Hasegawa 1/32 P-47D Thunderbolt
KIT #: ?
REVIEWER: Jim Larkin


Having already built Hasegawa’s 1/32 scale P-47D dressed up in Eagle Edition’s excellent “WooHoo” decals, the desire to do another Jug wasn’t on the “to do” list. That was until Lifelike came out with their “Tarheel Hal” set.


There isn’t any need to review Hasegawa’s superb P-47D; that has been extensively done by others already.

Right up there with paint schemes like the B-24 “The Dragon and His Tail” and the MiG-29 Fulcrum Farewell USA, the crazy rendition of the multi-colored “Tarheel Hal” was too much of a temptation to pass up. "Tarheel Hal" was flown by Lt. 'Ike' Davis of the 358th Fighter Group, 366th Fighters Squadron, 9th Air Force around May 1945 and based out of Sandhofen, Germany.


As with most kits, I started off upgrading the cockpit with Edward’s excellent interior set. Their colored instrument and side panels are better than anything I could render. Prior to applying the self-adhesive panels, (which still needed a bit of cyanoacrylate persuasion) the cockpit was sprayed with Model Master’s acrylic Zinc Chromate with a wash of burnt umber.

I thought about going with a heavily detailed engine however, after doing that to my “WooHoo” Jug only to see it all but disappear inside the cowling, I opted to go with just the basic kit engine. After spraying a black gloss coat to the cylinders, I high-lighted the cylinder heads with a dry-brushed Model Master steel enamel to pick out the cooling fins. 

The fit and finish of the kit is superb with no filler needed anywhere. I had a bit of a problem aligning the 4 cowl pieces but eventually got everything together.


My previous attempts at doing aluminum finishes left a lot to be desired but with plenty of tips from more experienced modelers, I forged ahead. Giving the whole plane a wet sanding with 2,000 grit, I then applied several light coats of Model Master Acrylic Gloss Black. After drying overnight, another wet sanding with 3,000 grit gave me a butter- smooth finish. Over a base coat of Alclad dark aluminum, I sectioned off various panels with sticky notes and sprayed Alclad aluminum, flat aluminum, aircraft aluminum, and white aluminum. I can’t praise Alclad enough. This stuff gives a very realistic finish and dries within minutes.

Through many previous attempts at painting yellows and reds, I learned the best technique is to first put down a base coat of flat white. This gives a base that negates the opaqueness usually experienced with applying yellow and red and reduces greatly the number of coats needed for coverage. After taping off the yellow painted cowl, I repainted the front of the cowl flat white and painted the red band.

The Lifelike decals give you 2 options for the cowl flaps. You can either use the red, white and blue star covered decal or the stars decal over your red, white and blue painted cowl flap. I went with option 2 because of the blue shade. More about that in a minute. Using the same technique I did on the cowl; flat white – gloss white – tape – red – tape – blue, the cowl flaps turned out perfect. Remember to use a toothpick to score the tape in the panel lines to prevent bleed-through. The same option is given for the propeller tips; either use the provided decals or paint them orange and red. I went with the later.

The only negative comment I can make about the Lifelike Decals is that the shade of blue is not specified. After copying the decal sheet on my color printer, I tried several shades of blue to match the aft-fuselage blue decal; all to no success. Believe it or not, the closest I could come was Model Master Navy Blue. Using a template cut from one of the copies of the decal sheet, I taped the aft-fuselage and applied the Navy Blue paint. Because of the size of the 1/32” Jug, the Lifelike decals gives you a tape template to use to paint the forward fuselage blue rather than a decal as they do for the smaller scales.

Finally I got to the orange tail assembly. After taping, (did I say I used a ton of tape during this project) I sprayed a base coat of flat white and then the orange. Allowing everything to dry for a day I sprayed several light coats of Future cut with 25% rubbing alcohol. I cut the Future because I’ve found it goes on smoother and dries faster.

The decals went on without a hitch, except for the Yellow “Tarheel Hal” overlay in front of the cockpit. Mine fell apart in the water and Dave from Victory Models was kind enough to provide me with a replacement. For the aft-fuselage blue, I cut the white and red border stripes off the decal sheet and applied them to the edge of the painted blue with no problem. A final coat of Future was followed with a light coat of Model Master Semi-gloss. I used M.V. Products railroad lenses for the position and landing lights on the lower wing.


In the end, I had a great time recreating one of the most colorful airplanes I ever attempted. Previously, I tried 3 times to do justice to George Preddy’s “Cripes A’ Mighty” using Dragon’s P-51D only to have all 3 crash on their test flight to the “Circular File”. So I didn’t think George would mind sitting on the cockpit sill of “Tarheel Hal” for the photo shoot.

Jim Larkin

December 2009

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