by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
It was the sight of Platz's bubble-top P-47D in the Forum that first alerted me to the company's delightful range of 1/144 scale WW2 fighter kits. Now, the bubble-top has been joined by an equally impressive razorback version, presenting an ideal opportunity to look at both models.
PD-13 P-47D bubble-top
PD-14 P-47D razorback
Like the rest of the range, the Thunderbolts come as double-kits, with parts for a pair of aircraft in a neat end-opening box. As you'd expect, the kits share most of the parts on common sprues, with just the fuselages and canopies differing. Each aircraft comprises:
35 x grey styrene parts for the bubble-top - 34 for the razorback
2 x clear styrene parts
The moulding is crisp with little sign of flash, and the smoothly finished exterior features delicate panel lines. Construction is simple, but the attention to detail is very good, considering the size. The two styles of fuselage are equally well done and although the bubble-top is nominally only a 'D, in fact the kit also includes a dorsal fin extension to model an 'M. The R-2800 will look quite convincing tucked into the cowling with a separate chin inlet and the cockpit features a seat and instrument panel. Looking at the detail on some of the smallest parts, it's surprising that Platz never include a control column - they can certainly mould parts that small cleanly. Still, it's simple to add one if you so choose.
The landing gear is tackled neatly with nicely moulded legs and wheels with minute tyre treads and good hub details. Both kits come complete with rockets and bombs, plus a centre-line drop tank. Perhaps the nicest touch is that three styles of propeller are provided - Hamilton-Standard, Curtiss Electric symmetrical and Curtiss Electric asymmetrical.
The canopies are thin and clear, with well defined frames.
Instructions & DecalsThe assembly diagrams are very clearly drawn so, although the instructions are basically Japanese-only, the construction is simplicity itself to follow. Colour matches are given for Gunze Sangyo, Tamiya and ModelMaster paints.
The kits come with excellent quality decals printed by Cartograph for an attractive variety of schemes:
PD-13 P-47D bubble-top:
1. P-47D-25-RE, 353rd FS, 354th FG flown by Maj. Glenn Eagleston
2. P-47D-25-RE, 84th FS, 78th FG flown by LTC Benjamin Mayo
3. P-47M-1-RA, 46th FS, flown by Col. Hubert Zemke
PD-14 P-47D razorback:
1. P-47D-15-RE, 61st FS, 56th FG flown by Lt. Frank Klibbe
2. P-47D-22-RE, 82nd FS, 78th FG flown by Capt. James Wilkinson
3. P-47D-5-RE, 63rd FS, 56th FG flown by Capt. Walker Mahurin
4. P-47D-23-RA, 80th FG, 10th AF flown by LTC Stanton Smith
The decals are thin and glossy, printed in perfect register. Some insignia are printed integrally with the Invasion stripes, so I expect care will be needed getting them to conform correctly in places. Checkerboards and anti-glare panels are all provided, along with a selection of stencils and propeller markings. An impressive point is how little excess carrier film is evident, which will really pay dividends on the n/m finished aircraft.
ConclusionPlatz's Thunderbolts look set to be another pair of cracking little kits, well enough detailed to satisfy the serious modeller, but simple enough to make them ideal for youngsters or anyone looking for a relaxing "weekend build". For anyone, like me, who's never really taken 1/144 scale as seriously as it obviously deserves these days, they are a real eye-opener and I'm looking forward to tackling them.. Highly recommended.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.