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RoR Step-by-Step Review 20131007* P-47D Thunderbolt

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Review 20131007Right On Replicas, LLC ©2013 All rights reserved. *All registered trademarks are the property of their respective brands.
RoR Step-by-Step Review 20131007* P-47D Thunderbolt Razorback 1:48 Scale Revell Model Kit #85-5261 Review
The Republic P-47 is probably one of the most recognized Allied fighter aircraft of World War II. It was certainly the heaviest and most expensive single engine airplane produced during the war. Fully loaded it could weigh as much as eight tons. It was armed with eight .50 cal (12.7mm) M2 Browning machine guns (four in each wing) with 350 rounds per gun. In addition to its machine guns, the P-47 could carry two triple-tube rocket launchers with M8 high-explosive 4.5 in (110 mm) rockets one triple tube under each wing) or ten 5 inch (130mm) HVAR rockets (five under each wing), and two 500 lb bombs (one under each wing). By the end of World War II P-47s had flown in all operational theatres except Alaska and claimed a total of 3,752 enemy aircraft shot down. A total 3,499 P-47s were lost to all causes. A total of 15,678 P- 47s were produced before production ceased. For the Modeler: This is the Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Razorback 1:48 Scale Revell skill level 2 model kit #85-5314. The Revell P-47 is actually a re-issue of the Monogram kit and is copyrighted 1967. There are 49 pieces molded in grey plastic and a clear canopy and wind screen. Under wing options include an external fuel tank, 500 lb bombs, and 4.5 inch rocket tubes. This kit features Kit features a detailed cockpit, a choice of open or closed "razorback" canopy, extensive under-wing details a pilot figure. Decals are provided for three aircraft: Okie P-47D-6-RE, 42-74753, 1Lt Quince Brown, 75th Fighter Group (FG), 84th Fighter Squadron (FS), 8th Air Force (AF), Duxford, England, April 1944; Pied Piper, P-47D-16-RE, 42- 75885, Lt Cipipen, 58th FG, 310th FS; The Bug, P-47D-20-RE, 42-76653, Capt Arle Blood, 450th FG, 510 FS, 9th AF I chose the latter for this build. Finished dimensions are: Length: 9", Height: 2.75", and Wingspan: 10.5".
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0a & 0b Here is the kit’s contents and box art. I decided to build ‘The Bug’ to replicate the box top artwork. Upon first inspection I was really quite surprised at the lack of flash on any of the parts. Throughout the build I used a product called Same Stuff from Micro Mark – it is a thin liquid cement. I usually apply it with the Touch-N-Flow applicator (from Micro Mark) or a small old/used paintbrush. This adhesive is as thin as water and bonds in about 15 seconds or less. Construction:
Photos 029 & 005 Construction begins with the cockpit and this is a rather simple affair, nothing more than a deep tub with a little sidewall detail. I painted all the parts Model Master Interior Green, seatbelts were picked out using Tamiya Buff (XF-57) but these will be invisible if the pilot is added. The side consoles and boxes were painted Tamiya Flat Black, as was the instrument panel. Careful painting with a little Tamiya Gloss Red (X-7) highlighted a few knobs and buttons in the cockpit. I applied a coat of Future to the instrument panel to prevent the decal from silvering (decals go one much better and seldom silver if they are applied to a gloss surface – the glossier the better). I think the instrument decal works exceptionally well and is much better than anything I could have painted. A control column and instrument panel are the only parts that need adding to the cockpit tub. Once the cockpit was assembled I glued it into the right side
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fuselage half and then closed up the fuselage. I was surprised and impressed, given the age of this kit, that there were no significant seams that needed to be cleaned up. Using the Touch-N-Flow applicator and liquid glue, I started on the upper fuselage at the engine cowling and slowly worked my way around the fuselage stopping at the lower fuselage engine cowling. The liquid glue dries fast enough that simply holding the two halves between my fingers for about 15 seconds was enough to bond the parts together. Ever so slightly separate the parts, flow in a little glue, and then press the parts together. This results in a very small ridge of melted plastic squeezing out between the parts and filling the seam. Then after a few minutes the glue dries completely, go over the edges with some sanding sticks and you’re left with a filled seam!
Photo 005 When the fuselage is closed up and the pilot added, the cockpit looks plenty busy. Once the cockpit was painted it was glued to one half of the fuselage and the fuselage was closed up.
If you chose to add the rocket tubes it is much easier to open two holes in each lower wing before gluing them together. I also decided to open up the spent shell chutes of which there are 4 on each wing (Photo 006).
