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Republic P-47C Thunderbolt with Ferry Tank (DW48054) 1:48


Mike

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Republic P-47C Thunderbolt with Ferry Tank (DW48054)

1:48 Dora Wings imported in the UK by Albion Alloys

 

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The Thunderbolt was 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 C is the vertical radio mast behind the canopy, which was changed from forward raked on the C and later variants.  The production from a new factory that had been opened to keep up with demand led to the use of the D suffix, and 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 older than many of us.

 

 

The Kit

This is a minor variant on a brand-new P-47B tooling from Dora Wings, following on from their P-43 Lancer that we reviewed earlier, 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, a set of resin wheels in a Ziploc bag, and the instruction booklet in portrait A5 with colour throughout that has two decal sheets and vinyl canopy masks slipped inside.  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 behind 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 top of 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 a multi-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 newly-tooled 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 .50cal machine gun barrels are inserted into the leading edge on a carrier that sits inside the wing on a groove to ensure they project the correct distance and at the right angle to the wing.  The completed wings are slid over the spars and glued in place, adding a smooth central insert in the belly, the ailerons, posing them deflected if you wish, fitting leading-edge 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 that should be done before painting the bays, a landing light is inserted into a hole in the lower wing, and twin 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, which you could thin a little more for additional realism.

 

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 blade pair.  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 using resin tyres that have no central seams, plus styrene hubs each side, while the resin tail wheel is fitted later in the build.  The ferry tank is moulded as a two-part dome that conforms to the underside of the new fuselage.  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 links, 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 bulkhead that has a raised centre portion to achieve the correct position so that it will be properly visible through 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 vertical mast behind the cockpit and the pitot in the port wingtip.  The canopy is supplied in two parts, the windscreen forming 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 resin wheels and inner bay doors plus actuators, the tail wheel strut is inserted into its bay and has the resin 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 and bright nose art that help to individualise them.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • P-47C-5-RE (41-6347) 56FG 62FS, Cpt. Eugene W O’Neil, May 1943
  • P-47C-5-RE (41-6539) 4FG 336FS, Cpt. Kenneth D ‘Black Snake Pete’ Peterson, April 1943
  • P-47C-5-RE (41-6330) 56FG 62FS, Col. Hubert Zemke, April 1943
  • P-47C-2-RE (41-6192) 4FG 336FS, Woodrow W Sooman Debden, May 1943

 

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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 and the -B variant were very short-lived, so have their own rarity value and appeal.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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Distributed in the UK and Available in all good model shops by

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