Minicraft/Hasegawa 1/72 P-47D Thunderbolt




$5.00 on the used kit market


One aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Reboxed Hasegawa kit


The P-47 was one of those aircraft that was initially not liked by fighter pilots. It was big, it was heavy, and it had really lame climbing performance. It was also not the best dogfighter around. This was especially the way the 4th fighter group felt when it transitioned from its nimble Spitfires to this 'behemoth'.

However, the Thunderbolt had several great qualities. One is that it could dive like no one's business, an attribute that helped many pilots who got into trouble with the enemy to disengage. Another was that it could take a lot of punishment. Thanks to the air cooled radial engine, it wasn't able to be knocked down by a single bullet through a coolant line. This made it perfect for ground attack and it was soon outfitted with wing bomb racks. It was with the tactical air force that the P-47 soon came into its own.

Though the type was continually improved in terms of more powerful engines and broader props to help the climbing situation, it never reached the 'hero' status of the P-51 or for that matter, the Spitfire. The type also soon disappeared rather quickly from the inventory after the war and while it was used by many other nations, simply did not have the longevity of the Mustang.


One of the first kits by Hasegawa to embrace the engraved panel line revolution of the early 1980s, the P-47 kit has held up rather well. Typical of what you find even today on Hasegawa 1/72 kits, there are decals for the instrument panel and not much else in the way of detailing for the cockpit section. Sure, there is a seat and instrument panel, that that is about it. It is very much a transition kit and really can benefit from a replacement cockpit. Fortunately, True Details does one at a very reasonable price. The canopy is a single piece, but clear enough to see the interior fairly well.

The gear doors are not separate and need to be cut . There is no real wheel well detail either, aside from a retraction strut molded into the inside of the upper wing. The kit comes with a pair of bombs for the molded in wing racks, or you can use the cylindrical 'paper' drop tanks that were used in Europe. One thing that has plagued pretty much all the various pressings of this kit are some sink marks on the wing. This kit has the full ailerons and flaps molded to the upper wing halves. This makes for some rather thick plastic in the flap areas. Even the initial pressings had a small sink mark on the underside flap area, others had some long ones on the upper flap. This one doesn't seem to have the upper wing sink mark though there is still a fairly long one on the underside that will need to filled if you are concerned.

Instructions are basically the same as the Japanese ones, but all the wording is in English. The kit includes a single set of decals for an unidentified unit. Based on the black fuselage stripe and the scalloped cowling, it could be with the 58th Fighter Group, but I am really not sure. The decal sheet is nicely printed which is a bit unusual for Scalemaster of the time as they were known for color bleeding into the clear carrier and off register kit decals. If you use the kit markings, you'll need to match the red for the forward cowling and paint the black fuselage stripe. There are plenty of aftermarket for this one.


Should you have built this kit nearly 40 years ago, you would find absolutely no difference. Since the kit only provides the pointy Curtiss-Electric prop, you do need to be careful what you pick for aftermarket markings or find the proper prop. You also cannot do the later -30 versions that have the long fin fillet or those retrofitted with it. Otherwise, it should easily prove to be a quick and painless build.

September 2018

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