1/48 Academy P-47D Thunderbolt

by Jeff Brundt


  US Independence Day 2004   


This is the low-cost alternative to Tamiyaís P-47 Thunderbolt. The kit is very nice. Engraved panel lines are fine and crisp. The fit isnít bad either with putty needed mostly for the fuse seam and the machine gun port covers on the wing. Academyís cockpit is acceptable OOB but I decided to go with the Eduard express PE set for the Jug. You get a new instrument panel, seat belts, various exterior details and cockpit details (like rudder pedals).  You get gun bays with access hatches in the kit but the detail is a bit lacking. I permanently glued one side and made the other removable just in case I ever want to show it off. 

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The engine is passable too but only the die hard will want to oen up a side access panel. Unlike the Tamiya kit you donít have a flap option. Up is the only way the Academy kit comes. Sure you could do surgery but why bother. Most P-47ís had their flaps raised when parked anyway. I also used True Details resin wheels with the diamond tread pattern and spoked hub. I used these because they have the realistic weight on wheels effect.

I painted the Jug with Model Master enamels. I tried to gloss with Future in preparation for the decals but it soaked right in and Iíd have to spray a jillion coats so I opted for my usual gloss lacquer. What can I say about Academy decals that havenít already been said? They are what they are. Register is a bit off but their biggest drawback is their tendency to silver. I got lucky with the Jug that there were only a few silvered decals. The real challenge was the checkerboard decal for the cowl. Lots of Solvaset and X-Acto relief cuts were needed. Even then paint touch-up was required to hide the mismatches. 

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I chose not to use the fuselage invasion stripe decals and instead painted those. Panel lines were highlighted with a black enamel wash. Exhaust and gun stains were created with Floquil grimy black. Paint chipping was simulated using a Prisma-Color pencil. Afterwards it was all sealed down with Testorís Dullcoat. 

It was a nice build though. The P-47 is one of my favorite airplanes and itís big enough that even in 1/48th itís impressive sitting on the shelf.


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Photos and text © by Jeff Brundt