Tamiya 1/48 Republic P-47D
Model, Text and Photos by: Steve Jantscher
This is my most recent finished model, the Tamiya 1/48th scale P-47D "Razorback". This kit was an absolute joy to build. Fit was excellent! No putty was needed, and just a bit of Mr. Surfacer was used. The dropped flaps fit so well that I haven't glued them, or the windshield / canopy pieces. The cockpit doesn't need anything except perhaps a set of seatbelts (speaking of seatbelts, check out the new Eduard set of WW II USAF seatbelts #48-365, which are beautiful relief etched belts, with folding buckles).
As you can see, I have modeled an aircraft of the 325th fighter group based in the Mediterranean theater. Many photos of this group show the use of P-38 drop tanks, and that is what I used instead of the kit supplied tanks. Mine came from a Hasegawa kit. The bomb racks include a representation of the retracted displacement bar that prevents the drop tank from hitting the wing after release. This should be deployed when a tank is fitted. I simulated this with thin brass wire, and small shims to represent the "Y" brace. The wire aerial is not fully glued on at the forward point. That explains the droop. I also haven't glued on the rear-view mirror.
The decals are from an old Aeromaster special release "The 325th FG in Combat" (SP48-15). I was pleasantly surprised to find that the black checker decals fit fairly well to the new kit (these having been made to fit the Hasegawa kit). Where they didn't they usually fell short a bit, and I correct the missing black with a sharpie pen. After much searching through my old records, I came across an old article from FSM discussing early war fighter colors. In that article Tamiya XF-62 was cites as one of the closest matches for the Olive Drab then in use, so that is what I choose. Some of my fellow modelers have opined that the color seems "too dark". Perhaps, but as I'm not building this kit as a weathered aircraft, my excuse is that's the way I like my birds! I used Xtracolor #133 for the neutral grey. The yellow was Daco Tiger Meet enamel paint (PA-09) which has the nice orangeish yellow color that I like (near FS-13538). By the way, the kit decals are quite good. I used a few of the many stencil decals, and they are quite thin (for a change?).
As with any popular aircraft, there is no lack of "experts" out there, and I have fallen prey to my share when it concerns the areas of disagreement about the Razorback. What was the color behind the cockpit under the canopy, and is Tamiya correct in calling out gloss white for the cowling intake area? Add to that the flap area normally under the wing when closed. Taken in order I choose , cockpit green under the glass, white in the engine bay (better to see leaks with?) and yellow zinc chromate on the exposed sections of the flaps (I also thinks this adds something to the looks vice overall OD). Of course, bare metal was my other provision for the flap section. My buddy still says that there is photographic evidence that most aircraft with painted cowls, carried the color into that section of the intake, thus a red ringed cowl would have red inside of the intake section. I don't know, I wasn't there, and he wasn't either. Too many model lawyers!
I really enjoyed this kit. It is first class all the way.
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