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Republic XP-72 Ultrabolt
conversion set for
Tamiya P-47D Thunderbolt "Bubbletop"

Halberd Models, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y :

Description and Item No.:

Halberd Models - Republic XP-72 Ultrabolt conversion set for Tamiya P-47D Thunderbolt "Bubbletop".

Contents and Media:

30 parts in green coloured resin; four photo-etched parts; decals for two marking options.

Price:

USD$59.95 plus shipping available from Halberd Models' website.

Scale:

1/48

Review Type:

First Look

Advantages:

Interesting subject; crisply recessed panel lines match the style and quality of Tamiya's donor kit; simple preparation of the resin parts; instructions included.

Disadvantages:

None noted.

Recommendation:

This is a comprehensive and well executed conversion for the XP-72 prototype in 1/48 scale.

The quality of the surface textures and casting is outstanding. Its simple design, easy cleanup and manageable surgery also means that minimal modelling experience will be required to tackle the project.

Other Halberd conversions over the last few years have been snapped up in hours, so grab one of these while you can!

Reviewed by Brett Green

Introduction

 

The Republic XP-72 was an American prototype fighter-interceptor developed by Republic Aircraft as a progression of the P-47 Thunderbolt design.

The XP-72 was designed around the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major 28-cylinder air-cooled radial engine with a supercharger mounted behind the pilot and driven by an extension shaft from the engine. The armament consisted of six .50 calibre (12.7 mm) wing-mounted Browning AN/M2 machine guns and underwing racks for two 1,000 lb bombs; Alternative armament packages included two 37 mm M4 autocannons with four .50 calibre AN/M2s, or four M4 autocannons.

The XP-72 flew for the first time on 2 February 1944, equipped with a four-bladed propeller.

 

 

The first XP-72 prototype (serial number 43-36598) was completed with a single-rotation propeller and a P&W R-4360-13 engine. The Curtiss Electric four-blade propeller was 14 ft 2 in (4.23 m) in diameter, which was one of the largest propellers used during World War II and was probably the largest propeller fitted to a fighter. The propeller left only 5 in (127 mm) of ground clearance, and the pilots employed three-point takeoffs and landings to make sure there were no propeller ground strikes.

The second prototype was completed on 26 June 1944 and was equipped with asix-bladed Aero-Products contra-rotating propeller assembly.

As the XP-72 displayed exceptional performance during flight tests, an order for 100 production aircraft was awarded. The order included an alternate armament configuration of four 37 mm cannon. By this time, World War II had progressed to where the need was for long-range escort fighters and not high-speed interceptors.

Furthermore, the advent of the new turbojet-powered interceptors showed greater promise for the interceptor role. Thus, the production order for the P-72 was cancelled.

 

FirstLook

 

Halberd Models from Ukraine continues its exploration of rare birds with its latest conversion - a 1/48 scale XP-72 Ultrabolt.

This is a logical stablemate for Halbert's previous release, the 1/48 scale XP-47H.

This set has been specifically designed for the Tamiya1/48 scale P-47 "Bubbletop" kit. Although the box top and instructions call for Tamiya's P-47D kits, it will be equally appropriate to use the Tamiya 1/48 P-47M, which includes all the parts from the P-47D kit but also a bunch of useful options for this and future projects. These include the flat cockpit floor and the relocated landing light.

Halberd's conversion comprises 30 parts in green coloured resin, four photo-etched parts and decals for both XP-72 prototypes.

 

  • Halberd Models - Republic XP-72 Ultrabolt conversion set for Tamiya P-47D Thunderbolt "Bubbletop". R: Image
  • Halberd Models - Republic XP-72 Ultrabolt conversion set for Tamiya P-47D Thunderbolt "Bubbletop". R: Image
  • Halberd Models - Republic XP-72 Ultrabolt conversion set for Tamiya P-47D Thunderbolt "Bubbletop". R: Image
  • Halberd Models - Republic XP-72 Ultrabolt conversion set for Tamiya P-47D Thunderbolt "Bubbletop". R: Image
  • Halberd Models - Republic XP-72 Ultrabolt conversion set for Tamiya P-47D Thunderbolt "Bubbletop". R: Image
  • Halberd Models - Republic XP-72 Ultrabolt conversion set for Tamiya P-47D Thunderbolt "Bubbletop". R: Image
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All the parts required to convert Tamiya's kit into either prototype variant are included in the box. The converion fuselage totally transforms the jug into the powerful and more streamlined XP-72.

The conversion has been designed to be easy to build.

The surface textures on the resin conversion parts are the equal of those on Tamiya's excellent kit - crisp, fine and consistent. This will result in a seamless matching of style and quality where Tamiya and Halberd meet.

 

 

The fuselage is cast in two main pieces - port and starboard halves.

 

 

Also included are a cowl ring, lower fuselage intake, lower wing access panels for the six .50 cal machine guns, a partial engine and a panel for the relocated landing light.

 

 

Two new propeller assemblies are also provided. One is the Curtiss Electric four-blade propeller 14 ft 2 in propeller assembly and the other is the six-bladed Aero Products contra-rotating propeller that was fitted to the second prototype.

 

 

Production quality of the resin parts is excellent, with only minimum cleanup required.

The casting blocks on the spinners will need to be removed but this should be fast and easy. The best tool for this job will be a razor saw.

 

 

Careful surgery will be required to excise the machine gun access panel on the bottom of the wings. Fortunately, the plastic to be removed is bordered by panel lines. I recommend scribing the surrounding panel lines repeatedly before actually cutting out the panel. I will probably score a cross inside the panel from each corner then push the four triangles of plastic inward.

 

 

Halberd Models has cast locating pins and holes for the fuselage joins.

 

 

I have tested the major components without glue or tape and fit appears to be excellent.

 

 

The four-row engine would be almost impossible to see once the spinner is fitted to the close cowl. Even so, Halberd has given us a partial engine with one row of seven cilinders cast to a mounting plare and seven separate cylinders to be fitted to the front of the corncob engine.

 

 

Four copper-plated photo-etched parts deliver two exhaust flaps and two vents.

 

 

A small decal sheet with serial numbers for the two marking options is included.

 

 

The instructions are easy to follow.

A parts list and camouflage and markings guide round out this package.

All you need to add is a Tamiya 1/48 scale P-47D or P-47M Bubbletop kit.

 

 

Conclusion

 

This is a comprehensive and well executed conversion for the XP-72 Ultrabolt prototype in 1/48 scale.

The quality of the surface textures and casting is outstanding.

Its simple design, easy cleanup and manageable surgery also means that minimal modelling experience will be required to tackle the project.

The other Halberd conversions over the last few years have been snapped up in hours, so grab one of these while you can!

Thanks to Halberd Models for the sample

Halberd Models Facebook Page


Text and Images Copyright 2024 by Brett Green
Page Created 2 January, 2024
Last updated 3 January, 2024

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