Sword Republic 1/72 scale P-47N Thunderbolt
This model kit holds fine exterior detailing and excellent resin components for the wheel wells, cockpit, and engine.
Kit:No. SW 72039
Excellent resin wheel bays and cockpit; beautifully printed decals; good exterior detail; good clear parts; interesting combination of P-38 and P-51 drop tanks
Poor fit of wing to fuselage; instruction errors
Injection-molded, 82 parts (9 resin), decals
If you needed to make a decent P-47N model in 1/72 scale, and found the Heller kit too old and the Italeri kit too inaccurate, how would you go about it? You’d probably start with the best P-47D kit available, convert the wing, and make a new fin fillet, right? Well, now you don’t have to — Czech manufacturer Sword has done it for you.
The kit holds fine exterior detailing and excellent resin components for the wheel wells, cockpit, and engine. Beautiful decals for three World War II Pacific “Jugs” are provided, too.
The main parts feature petite recessed panel lines and tiny, shallow recessed rivets. They look just right and appear to almost melt away after the model is painted. You can also see a slight unevenness in the surface on the outer edges of the ailerons and the wing roots. The wingtip navigation lights are molded into the wing instead of being included as separate clear pieces.
The resin cockpit fits OK and looks great. The alternate tail-wheel mounts are not clearly shown in the instructions; the mount I chose seems undersize for the opening. The instructions also err in showing the main-gear struts with the oleo scissors to the rear when they should be to the front. You’ll figure that out when you try to fit the doors to the struts as I did.
The big problem with the build was fitting the wings to the fuselage. The P-47N had a center section extension that moved the main gear wells outboard. The resin wheel wells fit OK into the wing halves, but I didn’t notice that the wings were too thick (by about 1.5mm) until I tried to mate them to the fuselage. I made them fit at the top surface and evened out the fit at the bottom with piles of gap-filling super glue and lots of sanding. If I were to do another (and I will), I’ll thin down the resin wells and shave down the inside faces of each wing half until they fit the opening in the fuselage.
Adding the small details revealed a few more errors in the instructions. The drawings show the addition of one pointed blade antenna to the bottom of the left wing, but I couldn’t find this in any photo. They show only one blade antenna flanking the fin fillet when there should be two; problem easily solved. The kit has a longitudinal slot for the belly fuel tank, but the small P-51 tank Sword gives you has no tab. I filled the slot with a strip of styrene.
I painted the model with enamels and Alclad II, then applied the kit decals with no problems. The instructions show the national insignia on the bottom right wing upside down.
Counting the extra work involved fitting the wing, I spent 28 hours on this Jug. The next one should go more quickly, now that I know what traps lay ahead.