To do this I first drilled two small holes in each chute (Photo 007), and then used an x-acto knife for carve away excess plastic before tidying up with small files (Photo 008). This entire operation would have been much easier if I had not already glued the wing halves together, the result is that my final clean-up of the shell chutes is not as good as it could be.
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During the clean-up of the wing seams I inadvertently sanded away the outboard most gun barrel from one of the wings. Rather than using a piece of stretched sprue to try and replicate the gun barrel I decided to replace them all with 20 gauge hypodermic tubing. The only problem I had here was getting all 4 guns on each wing exactly parallel with each other. I’m still not completely happy with the result (Photo 022 or 022a). While sanding off the gun barrels I also decided to replace the pitot tube. I made the pitot tube by simply sliding a short section of 25 gauge tubing into a length of 20 gauge hypodermic tubing (Photo 023).
(Photo 016a & 017) The landing gear are pretty simple affairs with adequate detail molded in. There’s not much assembly. It was three pieces, a gear strut, gear door and a tire.
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Prior to my surgery on the lower wing halves I had painted the wheel wells interior green at the same time I had painted the cockpit and interior fuselage. Now I added a little yellow on some wires and colored others with a silver Prisma Color pencil (Photo 009). Once the wings were dry, they were added to fuselage.
The copyright info was sanded off the port side horizontal stabilizer and ejection pin marks cleaned up (Photo 010) before the stabilizers were glued to the fuselage.
While the glue on the fuselage, wings, and stabilizers was drying I painted the engine using Interior Green, Tamiya Flat Aluminum (XF-16), Tamiya Dark Grey (XF-24), and Tamiya Flat Black (XF-1) (Photo 011
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Painting the yellow tips on the prop, the yellow lines on the bombs, and the red lines on the drop tank is done using the same basic method described below. (Photo 012). First I paint the prop tips white as this helps the yellow look brighter. After the white I spray the tips flat yellow. Once the yellow has dried, small pieces of tape are placed on the front and back of each tip. Then the prop blades are sprayed flat black. Once the black is dry, the prop blades are masked with tape and the prop hub is sprayed flat aluminum. Once all the paint on the prop is dry I spray a coat of Future to give a nice gloss finish before applying the decals. Once the decals are dry, another coat of Future to seal them before spraying the final flat coat (Model Master Flat). For the bombs the process is the same only the final color is Olive Drab.
(Photo 015 & 016) For the bombs I first painted the nose Tamiya Flat White (XF-2), once the white was dry, I painted the nose of each bomb with Tamiya Flat Yellow (XF-3). Next I cut very thin strips of low tack 3M painters tape (blue) about .5mm and carefully wrapped one strip around each bomb before painting the bombs using Model Master Olive Drab (FS34087). As soon as the olive drab is painted I immediately remove the thin strip of tape (this goes a long way to avoiding any ridges between paint colors). The rocket tubes are painted Olive Drab also.
(Photo 013 & 014) ). I also assembled and painted the drop tank. I started the bombs and drop tank by gluing both halves together. I did the same for the drop tank, base coat of flat white, followed by some Tamiya Red (where I want the stripes), then two thin strips of tape, lastly Tamiya Flat Aluminum (XF-16).
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I also painted the front half of cowl white at this point. The nose art decal for ‘The Bug’ requires that the front of the cowl be painted white. The instructions specify that this white area begins .48 inches in front of the line of the cowl flaps and extends from there all the way forward. I laid this out using a dial indicator and a set of calipers and masked off the area (Photo 018).
(Photo 019) Once the fuselage and wing assembly was dry, the cowl was temporarily attached to the fuselage and the lower surfaces were painted with Tamiya Medium Grey (XF-20). Thin rolls of Blue-Tac (poster putty) were applied along color demarcation lines and the upper surfaces were sprayed Model Master Olive Drab. Once these coats were dry all surfaces were sprayed with Future in preparation for applying the decals.
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(Photo 035) The pilot was painted using Model Master Khaki for his flight suit, Model Master Military Brown for boots, gloves, and helmet. I used Andrea Miniatures ‘Dark Flesh’ for the face, white for the sheepskin collar of the flight suit, and black for the O2 hose and mask, and silver for his goggles. After all the paint was dry I used a wash of ‘Burnt Umber’ to highlight creases and wrinkles in the uniform. Lastly, apply a coat of future.
The decals were beautifully printed and nicely opaque. There were many small stencil decals to apply and this operation took modeling sessions over three nights! (Photo 021).
