Academy 1/48 P-47N Thunderbolt
|PRICE:||$8.00 on the clearance table|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The war in the Pacific demanded greater fighter ranges than in Europe. Therefore, the third YP-47M was fitted with a new longer-span wet wing featuring squared-off wingtips as the XP-47N. The USAAF placed an order for 1,900 P-47Ns on June 20, 1944, two days before the prototype was first flown, and many more orders followed, deliveries began in September 1944. 1,816 P-47Ns were built in six production blocks, with orders for an additional 5,934 aircraft being canceled after VJ Day. The final P-47 rolled off the production line in December 1945.
This was a fairly early Academy kit, produced after the company had stopped copying other kit makers products. It also had the disadvantage of being released about the same time as Monogram's ProModeler offering. The external detailing is quite good with the usual engraved panel lines. Interior stuff, not so much as it seems quite a bit 'softer'.
The interior builds into a tub with the rudder pedals integral to the instrument panel piece. No decal for the main instrument panel so you might want to get an aftermarket panel for this one. No seat belts either. The cockpit tub is then trapped in the fuselage halves.
Construction moves to the wings. You have panels for access to the guns, though I'm sure most of us will glue these shut. There are holes to open for the rocket tubes and/or the wing pylons. There are zero length rocket stubs molded onto the bottom of the wing. You also need to install the lower wing ID lights before closing the wings. The gun barrels that extend past the wing leading edge consist of an insert and separate barrels. There are separate wing tip formation light lenses.
With the wings done, those, the tailplanes and various antennas are attached. There is the option for open or closed waste gate doors. Next is the engine and cowling. The cowling is split into a right and left half, leaving a seam that will be tricky to deal with. I'm not sure why Academy didn't do a single piece cowling.
Last construction steps involve the windscreen and canopy, the landing gear, and the prop. There are optional weighted wheels for the gear and the canopy can be posed open. For things under wings we have multiple options in terms of bombs, rockets and drop tanks with several bomb and tank sizes offered. Two of the tank options can be attached to the centerline rack. One of those two tanks are the 'paper' tanks as used in Europe so are probably not applicable to the N model.
Instructions are well done with generic color info and detail drawings to help with alignment/placement of some parts. A single marking option is provided for the box art plane from the 456th Fighter Squadron/414th Fighter Group based on Iwo Jima in August of 1945. All the yellow and the black fuselage stripe will need to be painted. The decals look good, but I'd be wary of them as I've had stick issues with early Academy decals. Fortunately, there are/were aftermarket decals produced for this aircraft.
When this kit and the ProModeler versions came out almost at the same time, there was considerable debate as to which was better than the other. Many sided with the Monogram offering, though it was stated that the Academy kit provided more options. I've seen both built and when finished, there really was little to choose between them. Both this and a later boxing are widely available in the $25-30.00 price range.
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