluminum as it is a nice dark color of weathered aluminum. As was pointed out in the Forum, old aluminum weathers to a pretty solid shade with only those panels treated for high heat being a different shade. With this in mind. I painted the entire airframe with Aluminum and then masked off some of the high heat areas around the turbocharger with Dark Aluminum.
I then touched up the zinc chromate yellow bits where the aluminum had snuck under the masking. The main gear were then glued in place as was the tail wheel well insert. This was followed by the wheels. Once those were dry, the main gear doors were cut and glued in place. Fit of all these components is really quite good, though I did have the inner gear doors fall off a couple of times.
I then masked off the upper area to be painted black and sprayed that area. I was careful to mask the canopy and windscreen frames to keep them in Aluminum. It was difficult to mask the fin fillet so that required some additional work once the black had dried. I also painted the upper cowling. When dry, the canopy was removed and the area under it touched up with matte black. I had painted the area under the canopy with Interior Green, but following a comment from Lee Kolosna that this should be black (just as Mustang wheel wells and inner gear doors should be bare metal), I quickly repainted that area as to not look too stupid!
Now for the decals. I used Eurodecals 72-104: USAF Occupation Germany. In it are two Thunderbolt options. Both are supposed to be from the 527 FBS/86 FBW. I chose the one with the yellow bits because it had a Buzz Number on it. No other reason. The decals went on well and succumbed to Solvaset without any trouble. I did note two areas of concern. One was the shade of the yellow stripe. Though I matched my paint to the drawings, the stripe is a lighter shade. In fact, all of the colors seem a bit light and you can see this in the insignia, where the blue is also lighter than Insignia Blue. Not a bit deal, but I should have paid more attention and matched my colors to the decals and not the instructions. The other is that the fuselage insignia are broken down to go into the side fuselage exhaust. One of the bits that fits inside, has the wrong distance between the red, white, and blue bits. Looks odd and since only one set of Thunderbolt (and Mustang) insignia is provided, there is no other option but to use it. I also used a few of the Revell kit stencils as Eurodecals provides none. I found the Revell ones to be quite matte and the red 'No Step' markings for the inner flaps are too small for the kit, a rather odd set of circumstances. Only a few were used.
I had to do some touch-up painting as I found a few areas of overspray. The prop had the Revell decals put on it and left to dry after painting the spinner yellow. I reattached the small sway braces that fell off after initially installed prior to painting. I also fit on the rear tank brace, but in the stowed position. These were only used on much larger drop tanks. I also was unable to bend the tips flush against the pylon as shown in the few photos I found. I also noted a few places where I'd had a bit of glue hit. I sanded some of these down and carefully resprayed. Then the pitot tube was installed along with an MV lens in place of the landing light. I attached the rear view mirror with white glue and used the same substance for the canopy. The final act was to remove the masking from the clear bits, push on the prop (which didn't want to fit so I had to trim the shaft to a nub to get it on) and the model was complete.
I enjoy these group build kits. It gives me an opportunity to build something that I otherwise may not have bothered with. The inclusion of the etched fret, small as it was added about 2 weeks to the build time. It is just the way it is with me and aftermarket. The more aftermarket the longer the build time. Actually, I should extend that to include multi-media kits as they include P.E. and resin and metal bits as well. Those take me a long time as well.
The Revell AG P-47 was as nice a build as the other fairly recent (as in last ten years), kits I've done from them and at a most reasonable price in today's market. It is a kit that I can recommend, regardless of your personal abilities.
I bought this for you to see how nice a model this inexpensive kit can make.
#1411 in a series
My thanks to Fantasy Printshop for the decal sheet.
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