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High Planes Models 1/72 scale Republic P-47N Thunderbolt

Kit: No. 72022
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: High Planes Models, 127 Wheeler St., Corryong, Victoria 3707, Australia, 61-60-76-1961
Price: A$18 (about $13) plus postage
Comments: Injection molded, 30 parts (2 resin, 3 white metal, 1 vacuum-formed plastic), decals.

While builders of 1/48 scale kits have enjoyed two fine kits of the extended-range N-model "jug" (Academy and ProModeler), we small-scale fellows have had to deal with the ancient Heller kit from the early 1970s. Not anymore.

High Planes offers relief in a new, limited-run, injection-molded kit. It features fine recessed panel detail, top-quality white-metal landing-gear struts, fine resin wheels, and well-printed decals for two F-47Ns of the Georgia Air Guard from the late 1940s. The instructions provide two rough exploded-view drawings, assembly notes, and left-side- and topside-markings drawings.

While the exterior of the light-blue plastic parts is admirable, the interiors present assembly problems. The instructions advise "reducing the thickness of the inner-upper surface and the top of the wheel wells to achieve a good fit." Amen. Without this adjustment, the wing halves stand 1/16" apart.
I also had to pare down the sides of the cockpit floor to get it to fit inside the fuselage halves. Lots of trimming was needed on the cockpit's rear bulkhead (also noted in the instructions) and plenty of time was used to clean up the edges of all plastic parts.

I had to drill holes in the resin wheels and the plastic wings for the metal gear struts. No machine-gun barrels are provided, so I carefully drilled holes in the leading edges for barrels made from stainless-steel tubing. Two wing bomb racks are separate pieces (not shown in the instructions), and rocket pylons are molded into the wing.

Once carefully trimmed, the crystal-clear vacuum-formed canopy fits perfectly. With all the subassemblies prepared, assembly went well, with only a little filler needed between the cowl halves. I painted the model with SnJ Spray Metal, and polished it with SnJ's aluminum powder. Bare-Metal Foil was used to frame the windscreen.

The decals provide part of the attractive blue trim that rings the cowl and bisects the fuselage. I didn't relish the idea of matching a blue paint to the decal, so I used the decal as a template to cut frisket masks for the trim. The rest of the decals went on well with a little Micro Sol, and they are opaque enough that the red squadron-leader stripes near the tail don't show through the insignias.

Overall, the model looks accurate, and measures right on the money with the dimensions in Squadron/Signal's Walk Around P-47 Thunderbolt. I spent about 20 hours on the little jug, and it looks great parked next to a Hasegawa D model.

Inexperienced modelers could be stymied by the fit problems, but these will be expected by modelers who have built limited-run kits before.

- Paul Boyer

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