1/48 Monogram P-47D

'Dallas Blond'  

by Kevin Hayes

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This is my 1/48 Monogram P-47D Razorback, customized with many scratch-built details, and finished as ‘Dallas Blond’, a colorful jug flown by the ‘Checkertail Clan’ in the Mediterranean theater.

 

 

 

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This being my first model since I joined the U.S. Air Force, I started it with the idea that I would finish it in a weekend, straight out of the box. I’m not sure what happened, but before I knew it this baby turned into an almost-all-out effort to kick the detail up a notch. The kit is a decent one, with some noticeable in-accuracies, but great value for the money. To make a long story short, 5 months later, and after much scratch building, I finally finished ‘Dallas Blond’. I must say that it took 5 months because I naturally keep very busy, not simply because of the work I put into it. 

The first area of attention was the cockpit. The cockpit was detailed with scratch built seat belts, gun sight details, throttle, a map, and a headrest that was made from real leather! The N-3 gun sight was courtesy of Cutting Edge, while I scratch built the mount for the back up ‘ring and bead’ sight, and added the sighting lens cut from clear styrene. The belts were made from masking tape, cut to size and painted. The buckles are sheet styrene, and the map is a folded bit of paper. The rear view mirror above the windshield was scratch built using a fashioned piece of sprue, then super glued to a metallic candy bar wrapper to replicate the actual reflective surface.

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After the fuselage went together, I detailed the R-2800 and ducting underneath it. The engine was detailed with copper wire, to represent the pushrods and harness.  

One of the more tedious tasks in building this kit was in joining the wings to the fuselage, and cleaning them up. The wings are all very thick on the trailing edges, and I spent quite a bit of time sanding away the edges to get them thinner. While I was doing this, I cut away the elevators, and glued them in a more realistic ‘relaxed’ position. I had to replace all the trim tab actuators on all the control surfaces after I finished sanding, since they went away with the extra plastic.

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As with most Monogram kits, fit is not perfect, and filler was used on most of the seams. Anyone who has built a 1/48 P-47 knows that there is usually a tricky seam right through the wheel wells that can be quite difficult to get rid of. The problem is that the raised grooved detail is lost if you fill and sand the seam like normal, resulting in a bald spot where the seam once was. After much soul searching, I went an alternate method and scratch built the wheel wells with sheet styrene. I’m not sure which Evergreen product number I used, but the styrene sheet I used had lines/grooves scribed into it, so all I had to do was cut the sheets to the shape of the wheel wells, and glue them in place. Presto, seams eliminated, detail intact.

Another one of the small inaccuracies of the monogram kit is the alignment of the 4 Browning 50 cals in the leading edges of the wings. They should be parallel to the ground, not the leading edge, as on the kit. To resolve this issue, I cut the kit iterations off, and drilled new holes, properly aligned. Next I cut brass tubing to the desired length (Tarmac product), and super glued the new barrels into the leading edges. The pitot tube was also done in a similar manner. 

The Squadron vacuum formed canopy was detailed with a single piece of copper wire across the front to simulate the brace/ handhold in the real aircraft, and the frame is painted scotch tape, cut in strips and laid in place. 

Additional details included the addition of scratch built nav lights, formation lights (MV Lenses), landing light (MV Lens), bomb braces, sway braces, air conditioning intake, gun camera portal, True Details wheels, and radio antenna.

The model was finished with airbrushed Model Master paints, and clear coated with Future.  Cutting Edge decals of Dallas Blond were applied, and sealed with Model Master Acrylic flat coat. The noseart on the sheet is well done, however the sheet comes with no stencils, and indeed is missing some markings. I had to hand paint the cowl flap checks since one decal from the CE sheet is printed backwards. Finally, I weathered the model with pastels, graphite, and dry brushing.

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 All in all, this was a great project to get me back into model building. I tried many new things with this kit, and it definitely challenged me along the way. Despite some inaccuracies and fit problems, it looks great when finished, and is above all, readily affordable.

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About me

I am in the U.S. Air Force, based at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. I’m assigned to the 517th AS, the ’Firebirds’, flying the C-130H Hercules in the airlift capacity throughout the Pacific, Asia, and the Artic. My job is working on the T-56A-15 turbo prop that powers the Herc, and it is a challenging one. My time with this squadron has already brought me to many different parts of the world, and I have had many wonderful experiences thanks to the Air Force. Recently, I got the fantastic opportunity to ride in an F-15E Strike Eagle, of the 90th Fighter Squadron, the “Pair O’ Dice”, back in July. I have pictures of that wonderful experience here: 

http://community.webshots.com/user/kjhayes007

Coincidentally, my next model project is the 90th FS flagship, the same aircraft I flew that day! The 1/48 Revell kit, Black Box cockpit, Aires burner cans, and Eduard photo etch round out my Strike Eagle package. Until then, good modeling, and stay tuned!

Additions 

  • Cutting Edge decals sheet # CED48127 P-47C/D Nose Art 2

  • Cutting Edge N-3 gun sight

  • CMK navigation lights and gun sights

  • Evergreen sheet styrene

  • MV Lenses

  • Squadron vacuum formed canopy

  • True Details P-47 wheels

  • Tarmac brass tubing

References 

  • Detail and Scale Vol. 54 P-47 Thunderbolt, By Bert Kinzey  

Kevin

Photos and text © by Kevin Hayes