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Trumpeter 1/32 scale P-47D Thunderbolt

Kit: 02262
Scale: 1/32
Manufacturer: Trumpeter, from Stevens International, 856-435-1555,
Price: $124.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 479 parts (16 photoetched, 11 vinyl), decals
Pros: Excellent engine; nice detail; multiple options
Cons: Overengineered in some aspects; too much rivet detail
Finally - a pair of 1/32 scale, quality kits of the P-47! First the Hasegawa P-47 bubbletop, and now the Trumpeter P-47 Razorback.

Fifteen sprues of gray parts are packed in nine bags; additonally, clear sprues, a photoetched-metal fret, rubber tires, and ammo belts are nicely boxed.

There are parts for two versions of probably the best Pratt & Whitney
R-2800 engine I've ever seen in a plastic kit. You also get a complete supercharger assembly, really nice when it's complete. But all this detail should include a clear fuselage half to show it off. (A clear cowling does show the engine; I painted it but left it loose so it's easily removable.)

You get four different types of props: an original Curtiss Electric; a Curtiss Electric symmetrical paddle-blade prop; a Curtiss Electric asymmetrical paddle-blade prop; and a Hamilton Standard hydromatic prop. They're all accurate.

You also get four types of fuel tanks - two 108-gallon flat or long-range 150-gallon (P-38 type) tanks, two 75-gallon metal tanks, and a 108-gallon paper tank.

For weapons, you get two 250-pound bombs, two 500-pound bombs, and two triple-tube rocket launchers. Also provided are wing stubs for 5" HVAR rockets (not used in this kit).

Separate, movable control surfaces and landing flaps can be positioned up or down, with appropriate hinges for each. There are two complete gun and ammo bays with vinyl ammo belts for the wings, two types of gunsights, plus an array of antennas and mirrors for the canopy. The photoetched metal provides seat belts, screens for the air and oil cooler intakes, a blower fan for the supercharger assembly, and brackets for something - maybe part of the mounting system for the wing pylons - that are only used if the wing pylons aren't used.

The clear sprue holds two types of wingtip navigation lights, one for the P-47D, and a larger, thicker type found on P-47Ns. You also get two sizes of lenses for the ID lights under the right wing - perhaps for a future P-47N?

Film instrument faces and a decal sheet with two markings (one a natural-metal plane of the 35th Fighter Group and an olive-drab plane from the 56th Fighter Group round out the bounty of contents.

Assembly starts with the cockpit. Detail is nice throughout, with photoetched-metal seat belts and harnesses. The instrument panel is molded in clear, but the instrument faces have lenses molded in. So, you'll have to mask the lenses or possibly drill them out so you can see the film instruments after painting. I masked mine with liquid masker. Also, there is no center console or panel extending down from the instrument panel - a necessary part because it has the release switches for the wing pylons.

Instructions call for interior green in the cockpit, wheel wells and gear doors, as well as the bulkheads forward of the cockpit. This is correct for Curtiss-built aircraft, but not for Republic-built planes. Those cockpits were painted "bronze green" (FS34092). Euro Green is very close. Chromate yellow was used for the wheel bays, gear doors, and all other primed internal components.

The impressive array of engine parts has options for two versions, with your choice of reduction-gear housings, magnetos, and rocker covers for the cylinders. The reduction-gear housing and magneto parts (S7 and S6, respectively) and rocker covers (parts R4) are used for the early and mid-production P-47s. Parts R9 and S1 (reduction-gear housings), R3 (magnetos), and S5 and R5 (rocker covers) are for M and N models with the "C series" Pratt & Whitney engine. The engine also has the correct ignition ring - add ignition wires and plumbing and it's good to go.

If you want to display that hidden supercharger/blower assembly by opening the fuselage, bulkhead parts Q6 and D5 have molded wing spars that might support the plane. If you do build the supercharger, you'll have seams to fix. Assembling the intercooler exhaust vents (parts Q10, Q15 and Q9 and Q18) leaves an offset that has to be smoothed. The rest of the assembly was OK; I built it for this review. However, you will need parts Q6 and Q7 (a bulkhead and radiator assembly), part Q8 (the actual fuselage bulkhead) and parts Q28 an Q29 (air return lines leading to the carburetor) to mount the engine.

The gun and ammo bays include rubber ammo belts and a choice of perforated or smooth gun tubes. Mounting points for the gun bodies in the lower wings are sparse, hindering alignment of the barrels. I eyeballed the gun bodies for alignment.

In Step 19, the ammo feed chutes should be natural metal, not black as in the instructions. You may have to trim one round of ammo from the end of the feed chutes to get a proper fit into the gun bodies, depending on how good the alignment is. Don't install the gun barrels in Step 18 as instructed: Wait until after everything is assembled and the barrel openings, parts D9 and D8 are in place. These parts sit a little low in the leading edge of the wing when installed. I blended them in a little with a sanding stick.

Back to the gun barrels: You'll have to file the lips off their back ends where they plug into the gun bodies so they slide through the holes in the wings. It's easier for assembling and painting, and afterwards you won't see where you filed.

Instructions to sandwich the hinges between the control surfaces make them difficult to glue or to even file or sand the leading edges. I trimmed the hinge pegs off and slid the control surfaces on later.

In Step 27, the sway braces for the centerline belly tank (parts U19 and U20) leave a large gap when inserted in the fuselage. Try gluing .015" or .020" sheet styrene to the sway-brace parts, filing and sanding to fit, then inserting them into the fuselage and gluing them.

There's no guidance regarding which propellers to use. Prop M10 is the one for the natural-metal plane. For the olive drab version, check your references.

In the same step, getting the windscreen/armored glass assembly flush with the fuselage requires trimming the stepped ledges or little shelf parts that protrude from under the fuselage right at the wedge where the windscreen assembly slides down. Also, the gunsight (part N30) has to be trimmed on the back side to provide clearance for the windscreen assembly (about 1/16" to ¼").

Finally, just pick the weapons or fuel tanks you want to hang on the wing pylons and you're in business.

Painting took a little longer because of the natural metal (it always does) and painting the black invasion stripes. For tips on how to paint stripes, see my article in the July 2004 FSM or Pat Hawkey's July 2007 article.

I put some stencils where the stars and bars went to prevent different colors showing through the white portion of the decals. Good thing - the decals were just a little translucent. Again, check my article for a few different ways to achieve this.

Except for the few difficulties, everything went off without a hitch. It took me about 40 hours to complete, only because I built up the supercharger assembly for some pictures and used a natural-metal finish. If you don't use the supercharger and paint the plane olive drab and neutral gray, you can probably reduce the build time by 10 hours or so.

You'll need a little experience to complete this kit. It's a nice build, and dead-on for scale, but the complexity of some of the assemblies is tricky. Don't let the number of parts fool you - you'll only use about 2/3 of them. Only time will tell if all the extra parts mean Trumpeter plans to strike with another Thunderbolt.
- Larry Schramm


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