Halberd Models 1/48 XP-47H Thunderbolt

KIT #: 48019
PRICE: $55.00
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Tom Cleaver
NOTES: Conversion for Tamiya kit


Chrysler began development of a massive new liquid-cooled engine in early 1940, which became the Chrysler XIV-2220, offering 2,500hp. To simplify things, Chrysler decided to put two V-8s together inline, producing an inverted 16-cylinder engine 10 feet long. The technical complications were considerable and development was slowed by US entry into the war which saw Chrysler involved in producing many other weapons.

By 1943 Chrysler received permission to put their new engine in an airplane; two P-47Ds were handed over for conversion and testing.

The XIV-2220 was long and heavy and was to be fitted with a complex, bulky turbo-supercharger; it estimated the XP-47H would be capable of speeds in excess of 490mph. The conversion was carried out at Republic. The new engine was long in contrast to the R-2800; the XP-47H needed a long cowling and propeller spinner, which gave the aircraft a “shark-nose” appearance. The fuselage was deepened for the additional piping for the exhaust-driven General Electric CH-5 turbocharger. The major changes to the fuselage meant the conversions took an extended time to complete, while development work on the engine continued.

Despite the hopes of excellent performance, the XP-47H was relegated to being a test program that by 1944 wasn’t considered of huge importanceas as it became apparent that existing types, including the P-47, were more than capable of winning the war; effort was focused on improving these aircraft than on developing the complex XP-47H.

The first flight of the XP-47H didn’t occur until late July 1945. The flight test program on the first aircraft only ran for a few months, during which the XP-47H showed that it would need more work before it would ever be close to a reliable service aircraft.

One one flight in September 1945, the XP-47H recorded a speed of 490mph at 35,000 feet. However, by then the P-80 was entering production. The second XP-47H never flew, and both aircraft were soon scrapped. The two engines are now in museums.


The XP-47H has interested modelers for a long time, mostly due to its strange shape. Bill Koster made a vacuform conversion to be used with the Monogram P-47 when it was released in 1969, which is the only 1/48 XP-47H until Halberd Models made this conversion. There have been other limited run kits in 1/72 scale.

Halberd Models has rapidly placed itself in the top ranks of resin manufacturers with their conversion kits for oddball versions of well-known airplanes, and their full-resin kits for other airplanes like the Curtiss SC-1 Seahawk.

This conversion uses the Tamiya P-47D “Razorback” kit (61086) and is a drop-fit conversion that completely replaces the fuselage of the Tamiya kit. The conversion parts are in green resin, and are the same thickness as the plastic parts they replace, with similar surface detail. The conversion’s simple design, easy cleanup and lack of even minimal surgery to create the model means minimal modeling experience is required for the project.

Be aware that Andrey, the owner of Halberd, is doing this work in Kyiv, which is under bombardment by the invading forces of the fascist pig Vladimir Putin. When making your order, do so knowing that it might take time for fulfillment, while enough orders come in for a production run. It will be worth the wait.


The project is the essence of simplicity. I began with the Tamiya cockpit, which I painted and assembled. I used an Eduard photoetch seatbelt here.

I then glued the cockpit in position in the fuselage and also attached the Tamiya spar assembly. If you take care in assembling the fuselage, gluing it a few inches at a time, it can be done without need of any putty, merely needing to have the centerline seam scraped down. I test fitted and modified the airscoop part so it also fit without need of putty.

I then assembled the Tamiya wings according to instructions, painting the wheel well and inner gear doors with Mr. Color 352 Chromate Yellow Primer. I then attached the wings, using CA glue to attach them to the fuselage. I finished off by attaching the horizontal stabilizers from the Tamiya kit.


After pre-shading the panel lines with Tamiya X-18 “Semi-gloss Black,” I painted the model using Tamiya Lacquer LP-28 “Olive Drab” for the upper surfaces, and Mr. Color 13, “Neutral Gray” for the lower surfaces. Since the real thing didn’t get used much, I didn’t do any other shading.

I painted the prop spinner red and white using Tamiya acrylics.

Halberd provides serial number decals for both airplanes. I used the decals for the first airplane, the one that flew, 223297. The national markings on the XP-47H were smaller than the standard P-47 national markings, so I used insignia decals for the P-51, which fit perfectly.

I gave the model an overall coat of flat varnish, then attached the landing gear, unmasked the canopy and attached it in the open position, assembled the prop blades to the spinner and attached that.


This conversion is so easy it would be a perfect first conversion project for a modeler of any experience. The result is a hulking monster that will look like nothing else on your shelf. It took me a whole three days over the holiday to finish this. Recommended for any modeler interested in strange aircraft.

Tom Cleaver

11 January 2024

Review kit courtesy of Halberd Models.

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