Hasegaswa 1/48 P-47D '47th Fighter Squadron'
|PRICE:||2400 yen SRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||1999 Limited Edition|
The P-47 was the culmination of work based on the P-41and P-43 to produce a viable turbosupercharged radial engine fighter. The turbosupercharging system took up a goodly amount of space which resulted in a very large fighter. The reason for all this was to provide a fighter that could operate at high altitudes as most standard aircraft engines started starving from the lack of air much above 20,000 feet. It also made for a fairly fuel thirsty aircraft. Until the addition of auxiliary fuel tanks the range of the Thunderbolt was fairly short and even with additional fuel was unable to escort 8th Air Force bombers to targets deep in Germany.
One area the Thunderbolt proved to be of great use was in the ground attack mission. Its radial engine was less prone to damage from light anti-aircraft fire and it was able to haul a goodly amount of ordnance. P-47s did see some combat in the CBI and in the Pacific theater where units were based on islands to help to secure those islands from those enemy forces still active nearby. As such, Pacific P-47s saw almost no air to air action. Those in the CBI were a little better off in this regard, but by the time the P-47 made it to what was considered a 'backwater' theater, the air threat from the enemy was pretty well gone.
Believe it or not, I've never built a Hasegawa Thunderbolt. Perhaps because the aircraft just does not 'grab' me as do other aircraft. When initially released in the late 1990s, it was highly praised. A bit later it was discovered that the aircraft's 'keel' wasn't deep enough. This additional depth was added when the type was modified in the factory to carry a drop tank and the extra space was needed for the plumbing. The majority of modelers did not notice this glitch until the Tamiya kit was released which had this additional depth.
The kit has a nicely done cockpit with separate sidewalls which contain additional detail. A decal is provided for the instrument panel if you don't want to paint it. The cockpit floor is flat where I think it should be curved. This is trapped in the fuselage halves. The instructions are ambiguous about the interior and wheel well colors calling for either a green or yellow. Inner gear wells are separate pieces that fit into the single lower wing onto which the upper wing halves are attached. Gun barrels are all separate and are aligned with the leading edge of the wing instead of being a bit off as on the real deal.
Landing gear are well done with the tail gear attached to the well that includes the tail wheel doors. Main gear offers either spoked or plain wheels. The wing pylons are separate and you have bombs to attach to them. A large, flat centerline style fuel tank is also provided. The engine is a full set of forward cylinders with half cylinders behind them. A polycap is hidden in the engine gear box so you can push the prop in place. For the prop you are provided an asymmetrical Curtiss-Electric version. Windscreen and canopy are separate, but I believe the canopy is too thick to pose open.
Standard fare for the instructions. You have two options. One is the box art plane in unpainted metal with an OD anti-glare panel. All the fancy markings save for the forward cowling, wing tips, and cowl flaps are provided on the sheet. The other is an OD over neutral grey plane with white tail section and forward wings. This is the 340th FS 'Pride of Lodi Ohio'. Decals are nicely printed and old school with off white whites.
Thanks to the release of the Tamiya kit, this one is often shunned by modelers. It will still make into a nice model for your display shelf and can often be found at a reasonable price. I should also mention that if you want to do a P-47C or an early D, this would be a good option as one only really has to modify the cowl flaps.
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