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1/72 scale Thunderjet Prototype
Republic XP-84

by Bill Dye


Republic XP-84 Thunderjet


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I built the Heller F-84E/G and the ESCI F-84F (that one about 20 odd years ago) and recently the Project ‘X’ Main Track XF-84H Thunderscreech (see Hyperscale article). I was looking through a book I have on the Thunderjets and I saw the prototype. Clean, simple, gray. I just had to do it. It will be go to the head of the line of my growing Thunder family. I dug up my references, read up on the Thunderjet and studied the differences between the E/G and the prototype. I found out that the prototype, the XP-84, was a foot shorter in length than the operational Thunderjets.

The photos I had provided all of the rest of the details that were different, such as the pitot probe on the left wing, an antenna under the fuselage behind the nose gear well, a clear canopy (not ribbed), far fewer vents and things and of course no wing tip tanks.


The F-84 obviously grew out of the prototype and aside from some of the changes mentioned above it went in to operation looking very much like the prototype. I won’t bore you with a lot of statistics but suffice to say that I was, first, surprised at how many of the straight winged F-84s were built and, second, impressed with the amount of action they saw in Korea.

Feels good to see my family grow!




Modifications and Basic Assembly

I had a Heller kit, so I used it. This was to be a very simple, clean looking airplane and Heller’s shape looked pretty good to me. Actually I love Heller kits – the ones with the silver plastic. You can sand off all of the raised panel lines and the line marks are still there for you to re-scribe engraved panel lines. No measuring with micrometers to get the left and right wings the same. Anyway, I thought it would be really cool to put the finished model of the prototype next to the F-84E that I already had built. This meant that the standard ‘E’ fuselage had to be shortened one foot and the tip tanks removed. The removed area was just in front of the wing leading edge. If you are doing this; pick up the razor saw, take a deep breath and make the cut. Make – the – cut. What’s the worst that could happen? What could go wrong? Do each fuselage half and then re-glue so you still have two longitudinal fuselage halves. . . . . Right?


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

This also meant that the cockpit and canopy had to be shortened by one foot too. All I did was slide the ‘tub’ under the instrument panel a little more – of course I had to reshape the cockpit floor to the changed contour. But, the canopy was another story. Not only did it have to be shortened but I had to get rid of the ribs to yield a bubble type canopy used on the prototype. So, I got out the razor saw (again) and cut off the forward part of the canopy one foot – just do it! – and then filed off the raised ribbing. The canopy was thick so I was able to reshape the front to match the windscreen when closed. Hu-huu! I didn’t have to vac a new canopy! I sanded it with 400 paper (wet), then 600, 1000, etc. up to Blue Magic polish and then dunked it into the Future floor wax bottle, set on a paper towel and covered it with a small clean cup to keep kitty hairs off of it.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The wing tips were rebuilt with scrap plastic and then Tamiya putty to fill in the gaps and then filing and sanding to the right shape.



Painting and Markings


The machine gun ports, all of the vents on the fuselage and the blow in doors had to be filled in. (All the photos showed no machine gun ports on either the wings or the fuselage for the first prototype.) A brass rod pitot probe was inserted into a hole drilled into the left wing leading edge and another brass rod was inserted into the bottom fuselage centerline behind the nose wheel door. That one was filed to taper it and then filed to square its circular cross-section. These were glued in for keeps after the model was completed.


The airplane was painted with GUNZE acrylic light aircraft gray, then, after a few days, over sprayed with gloss water soluble Varathane thinned with pure water (NO ALCOHOL) about 30% (yes, Varathane). I bought an Aero-Master Decal sheet for an F-84E/G Thunderjet for the nose numbers but I had to convert an ‘F’ into a ‘P’ using the top part of a ‘3’ elsewhere on the decal sheet. I also bought a 1/48th decal sheet of scale black 45degree letters and numbers for the very large buzz numbers on the wings. The landing gear doors had to be scrutinized as to what part of the ‘P’ and ‘S’ would be on each part of the gear doors. Not too hard. The stars without bars came with the F-84E/G decal set and were the correct size for the prototype. The serial numbers on the tail I pieced together from the serial numbers on the various F-84 decals.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

I just love the looks of the clean XP-84 prototype. After the decals dried for a day or so, I oversprayed the model with Model Master Acrylic clear. I mixed some gloss with a little flat to get a semi-gloss finish.

I put on the gears, doors, pulled off the canopy masking, put bare Metal Foil on the exhaust and made the aft part of that look burnt with Testor's Exhaust. I added the jet exhaust which was a piece of Aluminum tube painted gloss black deep inside an grimy black near the exit plane streaked with brown and light gray chalk powers from my railroad hobby supplies.

The pitot probe and the antenna were installed and painted.

All done.

Bury me with sandpaper!




  • Pace, Steve; X-Fighters (USAF Experimental and Prototype Fighters XP-59 to YF-23), 1991; pp 46-48

  • Kinzey, Bert, F-84 Thunderjet in Detail, Detail in Scale Vol. 59, 1999

  • Davis, Larry and Menard, David, F-84 Thunderjet in Action, Aircraft Number 61, 1983

  • Westel, Freeman, ‘Rolling Thunder’,Wings, October 1993, Vol. 23 No. 5, pp8-23

  • McLaren, David R., Republic F-84 Thunderjet, Sthunderstreak, & Thunderflash, A PhotoChronicle, 1998



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text by Copyright © 2006 by Bill Dye
Page Created 19 July, 2006
Last Updated 21 February, 2007

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