1:32 P-47 Thunderbolt from Hasegawa

1:32 P-47 Thunderbolt
Hasegawa
Catalogue # H-ST27
Available from Creative Models for £69.99

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The P-47 Thunderbolt, designed by Russian ex-patriot Alexander Kartweli of Republic Aviation, and first flown in 1941 was quite an oddity among the sleek, lightweight fighters now possessed by both the Allied and Axis forces at that time. The 'Jug' as it became known, was the heaviest and largest single-engine fighter of its day, and with that came a price tag to match. Powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 'Double Wasp' engine, rated at 2000BHP, any disadvantages borne from the P-47's physical attributes were overcome in order to make the P-47 Thunderbolt the most numerous fighter aircraft built in American history. After some initial technical difficulties and compromises, the 'Jug' was eventually fitted with a universal wing, allowing it to carry external fuel stores and bombs simultaneously. The high backed 'razor' spine of the earlier machines was also cut down to produce a fuselage allowing a bubble-canopy, giving the pilots a much better field of view. To counter resulting stability problems with the modified fuselage, a dorsal fin was added, fore of the vertical tail-plane.

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Carrying a powerful battery of eight Browning .50 calibre MG's, the Jug could also carry those bombs and rockets, making it a deadly adversary late in WW2, when they roamed free, at low level, over occupied territory, destroying ground based targets. Serving with distinction both in European and Pacific theatres of war, the Thunderbolt served with the US until the late 1940's. Other countries to use the type included the Soviet Union, United Kingdom, France, and Republic of China, with the Peruvian Air Force using the type, up until its ultimate retirement from service in 1966.

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This release sees the re-issue of the Hasegawa P-47D Thunderbolt which is, without doubt, the finest representation of the Bubble-top, in any scale. The original kit was released in 2007 (08077) and has seen three more subsequent releases prior to this one. Packaged in the now familiar, but deep Hasegawa top-opening box, this kit comprises of SEVENTEEN sprues of light grey plastic, ONE clear sprue and THREE flexible sprues of polythene caps. There are FOUR of the smaller grey plastic sprues that aren't actually used for this release, comprising alternate props and undercarriage bay sections for the wing.

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As grinds a little with me, the sprues aren't bagged separately, but into two bags for the grey parts, and the clear sprue with polycaps being in another. However, this kit exhibits no damage from being packaged this way.

The outward appearance of this kit is very typical of Hasegawa in both style and execution, with the exterior being devoid of rivets, with the exception of a small number of beautifully reproduced slotted fasteners where appropriate. Panel lines, access ports and other engraved details are of the highest standard in being crisp, even and of scale appearance.

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The control surfaces of this kit are moulded in situ meaning you will need to do a little surgery if you want to pose them dynamically. Their representation is very good, with them actually appearing to be separate despite the individual moulding. Rivet detail, where applicable in these areas, is recessed and very subtle.

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The cockpit is very well appointed. This area is constructed as a module, complete with excellent side wall detail, suitably detailed instrument panel with raised instrument detail, rudder pedal assembly and other equipment. There is a decal included for the instrument panel, but I would look at a way of using individual instrument decals, as those made by Airscale. The seat has no belts, so you will need to make these yourself or look for an aftermarket solution. The cockpit also has full colour references to help you with painting. This cockpit module fits into an innovative wing spar which both helps place the cockpit at the right altitude and position, and also gives the wings themselves a positive location with the correct dihedral and rigidity needed for a kit of this size. The design here is excellent. An insert fitting between the two fuselage halves is also included, complete with polycaps so that you may pug/un-plug the centre-line fuel tank. Should you wish to fit him, a pilot is also included, and this looks pretty reasonable.

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The Pratt & Whitney engine is moulded with the two rows of cylinders being separate parts. Each bank of cylinders is a single part too, with no unsightly seams needing to be exorcised around the circumference. A push rod ring and a small number of other parts complete this assembly. The supercharger fits to the engine bulkhead, and a four piece cowl cover engine with a forward ring helping the alignment of the cowl parts. The radiator flap ring is supplied in both open and closed options. Two prop types are supplied, and again, your usage will be dictated by the machine you depict.

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The undercarriage is well presented with separate brake lines and excellent definition. Wheels are two-part, and aren't weighted unfortunately, so you'll need to sort that aspect out yourself. The undercarriage main bays are excellent, with crisp detail and some ancillary equipment in there. The outer, rear part of the well shape from the wing is separate, with their being two different types within the kit, depending on which scheme you will chose. Inner undercarriage doors are also cleverly designed. These were quite chunky on the P-47, and Hasegawa have made these out of an inner and outer part so that no pin marks can be seen. Different hub-cap types are supplied, and  the ones  you use will be dictated by the scheme.

Landing flaps can be modelled in either a raised or lowered position, with the hinges being individual parts and quite detailed and the placing of them being rigid and positive. Under-wing pylons are included so you may mount bombs or fuel tanks, and the latter are plugged onto these pylons by means of more polycaps.

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External stores include an optional centreline drop tank, two wing mounted drop tanks and two bombs.

All grey plastic parts are exceptionally moulded with no flash, poor seams or issues with ejector pin marks. However, my sample does have some sink marks on the wings for which the integrally moulded in stiffener/spar seems to be responsible. You'll need to do a little filling with Mr Dissolved Putty, or similar here.

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The clear sprue holds two canopies. One of these is a single piece, closed option, while the two separate parts are for the open option. Landing and formation lights and gun-sight reflectors. Moulding is excellent with the parts being beautifully clear and well defined.

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The instruction manual is a 12 page A4 production in black and white, with sixteen constructional sequences given, as well as the black and white profiles for the three included schemes. All drawings are extremely clear and easy to follow, with good part notation and a sprue plan showing parts NOT to be used as shaded out portions. Paint codes are given for GSO Creos Aqueous paint, and Mr Color.

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A single sheet of satin finish decals is included. These do seem reasonably thin, with minimal carrier film. The decals also include a variety of stencils as well as several for the cockpit, such as a full instrument panel decal. Various wing walk-ways and wing stripes are supplied in decal form, but I would be inclined to paint these instead.  Printing is in perfect register with all colour being both solid and authentic.

That three schemes are:

  • P-47D-25-RE, 61st Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group, 8AF, Lt. Col. Francis Gabreski, July 20th 1944
  • P-47D-25-RE, 61st Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group, 8AF, Lt. Col. Francis Gabreski, July 20th 1944
  • P-47D-30-RE, 353rd Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group, 9AF, Maj. Glenn T. Eagleston, France, Early 1945

So what do we think?
In 1:32, this is simply the best, most accurate and P-47 D kit that money can buy, and if you've never had the pleasure of seeing a Thunderbolt kit, then the size of this beast will surprise you. All of the Hasegawa P-47D releases are excellent, and this is no exception. Although two schemes are very similar, in all this is a great kit, and well worth considering. Make sure you have plenty of shelf space though.

Highly recommended.

Our sincere thanks to Creative Models for the review sample used here. To purchase this directly, click THIS link.

James H.

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