Hasegawa 1/48 P-47D 'South Pacific Theater'
KIT #: 09058 (Jt 58)
PRICE: $30.00
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Spiros Pendedekas
NOTES: 1999 Edition


One of the heaviest single engine fighters of WWII, the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was produced by Republic Aviation from 1941 through 1945. Designed around the powerful Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp 18-cylinder radial engine, it featured an advanced turbo-supercharger system that ensured the aircraft's eventual dominance at high altitude. Its primary armament was eight .50-caliber machine guns, and in the fighter-bomber ground-attack role it could carry 5-inch rockets or a bomb load of 2,500 lb (1,100 kg). Its armored cockpit was relatively roomy and comfortable.

The P-47 was one of the main USAAF fighters of World War II, excelling in both European and Pacific theaters, not only as a short-to medium-range escort fighter in high-altitude air-to-air combat, but also in ground attack. It additionally served with other Allied air forces, including those of France, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union. Mexican and Brazilian squadrons fighting alongside the USAAF also flew the P-47. A total of 15,636 units of this successful plane were built.


Hasegawa came in 1996 with its fine bubble canopy quarter scale P-47 series, followed by the “Razorback” version in 1998. Since then those kits have been reboxed more than 20 times in total, offering many interesting decal schemes, some of the reboxings being of the “limited Edition” type, per the standard (and very nice) Hasegawa style. My copy was the 1998 Razorback "South Pacific Theatre" Edition, bought from my usual Athens hobby shop back then.

The kit comes in a top opening medium sized box of excellent quality, with a Koike Shigeo (as always superb) box art, featuring P-47D-3-RA "Darling Dottie III" of 348th Fighter Group attacking a Mitsubishi Betty formation. Upon opening the box, I was greeted with 85 dark gray styrene parts, arranged in 12 sprues of various sizes. The sprues arrangement obviously reflects Hasegawa’s approach to use as many common sprues as possible at both the Bubble Top and Razorback editions, with the "differentiating" parts arranged in their own sprues. 

Molding of the typical somehow hard Hasegawa plastic is crisp with panel lines finely recessed and no flash whatsoever. I did not find any ejector pin marks at any visible area. All sprues are sealed together in a single bag (again, per the usual Hasegawa style), meaning some potential scratches. At least the clear sprue is separately sealed, together with the decal sheet

General shape of parts looks correct, with the exception of the aircraft's 'keel' that is not deep enough (Hasegawa did not account for additional depth added for the plumbing needed, in order for the type’s modification to carry a drop tank).

Cockpit is well appointed, featuring instrument panel with molded on dials, gun sight, seat with separate rear frame, stick, rudder pedals, rear bulkhead with separate cushion, sidewalls with molded on details and separate throttle quadrant. A nice decal is to be affixed onto the instrument panel and succumb onto each dial, should you wish so (which is not a bad idea, as Hasegawa instrument decals are typically accurate and succumb well onto the molded dials). Apart from adding some seat belts, the cockpit will look sufficient out of the box for most of us.

Landing gear is also very well executed, the wheels feature the correct rims for the version and the bays are fully boxed featuring adequate internal detail. I would not bother if hasegawa provided brake lines, either molded onto those nice gear legs or separate. The engine, another most prominent feature of the P-47, is equally nicely represented with good dept and believable representation of the left/right oil filter meshes, the only thing missing being ignition harnesses.

The drop tank with its sway braces and plumbing looks very nice and the same can be said for the propeller which seems to be the correct one for the version. The blades are separately given, possibly due to Hasegawa’s approach to retain the commonly used hub and provide different blades, in order to cater for the different prop types. Though in general building a prop increases build complexity and demands good alignment, in the case of Hasegawa, prop assembly is most of the times a breeze. The very effective poly caps are also present for securing the assembled prop to the engine.

Clear parts are excellently molded and crystal clear. Instructions come at the usual nice and totally comprehensive Hasegawa pamphlet, containing a short history of the type, a parts list, with the construction spread in 9 very clear steps. Color callouts are given throughout in Gunze and Mr Color codes.

Two very attractive 348th Fighter Group Pacific schemes are provided, #22637 “DARLING DOTTIE III” and Col. Neel E. Kearby’s (Squadron C/O) #28145 “Fiery Ginger”. Both are basically olive drab over neutral gray with white fins, with "Darling Dottie III" also featuring a silver rear fuselage. The decals have the white represented as “ivory”, which might bother a number of modelers, but are otherwise superbly printed, not looking too thick, with time seeming not to have affected them in any way.

Instructions want you to first assemble the cockpit and trap it between the fuselage halves, followed by attaching the horizontal stabilizers. The main bays are next assembled and trapped between the wing halves, with the assembled wing attached underneath the fuselage immediately after.

The landing gear and drop tank are next assembled and attached, with the engine, cowling, prop and transparencies to follow, ending a very straight forward and seemingly uncomplicated build.


Apart from the “keel” depth (something that might not bother too much a number of us, Yours Truly included), this venerable kit looks to be a very good representation of the iconic Thunderbolt. Overall shape (keel depth excluded) looks correct, detail is really nice in general and especially at the key areas of cockpit, landing gear and engine, molding is superb, transparencies are great and the schemes are really interesting. Decals exhibit the “ivorizing” white Hasegawa phenomenon, but are otherwise very good.

Posing no real challenges during construction and generally building well, as you can see at the MM archives reviews, this is a kit worth building.

Happy modeling!

Spiros Pendedekas

August 2022

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