Review: Tamiya 1/72 Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Bubbletop

History

The P-47, or ‘The Jug’ as it was commonly referred to was one of the largest and most powerful fighters of WW2. With a turbocharged 2,000 HP R-2800 radial engine it needed a large fuselage to accommodate the engine and associated plumbing. It was intended as an escort fighter but due to a number of reasons, most notably its maximum range, it was superseded in that role by the P-47 Mustang. It did excel in the Fighter-Bomber role, with its heavy armament of 4 .50 machine guns in each wing, wing mounted rockets/bombs and that huge engine on the front made it ideal for ground attacks.

This review

This review is a bit like how I want to write my reviews: a in-box and build review. I started building this kit before I started this website and I never thought of documenting the build process. But I’m halfway to two-thirds in building this kit.

The kit

This kit is the scaled down version of Tamiya’s 1/48 P-47D, and these kits have the reputation of being excellent. This kit is nothing short of excellent as I’ll show you in this review.

(Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Tamiya)

Now, let’s praise Tamiya for their excellent kit start this review.

The kit comes in the typical Tamiya box, and upon opening the box I’m greeted with a large bulge in the plastic bag. It’s the front cowling that’s molded in one piece. And let me tell you: It’s beautiful. Maybe I’m easily impressed, but my attention was never grabbed like this by a single part on a full sprue. This kit comes with a lot of options, you even have the option of mounting a Hamilton Standard or a symmetrical Curtiss-Electric prop. The prop is easily mounted with a poly cap inside the engine. The only thing you have to do is push the prop in. The enormous engine that’s hidden inside the cowling is also nicely detailed but it probably could do with some scratchbuilding as it seems a little ‘naked’.

The cockpit is another piece of work, nicely detailed and easy to build. It’s easy to mount the cockpit inside the fuselage thanks to some very helpful locating pins on the fuselage halves and I’ve had no trouble mounting the cockpit tub inside. Next are the fuselage halves.

Don’t forget the wing spar that holds the wings together!

This spar needs to be wedged in between the fuselage halves and as it’s visible in both gear bays it’s pretty important. It also offers more rigidity to the wings. It’s not possible to do it afterwards without some surgery. Don’t ask me how I know.

Other parts like armament, auxiliary fuel tanks and the landing gear look just as good as the aircraft itself and are easy to assemble. Just follow the nice and clean Tamiya instructions and you’ll be fine.

Clear parts

The canopy of this kit is nicely molded and doesn’t show any sign of distortion. There are a few other clear parts like the gun sight and some lenses for navigation and landing lights. All are equally well molded and although I didn’t try the lenses, the clear parts all fit well, requiring minimal to no filling whatsoever.

Decals

The decals of this kit are of a typical Tamiya quality. Nicely printed and in register. Even the instrument panel decal fits nicely on top of the instrument panel, as usual with Tamiya. Color wise there are two marking options:

  • 84 FS/78 FG
  • 551 FTS/495 FTG

Both come in a bare metal finish for the most part, the only other color needed is a black/green anti-glare ‘panel’ on top of the nose.

Conclusion

This is an outstanding kit and highly recommended to anyone. As usual with Tamiya, when building this kit and something doesn’t fit right the first question in your mind should be ‘What did I do wrong?’ and not the other way around. The only downside is the lack of a fully painted option because a good-looking aluminium finish is quite tricky to pull off.

Score

9/10

Links

Gallery

 

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