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P-47D Bubbletop

by Roger Fabrocini

Republic P-47D Thunderbolt "Bubbletop"


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




This is Tamiya's 1/48th scale P-47D 'Bubbletop', kit #61090, finished in the kit supplied markings of Lt.Col. Benjamin Mayo,. 84th FS, 78th FG, at Duxford airfield during 1944.



I settled on his 84th squadron mount after coming up empty trying to find his 82nd squadron aircraft, "No Guts, No Glory" markings.




Despite my most ardent attempts, this kit fell together as advertised. After market parts used were as followed:

  • ScaleQuest T-bolt enhancement set #SQ-001AP

  • Eduard P.E. set #49-226 (though designed for the 'Razorback', most pieces are interchangeable)

  • Ultracast resin wheels UC48122 block tread

  • Aires PW R-2800 (late) engine #484003



Of note is the kit cockpit, which stood on it's own save a few details added. Eduard P.E. instrument panel and assorted bits plus the Blackbox resin gunsight.

The Aires PW R-2800 fit beautifully by simply hollowing out the back of the crankcase to fit into the kit firewall. I modified the kit mags to fit the Aires gearcase and painted the P.E. ignition harness with a mix of Andrea earth acrylic (AC-40), Tamiya metallic brown (X-34) and Dark Copper (XF-28). Successive coats are built up to give the flat P.E. piece a rounder, more realistic profile.



The crankcase was painted with Mr. Resin Primer, post shaded with a brown/black mix. The cylinders are Alclad II steel, dry brushed with Mr. Color flat aluminum and washed with a brown/black mix of artist oils.



Painting and Markings


One of my motovations forf this build was to do a natural metal finish.

My plan was to paint the airframe as the prototype would have been, first replicate the aluminum skin then "paint" on the markings.

After basic construction the airframe was polished, primed with Mr. Surfacer 1000, checked for flaws and polished again.

The 'base' aluminum coat is Alclad II aluminum, using a gravity feed Harder&Steenbeck "Evolution" airbrush. Random panels were then masked off using strips of flexible frisket material and sprayed with Alclad II dark aluminum and white aluminum. the Dark aluminum shade was used to 'post shade' panel lines, vents, etc. The airframe was then coated with Mr. Color Super glosscoat. The kit stencils, serial numbers and squadron codes were then applied. The final coat is Floquil Flat finish, the original lacquer based version. It dries with a slight sheen that i find to be very close to the original sheen of the Alclad paint.



After a few days drying time, the final markings were applied. The anti-glare panels are Gunze H-52 US aircraft OD, the invasion stripes are Gunze #H-21 Off White and #H-77 Tire Black. H-77 is also used for the ID stripes. These markings are not oversprayed to give the impression of paint on metal.

Final weathering details included a post-shading of a brown/black acrylic mix and wash of brown/black artist oils.





After hearing so much about these Tamiya T-bolts, I must say I had to build one, and the build lived up to the 'hype'.



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright 2003 by Roger Fabrocini
Page Created 16 September, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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