P-47d Thunderbolt "Razorback"

Monogram kit


Kit Manufacturer




Out of Box (OOB) or Modified

Rating (1-10 10=best)

P-47D Thunderbolt "Razorback"




Markings, armament

Markings, scratchbuilt rocket tubes


The P-47 Thunderbolt, known (sometimes affectionately) as the "Jug," was the USAAC's best ground attack fighter of WWII. While it wasn't always successful as an escort fighter (lacking range and experiencing compressability problems until the "D" series) its radial engine, load carrying capability, and eight .50 cal. machine guns made it an ideal ground attack aircraft, and its suprising maneuverability made it deadly when used as a fighter as well.

The P-47D came in two variants. Earlier aircraft had a raised spine, and were known as "Razorbacks." Later variants had the spine cut down and a bubble canopy fitted. This was the configuration used for all later variants. To me, the "Razorback" is a personal favourite, and just "looks" right for a P-47.

The Monogram kit was released in the late 1960s, and was one of the first kits to aim for an accurate replica instead of just a set of toylike working features. For years, it was the most accurate kit available, until the release of the Hasegawa kit (which costs four times as much and whose only advantages are a slightly better fit due to newer mouldings, and recessed panel lines.) The Monogram kit still holds up very well, however, providing for markings for two aircraft and a selection of stores (rocket tubes, 500lb bombs, and a centerline drop tank.) The only place this kit really is not accurate is in the guns - they've been moulded in line with the center of the wing, where they were really parallel with the ground.

Construction starts, not in the cockpit, but with the engine. It shows only the front row of engine cylenders, the split oil cooler intake, and a firewall, but if you paint it well it won't be a problem. Monogram would have you install the propeller at this time. I chose not to, allowing me to mask, decal, and paint the cowl later without worrying about the propeller. If you choose to do this, you'll probably not end up with a turning prop (not an issue for me.)

The kit provides a simple, yet nicely detailed cockpit. You may decide to find a resin replacement, but with the canopy closed, none is neccessary. There are very few parts (cockpit tub, instrument panel/rudder pedals, and control stick) but they're moulded relatively well - they even caught the corrugated floor in the cockpit. The whole tub fits into the cockpit as a unit, held on moulded in pins.

Here's where things get a little picky. The moulds are over 30 years old, and they show it. You may need a bit of filler at the fuselage join to clean things up. You'll definately need it at the wing/fuselage join - my suggestion is to fit the bottom wing as best you can, and use the filler on the top. The bottom of the wing has part of the wheel well, and the inside has a "corrugated" look which is difficult to repair. You will need to fix seam lines in the wings, no ifs, ands, or buts. Also, remember to open up the holes in the wings if you choose to use the rocket tubes.

The rocket tubes on my sample were definately showing their age. They didnt' fit without gaps, and were badly warped. I had anticipated this, and (from the first time I'd built this kit over a decade ago) remembered how they looked. I'd already purchased some brass tubing to replace them with, and cut this to length using the kit parts as a length and "binding" guide. I had some Pactra masking tape that was the appropriate width, and used this around the tubes. It came out rather well. Some plastic card was cut to the proper size and used for the mounting braces. Not perfect, but it looks good to me. I haven't used the bombs, feeling the sway braces (moulded on) just look too thick. I may look into some aftermarket bits. I've yet to decide about the underbelly tank - I'll probably put it on after filling and a coat of Rub 'n Buff.


I decided to go with Aeromaster decals for the markings - using their sheet, "Thunderbolts Galore III." I marked mine as Ginny/The Flying Finn. I've got to revise my opinion of Testors new Acryl paints now - with a good undercoat, they can be masked and stay on the model with no problem. In fact, this is probably the best yellow paint job (done on the cowl) I've ever managed. I used Gunze Sangyo white paint on the kit as an undercoat, and to help form the invasion stripes. The Model Master Acryl went over it with no problem and held up to masking both with Pactra masking tape and with regular masking tape, not pulling up at all.

After painting and masking the yellow cowl and the white portion of the invasion stripes (The Flying Finn carried a full set) I sprayed the black. Unfortunately, my airbrush needle got stuck. Mis-diagnosing this, I thinned the black *way* too much to finish the stripes, and it ended up getting under the masking tape (one of the bad things about raised panel lines.) So, some of my white stripes had to be redone - they look a little "dirty" on the finished model, but that's not bothering me too much. I did, however, discover the stripes were a bit too wide when I started to decal the fuselage, and a bit too narrow on the wings. Live and learn. I cleaned them up and reshot the black using a bottle of Pactra paint. Again, no conflicts with any of the other acrylics.

I finished the painting using Gunze Neutral Grey for the undersides, and Gunze Olive Drab for the upper surfaces. After these dried, I unmasked the stripes (and cursed at the run-through black mentioned above,) then re-painted the wheel wells with Acryl Zinc Chromate Yellow - which came out much better this time, as well as hand painted nicely. I used Rub 'n Buff on the propeller hub, and Gunze Sangyo "Soot" on the prop blades, then added a bit of styrene to mount it and set it aside to dry. I also added the landing gear at this time.

Since The Flying Finn had an interesting arrangement of markings, I ended up using decals from three sources. Scalemaster provided the national markings (two under the wings, one on top) for the wings, the kit decals provided the national markings on the fuselage (cut to get around the intercooler exhausts,) and Aeromaster provided the aircraft-specific codes and markings (including a two piece checkerboard pattern for the cowl - only the black, you do have to paint the yellow.) All fit on well, and all worked well with MicroSol.)

Next on the T-bolt list is Hasegawa's kit, which will also use Aeromaster decals (as the Hasegawa decals for "Little Cheif" look too drastic.) If you want to add a T-bolt to the collection without paying Hasegawa prices, break out $8 and buy this kit. You won't go wrong.