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Tamiya 1/48 scale P-47D Thunderbolt "Razorback"

Kit: No. 61086
Scale: 1/48

Manufacturer: Tamiya, distributed by Tamiya America, 2 Orion, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4200, 800-826-4922, www.tamiyausa.com
Price: $41
Comments: Injection-molded, 148 parts, decals
Pros: Excellent overall detail, fine interior, easy to assemble
Cons: Ejector-pin marks on landing gear struts and doors, thick decals
Republic's legendary P-47D fighter-bomber was the juggernaut that rolled over the Axis forces on all fronts. With .50-caliber machine guns, 4.5-inch rockets, and bombs, the T-bolt was at its best as a ground strafer, yet it could tackle enemy fighters.

Tamiya appears to have gone all-out on this kit. The cockpit detail is as good as any aftermarket detail set, except the seat harness is a decal. The clear parts are well-molded and thin, and the separate sliding section will fit over the razorback in the open position.

There is a good representation of the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engine that comes with two different types of magnetos. The only thing missing from the powerplant is the ignition harness.

Separate machine-gun blast tubes are provided with recessed holes to represent the muzzles. The underwing pylons are nicely done and come with separate anti-sway braces. The wing assembly has a unique breakdown: The ailerons are molded into the top wing halves and there is a separate insert panel that goes into the bottom of the left wing near the tip. I haven't figured out why this is separate.

The landing gear and wells are highly detailed, but the struts and doors suffer from shallow ejector-pin marks. The detail on the bottom of the fuselage between the wing root and the turbo exhaust is a little soft.

Options help make Tamiya's Jug a winner. The wing flaps can be installed up or down - the only Thunderbolt kit in any scale so equipped. Intercooler doors and cowl flaps can be presented open or closed, and both Curtiss-Electric 12-foot and 13-foot "paddle blade" propellers are provided. Underwing stores include three 108-gallon paper fuel tanks, one 150-gallon flat belly tank, two 500-pound bombs, and a pair of three-tube bazooka rocket launchers. Markings are included for two T-bolts: Frank Klibbe's "Little Chief" and Walker Mahurin's "Spirit of Atlantic City N.J."

Included are parts not marked for use for either aircraft: spoked wheel hubs, a direction-finder loop antenna, two gun sights, and a Hamilton Standard propeller. Obviously, more versions of the kit are to come.

The overall fit was excellent. I needed no filler for any of the assemblies. The only fit problem was with part number E8, the instrument panel shroud; it had to be filed down so the bottom edge of the windscreen assembly would sit flush with the top of the fuselage. The horizontal stabilizers fit perfectly in the fuselage slots and were easy to align with each other and the rudder.

I loaded my T-bolt for a ground-attack mission to see how well the underwing stores fit. There were no problems, and the result is eye-pleasing. When you install the gun blast tubes, make sure you have the beveled ends out. The nearly distortion-free canopy and windscreen allows an excellent view of the interior, even when closed.

I painted Klibbe's aircraft with Testor Model Master enamels. I used FS 34092 European I dark green for the cockpit interior, a good match for dull dark green. A dark brown acrylic "sludge wash" was applied to bring out the detail of the panel lines.

The kit decals are printed in register, but the bomb-stripe decals were a bit out of round. Alcohol-based setting solutions such as Micro Sol will sometimes wrinkle Tamiya decals, so I brushed on the acid-based Micro Set to get the nose art and the fuselage side national insignias to snuggle down. I used one-pound-test fishing line for the antenna wires.

The finished model scales well to the measurements in Bert Kinzey's P-47 Thunderbolt in Detail & Scale, my main reference. I spent 26 hours on this model - about a third of that on masking, decaling, and painting details. The high parts count was offset by near-perfect fit and easy assembly. I suspect we'll be seeing more Thunderbolts from Tamiya before too long.

Tom Foti

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