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Masking the Canopy:
This is the method I use for masking canopies on kits when no pre-cut set of masks is available. First you need to gather some tools, I use a kitchen tile, 2 x-acto knives (1 with a brand new #11 blade), a straight edge (I use a six inch steel ruler), nitrile exam gloves, your favorite brand of tape (3M Painters tape, Tamiya, etc.), and a liquid mask (I use Micro-Mask available from Micro-Mark.com) . Photo - Canopy 001 The first step is to dip the clear canopy parts in Future. Future Floor Wax is marketed under various names such as Pledge Floor Wax with Future, Future Shine, etc. According to online blogs, despite the different names company officials maintain
that the product itself remains the same. I typically dip my canopy parts twice allowing a couple of hours in between dips and 24 hours before handling (too let the Future fully cure).
Once the canopy is thoroughly dry I begin by cutting thin strips of masking tape about 1mm wide using the X-acto knife with the older blade and the kitchen tile. I lay a strip of tape along each of the vertical frames and then do the same to the horizontal frames. In this example from a P-47 Razorback, the curved strip of tape at the back is about .5mm wide and easily follows the curve of the frame. The thinner the strip of tape, the more easily it follows the curve. To handle the canopy parts and not cover
them with finger prints I wear a pair of Nitrile exam gloves. Any tight fitting exam gloves will work - the point here is to keep finger prints off the canopy parts. Photo - Canopy 002
Once all of the frames are outlined, the next step is to cut away the small bits of tape where the frames join. This is where that new #11 blade is critical – did I mention to use a NEW #11 blade?? Ask me how I know not to use an older used blade – go ahead ask! This is a time consuming process, but a careful light touch with that new blade will pay dividends in the end. Photo – Canopy 003 & Canopy 004 Once all those little pieces are removed from the frame intersections (after checking 2 or 3 times), I check that all the pieces are removed one more time – again ask me how I know to do this. There is nothing more frustrating than to finish painting canopy frames only to remove the masking and find an incomplete job because you missed one little intersection!
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Photo - Canopy 005 & 006 Once I’m satisfied that no more cutting needs to be done I cover the inside of the canopy with small pieces of masking tape making sure that all of the inside surface is masked. Then I add a small ball of Blu-Tac (poster putty) then insert a toothpick into the middle of that.
Photo - Canopy 007 Use a small clamp to hold each canopy piece. The next step is to use a small brush and apply the liquid mask in the area between the canopy frames that are to remain clear. I carefully brush the liquid mask just over the inside edge of the masking tape in order to prevent any paint from bleeding under the tape and marring the glass areas. I usually apply two coats of the liquid mask allowing about an hour in between coats. Masking this one section of a 1/48 P-47 canopy and applying the first coat of liquid mask took me a little over 1 hour. It may not be the fastest method, but it works if no pre-made canopy masks are available.
Photo - Canopy 008 Once the liquid mask is dry it’s time to paint the interior color followed by the exterior (fuselage) color/colors. After it has dried add the pilot figure and canopy sections to the aircraft.
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Even the bombs have clearly printed stencils – Thank you Revell! (Photo 021a) I still had the cowling off (and the engine glued inside) because getting the teeth and eyes positioned was easier with the cowl off the model (Photo 020). Once all of the decals were applied the entire model was sprayed with another coat of Future and then a coat of the Model Master Clear Flat.
Photos 026 & 027 Once the clear coats were dry all of the smaller pieces (wheels, rocket tubes, bombs, and drop tank) were added and the model was finished! Conclusion:
028 This kit is great for a nostalgic build or a wonderful introduction to model building with its ease of construction and small number of parts. It is also an accurate kit.
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999 I have frequently seen the Revell 1/48 P-47 Thunderbolt Razorback available for around $16.00. There are more detailed (and more expensive) kits available from the likes of Tamiya and Hasegawa but you can purchase two or three Revell/Monogram kits and build a great looking diorama for the cost of the other brand offerings. More about the P-47: The P-47 was built around the powerful 18 cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine. This engine displaced 2,800 cubic inches and produced 2,000 hp in the P-47, although some models could produce as much as 2,850 hp (i.e. R-2800-32(E) - 2,850 hp with water-methanol injection). The P-47 was designed by Alexander Kartveli to replace the Seversky P-35. The XP-47B first flew on May 6, 1941. For its time, the XP-47B was a very large aircraft with an empty weight of 9,900 lb (4,490 kg). Kartveli is said to have remarked, "It will be a dinosaur, but it will be a dinosaur with good proportions”. By August 1942 the prototype had achieved a level speed of 412 mph (663 km/h) at 25,800 ft (7,864 m) altitude, and had demonstrated a climb from sea level to 15,000 ft (4,600 m) altitude in five minutes.
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