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Republic P-47B Thunderbolt (DW48051) 1:48


Mike

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Republic P-47B Thunderbolt (DW48051)

1:48 Dora Wings

 

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The Thunderbolt developed from a series of less-than-successful earlier designs that saw Seversky aviation change to Republic, and the project designation from P-35, to P-43 and P-44, each with its own aggressive sounding name. After a realisation that their work so far wasn't going to cut it in the skies over war-torn Europe, they went back to the drawing board and produced the P-47A that was larger, heavier and sported the new Pratt & Whitney R-2800 18-cylinder radial that would also power the B-26 Marauder, P-61 Black Widow and F4U Corsair. With it they added eight .50cal Browning machine guns aligned along the axis of flight in the wing leading edge.

 

The P-47A was still a smaller aircraft, and was initially ordered without military equipment to allow faster completion, but it was considered inferior to the competition then available, so an extensive re-design was ordered that resulted in the much large P-47B, firing up to 100 rounds per second from the eight .50cal wing guns, and with a maximum speed of over 400mph, leaving just the fuel load slightly short of requirements.  It first flew mid-1941, and despite being a heavy-weight, its performance was still excellent, and the crash of the prototype didn’t affect the order for over 700 airframes, which were fitted with a more powerful version of the R-2800 and a sliding canopy that made ingress and egress more streamlined, particularly when bailing out of a doomed aircraft.  Minor re-designs to early production airframes resulted in a change to the P-47C, which meant that fewer than 200 Bs were made, the C benefitting from improved radio, oxygen systems, and a metal rudder to prevent flutter that had been affecting control at certain points in the performance envelope.  A quick way to spot a B is the forward raked aerial mast behind the cockpit, as this was changed to vertical on the C and beyond.  The production from a new factory that had been opened to keep up with demand led to the use of the D suffix, although they were initially identical to the C, but the cowling flaps were amended later, making it easier to differentiate.  Of course, the later bubble-canopy P-47s were far easier to tell apart from earlier marks, and constant improvement in reliability, performance and fuel load was added along the way.  Its weight, firepower and seemingly unstoppable character led to the nickname ‘Juggernaut’, which was inevitably shortened to ‘Jug’ and led to many, many off-colour jokes during and after the war.  Jokes that are still soldiering on to this day, despite being eligible for a pensioner’s bus pass.

 

 

The Kit

This is a brand-new tooling from Dora Wings, following on from their P-43 Lancer that we reviewed here in 1:48, which bears more than a passing family resemblance.  The kit arrives in a petite top-opening box, with an attractive painting of the subject on the front that has a gloss varnished finish over the aircraft itself and the Dora logo, adding an air of class to the package that is replicated within.  Opening the box reveals a clear re-sealable bag that contains eight sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass, decal sheet and vinyl canopy masks in a Ziploc bag, and the instruction booklet in portrait A5 with colour throughout.  We have been reviewing Dora’s output for several years now, and every kit they release is an improvement over the last, with this one no exception, which is particularly impressive given the ongoing situation in Ukraine.  The surface detail is excellent, with fine engraved panel lines, raised and engraved features, a full rendition of the massive power-plant, detailed cockpit and gear bays, and posable flying surfaces.

 

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Construction begins with the instrument panel, which has three decals applied to the front, and a pair of rudder pedals with separate actuators attached underneath it.  The seat has a PE diagonal in the rear of the pan, and has PE four-point belts added to it, plus a mounting frame at the back, also creating a throttle quadrant with PE gate and levers ready for installation in the cockpit later.  The cockpit floor is a flat part that is covered in ribbing and other details, adding PE and styrene levers before putting in the rear bulkhead on a keyed tab, then fitting the seat assembly and control column into the centre of the floor.  The two sidewalls are detailed with styrene radio and document box, plus the throttle box and PE levers, with a detailed painting guide that continues throughout the build.  The sidewalls trap the instrument panel and rudders near the front of the cockpit, with a semi-circular bulkhead closing off the view forward.  Attention then shifts to the engine, starting with the reduction bell-housing, which has a horse-shoe wiring harness added to the rear, magnetos and other equipment added to the housing, then fitting a ring of push-rods behind it before fixing the two banks of cylinders behind, both with fine cooling vane detail engraved around the sides, and in order to reduce the thickness of the styrene the rear faces are hollow where they won’t be seen, which is eminently preferable to sink marks in the fine details.  This is a trick they have been using for a while, including the Vultee Vengeance I built last year.  The cowling is supplied in two halves, with amulti-part insert making up the ducting in the lower portion, locked in place by the one-part cowling lip with its distinctive horse-collar frontal profile.

