by: Carl Althaus [ ]
IntroductionThe P-47 Thunderbolt is one of the more popular subjects in modeling. There are countless kits available in 1/48th and 1/72nd scales. Along with the kits in those scales, there are countless Aftermarket accessories available to convert or replace almost any part of the aircraft. When you move into the larger 1/32nd scale, you will find your options decrease to only a few kit options and almost no Aftermarket goodies. I find this amazing as so many people like to build in 1/32nd scale because it affords an opportunity to dabble in details that are impossible to achieve in smaller scales. The large scale Thunderbolts available are decent kits that build up into good representations of the famous and colorful ďJugsĒ of yesteryear. But if you want to build a large detailed Thunderbolt, you are pretty much out of luck. At least that was the case a few weeks ago. Trumpeter has released their large scale ďJugĒ and it packs a lot of detail into an impressively large kit. So, if you want to build a kit that gives you details you will not find in other kits, give serious consideration to this release. It is outstanding. And if you are wondering, the completed model measures over 13 1/2" long w/wingspan of over 15".
So what do you get for your $100.00?You get 18 sprues molded in a medium gray color that contain 454 pieces, 3 vinyl tires, 8 vinyl ammunition belts, a clear cowling, a photographic film of the instruments, 15 photoetch pieces, two sheets of decals, An instruction booklet, and a color painting guide. According to the box you get 488 pieces on 17 sprues. Maybe they count differently in China, but I wont worry about this minor discrepancy.
As with all kits, there are numerous knockout pin marks. It appears the kit was engineered as to hide them on the completed model. I donít see any of them as showing through on the completed model. Likewise, mold parting lines donít look as if they will be a problem. Most parts are almost perfectly aligned and will need only minimal cleanup. I do not see any flash, anywhere. The molding is crisp and clean and the surface details seem to be accurately placed. I have not lined the fuselage up with scale drawings because I am not the type of person that will complain about details that are off by a few scale millimeters, but everything does look accurate to the naked eye. I canít attest to fit as I havenít built it yet, but my experience on Trumpeter kits is that the fit will be good. Judging from the quality of the molding, I really think this kit will go together well.
Sprue A contains the two fuselage halves. They have mostly recessed panel lines and plenty of rivet details. There are a few raised panels that seem totally appropriate. These details might be a little heavy but I think they should look very nice when painted. The wings are on sprue C. Each wing comes in a top and bottom half. The upper halves have the gun and ammunition access panels molded separate to allow display of the eight Browning .50 caliber Machineguns and ammo belts. The underside of the upper halves also have the wheel well details molded in. The rivet details again might be a little bit heavy, but should look great when painted. The details of the wheel wells really look crisp and contain some wires. These details are really fantastic. I think with some careful attention they will look absolutely fantastic when painted. Sprue D contains the ailerons, flaps and access panels to cover the machineguns and ammo belts. These all can be positioned as you wish which is a very nice touch. The rudder and elevator parts are on sprue G. Again, they can be positioned. Sprue H has some panel inserts that go under the wings. Sprue M has four sets of propellers.
InstructionsThe instructions show you can use any of them as an option. You will need to research which propeller to use on a specific plane. Sprue N contains parts for the wheel wells and interior. The machineguns can be found on two P Sprues. The barrels are slide molded so you donít need to drill them out. Sprues R and S contain the numerous engine parts. The engine is a build in itself, and can be built with a choice of magnetos. The supercharger and plumbing are found on sprue Q. There are two U sprues that provide a vast array of bombs and fuel tanks. The interior appears to be adequate straight from the box with the provided parts being very detailed.
Instructions are in the form of a 16 page booklet. They are clear and provide color call-outs where appropriate. The only area where they are lacking is in regards to optional parts. It would be nice if they actually told you which of the four propellers to use for either of the two decal options. But, I guess that is why pictorial references are sold. The decals are colorful, appear to be of adequate opacity to prevent bleed through, and are in good register. Some of the writing on a few of the stencil decals seems to run together, which is surprising for this scale. The decals will provide a good finish for either of the two options.
So what is so special about this kit?This kit provides a complete and fully detailed engine that will put other kit engines to shame. The clear cowl ensures you can see the engine if you choose to leave it unpainted. It also has a fully packed compartment behind the engine that houses the oil cooler, and a lot of the supercharger plumbing. You will also find the ducting that goes to and from the supercharger as well as a complete supercharger unit.. All the control surfaces can be positioned as you wish, which is a nice bonus. The vinyl wheels are nice, but they are solid. This means you can not make them appear weighted. Complete slide molded machineguns with vinyl ammo belts is a nice touch if you decide to display them in an open compartment. You also get plenty of ordinance to make your Razorback mission ready. Again, be sure to check references before you arm up your build. If you are wondering, there will be a Bubbletop version released real soon.
What are the Shortcomings?Other than the hefty price, there really arenít any. In regards to the vinyl parts, you will either love them or hate them. But that is a point of personal preference. The decals are good, but the stencils provided have a few minor problems. There currently arenít a lot of aftermarket accessories available in this scale. But this kit is so complete, you probably wonít need them. I would not be surprised to see something coming out soon as there will be four new 1/32nd P-47D available on the market in the coming months.
ConclusionThis kit begs to be built with all the options opened up and displayed. An experienced modeler will be able to make this kit into a very impressive model straight OOB.