Republic P-47D Thunderbolt
by Larry Cherniak
This is the thirty-something-year old Monogram 1/48th kit of the famous P-47D Thunderbolt in its Razorback guise. It appears in the markings of a P-47D-1RE, the first mount of the 62nd FS, 56th Fighter Groups' Col. Dave Schilling, in which he scored his first victories (at least seven).
Schilling went on to become the top American European Theater ace with 33 victories. It was built strictly out-of-box to compete in an enjoyable category in a local show called "American Gold", including only pre-1980 American made kits built OOB.
I was surprised how well this kit has stood the test of time. It builds up quickly into an accurate representation, as sturdy and rugged as the original. It takes a little more work than today's kits in test fitting and filing to get good clean joins BEFORE gluing, in order to preserve the raised panel lines. I took my time and ended up not destroying any.
The only places needing filler were inside the wheel wells (white glue) and the air-splitter to inside cowling joint. This one took a wad of epoxy putty on each side during assembly, enough to squeeze out and be trimmed away.
The Olive Drab was Model Master enamels, with a few different mixes for weathering (added a little blue for the area behind the engine, a little tan for fading, etc.). This was sprayed directly onto the plastic. Gray primer was close enough for the undersides. Panel lines were then emphasized with a light sanding through to the dark OD plastic (Primer on the upper surfaces would have left gray lines on either side of the panel lines). One thing they often screw up in reissues is to use today's ubiquitous light gray plastic, making it that much more difficult to darken the panel lines, so I try to pick up old issues cheap at swap meets. I think I talked the guy down to three bucks for this one.
I grew up on these Monogram classics and they still hold a special place in my heart. Oh, for those long summer vacation hours spent with Exacto knife in hand, the smells of tube glue and paintbrushes-full of Pactra enamel filling the air, not a care in the world... but I digress.
Markings came from Superscale (48-456) and went on very well. An earth tone oil wash dirtied things up. Paint chips, silver pencil, half washed away dust on the rear fuselage, and a few swipes of pastels finished it off.
The pilot figure is from Hasegawa's excellent set.
I hope this can encourage some of you to get out one of these oldies but goodies and actually BUILD it - you won't be disappointed!
Model, Text and Images Copyright © 2000 by Larry