 

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The fuselage is closed around the cockpit, adding a spar through the wing root mouldings, intake backing surfaces in the sides of the fuselage, and the detailed turbosupercharger insert under the tail.  A tiny rib is also added to the front of the nose gear bay during closure.  The rudder is made from two parts, adding thickness to the lower section, then the elevator fins are each assembled from two parts in preparation for installation in the tail.  Before this, the wings are made, starting with the upper skin, which has the main gear bay roof detail moulded-in that is augmented by fitting the bay walls around the edges, and several ribs running aft, plus a retraction jack in the outer section.  Before closing the wings, the four gun barrels are inserted into the leading edge as a single part on a backing plate that sits inside the wing on a groove to ensure they project the correct distance.  The completed wings are slid over the spars and glued in place, adding the ailerons, posing them deflected if you wish, fitting the inserts around the guns, and a choice of deflectors over the outlets on the fuselage sides.  Two small triangular PE webs are glued to the rear of the bays, a landing light is inserted into a hole in the lower wing, and two cowling flaps are fixed into position in front of the exhausts.  The fairing over the turbosupercharger is then fitted, the detail remaining visible thanks to the outlet at the rear.

 

More sub-assemblies are created next, starting with the four-bladed Curtiss Electric prop, which is cleverly made from two almost identical parts with half the boss moulded into each half.  The two-part spinner and prop-shaft are slipped through the hole in the centre, and a PE spacer ring is glued to the rear before it is put aside, although it might be as well to paint it and apply the stencil decals to the blades at this stage.  The cockpit coaming is vaguely triangular and has the gunsight with reflecting glass fixed to the slot in the rear along with a backup PE ring sight, then the wheels are built from tyres in two halves, plus two hubs, while the tail wheel is moulded in two halves with integral hub.  The main gear legs are each single parts to which the two-part scissor-links are fitted, adding the lower captive bay door first, then the narrow upper section that has PE connectors, and a long strut joining the top.  The tail wheel strut is in two halves with a separate yoke and two-part actuator that extends deep into the bay for insertion later.

 

The engine is mated to the front of the fuselage via the blanking plate that has a raised centre portion to achieve the correct position so that it will be properly visible with the cowling that is placed over it.  The elevator panels and cowling are installed, fitting the wingtip lights and a PE trim-tab to the rear of the starboard aileron, then installing the prop, the rudder that traps the single part elevators in position, the forward-raked mast behind the cockpit and the pitot in the port wingtip.  The canopy is supplied in two parts, the windscreen a separate part that has a rear-view mirror fitted to the top, then is joined by the main canopy, which sadly can’t be posed open because it is moulded integrally to the fixed rear sections.  Underneath, the main gear is added with its wheels and inner bay doors plus actuators, the tail wheel strut is inserted into its bay and has the wheel slipped over the axle, gluing bay doors to the sides with PE actuators.

 

 

Markings

There are four decal options on the sheet, all wearing the same olive drab over grey schemes with wavy demarcations, but with decals that help to individualise them.  The first option also has darker green camouflage splotches around the leading and trailing edges of the flying surfaces to break up the outline a little.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • P-47B-RE (41-6002), Colonel Hubert Zemke, 56th FG, Bridgeport, September 1942
  • P-47B-RE (41-5905), Wright Field, Ohio
  • P-47B-RE (41-5901), ‘Lucky Seven!’, the Seventh Serial P-47
  • P-47B-RE (41-6037), 1st Mixed Instruction Group, Brazil, October 1944

 

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Decals are by Decograph, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin satin carrier film cut close to the printed areas.  There is a full painting table on the rear page that gives the colour names, plus Mr Hobby, Tamiya, AMMO, Hataka and LifeColor paint codes to assist you with painting your model.

