by Brian Criner
images by Gregg Cooper
Tamiya's 1/48 scale P-47D Thunderbolt is available online from
Here is my 1/48 scale Tamiya P-47D.
This is the second Tamiya T-bolt I have
completed this year. I was fortunate to have a friend, Stan Spooner, who
owns an advertising agency that does work for Tamiya America. They were
doing the new ad for the T-bolt and he asked me if I could get it done for
him as he was wrapped up with a few other projects. I jumped at the
opportunity to be the first in the area to build the T-bolt.
Unfortunately, it had to be out of the box using the kit decals. Although
Frank Kilbbes Little Chief is a fascinating subject, it was not what I had
in mind for my Jug.
After completing the P-47 for the ad, I
quickly acquired another Tamiya P-47 and got started on my topic, Major
Bill Dunham's "Bonnie", from the 348th fighter group. Major Dunham's plane
is of course, the plane represented on the cover of Squadron's in action
book on the Jug.
Before starting, I called my friend, Greg
Cooper from Scalequest, and asked him if I could pick up one of his great
updates for the Thunderbolt. The Scalequest set includes resin oil cooler
exits and wastegates, an air divider, open cowl flaps for both early and
late T-bolts, and intercoolers. Greg graciously gave me one of his sets
and offered to photograph the model once it was complete (As you can see,
Greg is also a fantastic photographer).
Greg's resin parts are dream to work with
when compared with some other resin products out there. Once the resin
sprue-blocks are removed, the pieces just fit right into place! They are a
great enhancement to a great kit and I recommend to anyone considering a
build up of the Tamiya Jug to seriously considering picking up a set. His
directions are straight forward and practical and there are just no fit
Having never built a plane with a natural
metal finish (at least one in which the natural metal is SUPPOSED to be
showing and not exposed as a result of "chipping"), I needed to decide
which metalizer system to use.
Being a creature of habit, and generally
being a coward when it comes to trying something new, I opted to pass on
Greg's advice that I use Alcad II, and use my tried and true method for
metal undercoats using Testors Model Master Buffable Metalizer paints.
Once the plane was together, I sprayed on
Aluminum metalizer and buffed it to nice sheen with my variable speed
Dremel w/flexishaft attached. I then coated the metalizer with Future
Floor wax to act as a protective coat over the paint and as a smoother
surface for decals. Although the thought of masking the ID strips and
antiglare panels caused a bit of trepidation, there were generally no
problems with paint being pulled up (I use Tamiya tape for masking). Once
the paint and decals were on, along with an additional coat of Future to
seal the decals, I covered the surface with clear flat. This gave the what
I figured, was the best representation of weathered natural metal. I
followed this coat with a liberal wash of Burnt Umber using Grumbacher
Artist oils and Turpenoid, and then another coat of flat. I would say, for
the most part, I didn't experience all of the problems I had anticipated
using metalizer paints.
I did experience some fingerprint issues from
handling the model. A friend suggested I use Testor's Metalizer sealer,
which believe it or not, I didn't even know existed until after I finished
the model. I don't know if it would have helped prevent fingerprints.In
addition to the scalequest parts used, additional aftermarket parts used
were some great wheels from Ultracast, painted seat belts and some cockpit
bits from Eduard, and or course decals from Aeromaster.
The project was a delightful one and actually
only took about 3 1/2 weeks to complete (compared to my usual months and
I have already picked up another Scalequest set in
anticipation of the release of Tamiya's bubbletop...Yeah Baby!
thumbnails below to view larger images:
Model and Text Copyright © 2003 by
Images Copyright © 2003 by
Page Created 11 June, 2003
05 May, 2005
HyperScale Main Page