Manufacturer: Revell Germany, Postfach 2609-2620, D-4980, Bunde, Germany
Kit: No. 04141
Comments: Injection molded, 63 parts, decals
Pros: Excellent exterior and interior detail, fine engine, paddle-blade prop, open cowl flaps, good fit
Cons: Instructions give only Revell Germany paint codes, fragile cowl flaps
The Republic P-47M Thunderbolt (a modified P-47D-30) was the fastest variant of all mass-produced P-47s. Originally designed to counter the German V-1 threat to England, this Thunderbolt had a maximum speed of 475 mph. However, by January 1945, when the P-47M was delivered to the 56th Fighter Group, the V-1 threat had all but disappeared. Instead, the fighter participated in many combat missions over Europe. In spite of nagging engine problems, the P-47M was credited for destroying several Luftwaffe Me 262 jets in aerial combat. All 130 P-47Ms were assigned to the three squadrons (61st, 62nd, and 63rd FS) of the 56th, and they flew until September 1945.
Revell's P-47M is the first kit of this version ever in any scale. The gray plastic parts feature crisp recessed panel lines and the canopy is crystal-clear. Parts fit throughout assembly is very good. In fact, minor sanding is required only in areas around the dorsal fillet and vertical tail section. Leaving off the optional fillet will result in a fine P-47D (if you ignore the different engine crankcase).
The kit correctly captures the P-47M's distinguishable features. The representations of the engine's bolt-encrusted crankcase and the scabbed-on compressibility flaps are beautiful. The wheel wells and cockpit interior are excellent. The cowl flaps are molded open, but be careful - they are easily broken off. Also included is the Curtiss Electric asymmetrical paddle-blade propeller. Even the machine gun barrels are correctly molded level with the horizon, not in line with the wing leading edge as in all other 1/72 P-47s.
The 18-step instruction sheet includes a paint guide that recommends only Revell Germany paints. Since the P-47M didn't carry rockets, don't add them. Other stores included are two 165-gal. P-38-style external fuel tanks.
Revell gives the option of posing the landing gear up or down. The main gear doors are all molded together, so you simply cut each trio apart if you pose the gear down. The main struts have compressed oleos, something else missing from most 1/72 scale P-47s. The tail wheel bay and doors are a single piece plug-in - nice! The canopy brace is too big to allow the canopy to slide as suggested in step 14.
The decals provide markings for two P-47Ms of the 61st Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group. There has been some controversy about the dark color applied to these T-Bolts, but the latest information suggests that the squadron used a gift of automotive "deep plum" paint over natural-metal undersides. Interesting! I mixed 80 percent Insignia Blue, 15 percent Insignia Red, and 5 percent gloss black to get what I hope is right. I used SnJ Spray Metal for the undersides and leading edges. The cowl and rudder are Insignia Red.
The model took 12 hours to build. I used Bert Kinzey's P-47 Thunderbolt in Detail and Scale as my main reference. I recommend this kit to all Thunderbolt fans. Now if we can get Revell Germany to bring out the N!