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Tamiya 1/72 scale P-47D Thunderbolt "Razorback"

Kit: No. 60769
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: Tamiya, imported by Tamiya America, 2 Orion, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4200, 800-826-4922,
Price: $19.50
Comments: Injection-molded, 98 parts (2 vinyl), decals
Pros: Good detail overall, fine interior, easy to assemble
Cons: Gap between lower cowl and fuselage, tight fit between canopy and windscreen

Tamiya continues its tradition of "reducing" some of its 1/48 scale kits to 1/72 scale with this Razorback Thunderbolt. Like the others, this one looks accurate and goes together easily.

One of its highlights is the detailed interior, which is almost as good as an aftermarket set, except for the seatbelt decals. The clear parts are well molded and thin, and the R-2800 engine is a good representation.

The breakdown of the wing parts, with separate undersurface panels behind the gear bays and near the left wing tip, suggests variations to come. The two shorter outboard machine-gun barrels are molded onto a leading-edge insert, and the longer inner pair are molded separately. Well detailed wing pylons with anti-sway braces are given as well.

Two propellers are provided: both Curtiss Electric symmetrical standard and "paddle" types. Underwing stores include two 108-gal. "paper" tanks, 4.5- inch rocket "bazooka" tubes, and 500-lb. bombs. Other options on the sprues (but not needed in this issue of the kit) are an alternate gun sight, another rear-view mirror, and spoked wheel hubs. Markings are included for "Sleepy Time Gal" and Frank Klibbe's "Little Chief."

Although overall fit was excellent, a thin gap between the cowl assembly and the fuselage needed to be fixed by sanding a little off the rear of the engine firewall (part No. A5). In addition, the fit between the canopy and windscreen was too tight. A little sanding remedied that as well. The nearly distortion-free clear parts allow an excellent view of the interior.

I painted the interior with Testor Model Master European I dark green (FS 34092), a good approximation of the "dull dark green" color used on T-bolt interiors. The instructions say to paint the fin light gray with the area below it white, but I opted for an all-white tail area. I'm also pretty sure the lower portion of the cowl was natural metal, not neutral gray as recommended.

The decals went on well, but they seemed a little thick. I've had trouble with Tamiya decals and alcohol-based decal solvents before, so this time I used Microscale's acetic-acid-based Micro-Set. The representation of the nose art is beautifully printed.

The finished model looks just like a Thunderbolt should. The properly compressed main gear struts give the model the correct "squat" that is usually missing from scale models. Thanks to Norris Graser, who provided pictures of "Sleepy Time Gal" for reference.

I spent 16 hours completing this model, about a third of it on masking and detail painting. The great detail and near perfect fit are always welcomed by "small-scale" enthusiasts.

- Tom Foti


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