 

 

Conclusion

Dora Wings make interesting and detailed models that are a little out of the ordinary, and while the P-47 is hardly unusual, this variant was very short-lived, so has its own rarity value.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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Available in the UK in all good model shops via their importers:

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Having built several Dora Wings kits of late, I have high praise for their plastic. I just wish their instructions were of the same quality. They tend to let the product down due to the disparity. But in balance I might be a tad pernickety when it comes to expectations. Their current retail prices seem to have risen noticeably as well. 

 

I'm just finishing off a Lancer P-43 and found the included canopy mask was for another model altogether and useless for the P-43. QA fell down there. 

Edited by Murfie
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35 minutes ago, Murfie said:

Having built several Dora Wings kits of late, I have high praise for their plastic. I just wish their instructions were of the same quality. They tend to let the product down due to the disparity. But in balance I might be a tad pernickety when it comes to expectations. Their current retail prices seem to have risen noticeably as well. 

 

I'm just finishing off a Lancer P-43 and found the included canopy mask was for another model altogether and useless for the P-43. QA fell down there. 

You may being a little harsh on them perhaps, but I've found a few greeblies in the instructions before now, but always far from insurmountable.  The kits are definitely worth the effort though :) I'm not a big fan of vinyl masks anyway, so always cut my own, as I tend to have no problem making my own relatively quickly.  Lazy me likes masks provided to ease the way, but for die-cut sets, I usually live in hope of a double-sided mask made from kabuki tape, as I'm deeply in love with them  :wub:

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Looks really nice. Things like the separate panel for the super charger outlet is nice as long as it fits well. Nice to see the fabric control surfaces so you can model a later modified B and some things are done better and more detailed than the Tamiya kit. There's a few things that look like they need fixing, nothing major though, but the one things that Dora Wings don't seem to include on the majority of their kits is an open canopy option, which would be nice if they could change that in the future.

 

I think the position of the cowls on the runners is just to mess with people with OCD!

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On 19/07/2023 at 17:40, Tbolt said:

I think the position of the cowls on the runners is just to mess with people with OCD!

Its certainly messing with mine :rofl2: The kit looks superb and I've asked my LMS to order one for me. You mentioned that a few things need fixing - could you elaborate please?

 

Cheers,

Mark

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2 hours ago, 2996 Victor said:

Its certainly messing with mine :rofl2: The kit looks superb and I've asked my LMS to order one for me. You mentioned that a few things need fixing - could you elaborate please?

 

Cheers,

Mark

 

I don't have the kit and I haven't seen the instructions ( I wish every manufacture would put a PDF of the instructions on their site ) so it's only from what I seen of the kit and maybe there are notes in the kit to modify parts.

 

The main thing is the fabric controls surfaces on the P-47B had a balance horn on the rudder, which has been moulded here, but the elevators also had balance horns, which have been missed on this kit. You can clearly see it in this picture towards the tip of the elevator. If you are modelling a B with metal control surfaces you will have to fill the balance horn cutout on the fin.

 

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The instrument panel has two small gauges on a separate panel on the bottom right of the main panel. These are the oxygen gauges but they weren't there on the P-47B, the single oxygen gauge was on the small sub panel to the right of the instrument panel ( see photo ), underneath the primer and cowl flap control which Dora have also molded, so just remove the lower panel with the two gauges on. Assuming they are going to use the same instrument panel for the P-47C, the oxygen gauge section of the right sub panel will need removing on that model and the lower panel can be left in place. Please not although I say the change was from the B to the C I can't be positive of that as the Parts Catalog I have doesn't show the B type installation so I'm only going from photos until I can find a drawing. But either way both gauge positions wouldn't be present ( but good they moulded both ).

 

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I'll leave any other comments till I've seen the kit in the flesh.

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