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P-47D Thunderbolt

by Ian Robertson


Republic P-47D Thunderbolt


Tamiya's 1/48 scale P-47D Bubbletop is available online from Squadron




Despite the subheading, Tamiya's 1/48 scale P-47D Bubbletop really needs no introduction. It is a beautifully crafted kit that looks wonderful out of the box.

The only aftermarket enhancement that seemed necessary to me was etched metal seatbelts from Eduard.



One might also consider alternative decals given the abundance of striking options that are available from such companies as Eagle Strike, Aeromaster, Cutting Edge, and SuperScale, among others. However, this time around I decided to stick with Tamiya's markings for Maj. Gen. William Kepner's aircraft, "Kokomo".

Some unique features of this aircraft included the deletion of wing pylons and external stores, as well as the removal of the outboard machine guns.


Painting and Markings

The cockpit was painted using a combination of Model Master Acryl interior green and #3 green (a bluish green). Control panels were sprayed scale black. Wheel wells were painted yellow zinc chromate mixed with a little interior green to tone the color down.

The exterior natural metal finish was sprayed using various shades of Alclad II lacquers applied over a base coat of Tamiya surface primer.

The shades of Alclad II used included aluminum, semi-matte aluminum, and polished aluminum. I found that the subtle variations in these shades was sufficient to provide an interesting and varied finish to the model.
I prefer this approach over the uniform application of a single color.


I departed from Tamiya's instructions regarding the color for the cowl ring and upper fuselage deck. Tamiya recommends a bright green (1 part XF-4 [yellow green] and 3 parts XF-5 [green]), whereas a color photograph I obtained (thanks to John Greiner) suggests that those colors were simply faded olive drab. This latter interpretation makes more sense to me given that the upper deck of P-47D's in natural metal finish were olive drab, so I opted for Aeromaster's faded olive drab acrylic.

Panel lines were darkened slightly using a thinned mixture of burnt umber and raw sienna. Note that in my photographs the panel lines are unusually bright due to the reflection of sunlight off the natural metal finish.




Images of the completed model were taken outdoors with a SONY digital camera set at its highest picture resolution (2048 x 1536 pixels).

Other camera settings were as follows: 200 ISO film speed, 800-1000th/sec shutter speed, F-stop 8.0, and fixed focus distance of either 20 or 30 cm. Images were cleaned up using Adobe Photoshop 6.0 for the Macintosh. Specifically, the interface between the base and background were merged using the software's "blur" tool, and edges in some photographs were sharpened using the "sharpen edges" tool.
Sharpening images in such a way helps to restore some of the clarity lost during image compression.



Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright 2004 by Ian Robertson
Page Created 06 February, 2004
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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