by: Tim Hatton [ ]
The P-47N was the last Thunderbolt variant to be produced. It was designed as an escort fighter for the B-29 Superfortress bombers flying raids on the Japanese home islands. Increased internal fuel capacity and drop tanks had done much to extend the Thunderbolt's range during its evolution, and the only other way to expand the fuel capacity was to put fuel tanks into the wings. Thus, a new wing was designed with two 50 U.S. gal [190 l] fuel tanks. The second YP-47N with this wing flew in September 1944. The redesign proved successful in extending range to about 2,000 mi [3,200 km], and the squared-off wingtips improved the roll rate. The P-47N entered mass production with the uprated R-2800-77[C] engine, with a total of 1,816 built.
The very last Thunderbolt to be built, a P-47N-25, rolled off the production line in October 1945. Thousands more had been on order, but production was halted with the end of the war in August. At the end of production, a Thunderbolt cost $83,000 in 1945 U.S. Dollars. A total of 15,686 Thunderbolts of all types were built, making it second most produced American fighter of all time, after the 16,766 P-51 Mustangs. Due to continued postwar service with U.S. military with the Air National Guard and foreign operators, a number of P-47s have survived to the present day, and a few are still flying.
The box is side opening with a lovely colour illustration of “Red-E-Ruth”
Inside the re sealable plastic bag is:
-3 x sprues of dark grey injected plastic parts.
-2 x clear plastic sprues packed separately in a re sealable bag.
-1 x small re sealable bag of resin parts.
-1 x small fret of colour photo etched parts packed in a re sealable bag with card insert for protection.
-1 x sheet of water slide decals.
-1 x 12 page building and painting guide.
Cockpit: a true multimedia experience with this release. It’s made up from resin, plastic and colour photo etched parts. The floor, forward and rear bulkheads, control stick, rudder pedals, gun sight and an instrument panel are injected plastic. The instrument panel has low relief detail and is a very good alternative for those averse to photo etched parts. The instrument bodies behind the instrument panel are represented as well. Resin parts include the two well detailed side walls, a fine looking seat, and a couple of levers. The resin sidewalls look superb and the detail will stand out with some careful painting and highlighting. The seat has harnesses, frame on the rear and arm rests cast onto it. There is some very fine flash below the arm rests that will take seconds to remove with a sharp knife. The coloured photo etched parts for the office include a five part instrument panel and all the seat belts and harnesses. The quality of the printed detail on the instrument panel is amazing; you would be mad not to have a go at using it. A real treat to see all this contained in a kit.
Canopy: the windscreen and canopy are separate parts and are moulded thin and clear. The gun sight and mounting is also found on the clear plastic sprue, although you will need to scratch build the screen. Sword has provided two sprues of the same clear plastic parts. There is a photo etched part to be added across the inside of the canopy that needs folding before fitting. It has been miss labelled in the instructions as part PP5, it’s actually part PP14.
Engine: the resin R-2800-77(C) engine is two part, each bank of cylinders are separate. The detail particularly on the forward bank of cylinders, the turtle back magnetos and bolts is very good. Of course being resin items you will need to remove the casting blocks. On the photo etched fret there is a very delicate looking ignition harness. The air intake beneath the radial engine is separate plastic parts that attaches to the firewall. There are two separate walls to fit inside the air intake.
The representation of the Curtiss Electric symmetrical paddle blade propeller looks very good. It even has the slightly angled cuffs that were seen on the props of the “N”. The propeller boss is a separate part.
Fuselage: is split vertically and includes most of the cowling. The lip of the cowling is separate and will mean no irritating seams to clean up on the inside. The engine cooling flaps to the rear of the cowling are two pieces and can only be depicted as closed. While in this area there is a very slight partial ejector mark or flaw on the starboard fuselage half. Its removal will result in some loss of detail. But it’s a small area and it should not be a huge problem reinstating the lost detail.
The intercooler vent is particularly nicely done with some fine recessed detail inside the vent. There is a separate piece for each vent to add to prevent you seeing into the fuselage. The separate plastic piece representing the turbine exhaust under the fuselage is well done. The four vents for the engine exhaust are separate parts.
The complete rudder is moulded onto the left hand fuselage half.
Overall the recessed detail is very good with some very fine panel lines, access panels and rivet detail. Sword have even represented the slightly larger screw heads that are found around the wing fillet and following a line from the engine exhaust vent by the cowl to the turbine exhaust. The screws are a little heavy in their execution, but it’s good to see attention to detail.
This being a limited run injected plastic kit there are no locating pins and holes to aid the lining up of the fuselage halves.
Wing: the four part wing is nicely detailed, the upper and lower surfaces of the elevators are moulded to the upper wing. A short length one piece spar goes through the fuselage into the wings and will help when it comes to adding the wings to the fuselage. The spar is angled to help achieve the correct dihedral on the wings. There are marks on the inside of the fuselage and on the inner wing halves indicating the point to place the wing spar. Some care will be needed when it is time to attach the wings to achieve a good fit and to set the correct dihedral.
There are two sets of staggered gun barrels that are beautifully cast in resin including holes at the ends. The barrels are cast into a small part of the wing leading edge. Sword has correctly depicted the line of the barrels running parallel to the ground, rather than following the line of the dihedral. It’s a slight detail but good to see a manufacture getting it correct. The slots where the cartridges are ejected are cut out.
Both horizontal stabilisers are one piece with sharp trailing edges. There is a hint of flash around the edges. The stabilisers may be challenging to fix into position as there are no locating tabs. They are butt joined to the stabiliser/fuselage fairing.
As with the fuselage, the level of the recessed detail is very good.
Undercarriage: The resin undercarriage bays are first rate; the detail is excellent and is a very good likeness of the real thing. Detail includes the ribbed detail on the roof of the bay, cabling and pistons.
The main wheels are one piece; there is the choice of two styles of separate outer hubs. The detail in the plastic is very good although one set of hubs looks very slightly off centre. The legs have torque links attached and the inside of the gear doors have some good moulded detail.
The inside of the tail wheel bay has some good moulded detail, although it’s marred by a couple of raised ejector marks. There are separate forward and aft bulkheads to attach. There are two different assemblies to attach the tail wheel to. One is made up from three parts; the other is a much simpler single part.
Load: the kit has three fuel drop tanks included. The shorter tank fits under the fuselage and the other two longer tanks fit under the wing. Each tank is made up from two parts. The centre tank has separate shackles, while the wing tanks fit onto separate pylons.
Markings: Sword provide three options:
”Little Girl Yip”, 413 Fighter Group, 21st Fighter Squadron, 1945. Blue fin and stabilisers and with a yellow heart on the fin. Cowling lip is yellow.
”Little Joe”, 318 Fighter Group, 73rd Fighter Squadron, summer 1945. Black fin tip.
”Red-E-Ruth”, 318 Fighter Group, 19th Fighter Squadron, flown by Lt. Leon Cox, le Shima, 1945. Blue fin tip, cowling lip and cooling vents. Art work applied to the portside of the cowling. This aircraft was no 81 of the Republic employees war bond scheme.
All the machines are natural metal overall with olive drab anti dazzle patch in front of the cockpit. Interestingly on the back of the box the colour paint illustrations features “Pris n Prissy”, but Sword decided to change the option to “Little Joe” due to uncertainties off the scheme and markings. The markings for “Little Joe” features in the instructions.
Decals: are produced by Techmod and look very good indeed . The colours look strong, the definition of the smallest stencils is excellent, and the carrier film is minimal around each decal. The three national insignia around the supercharger outlet will be a lot easier to apply around this tricky area. The yellow heart off ”Little Girl Yip” is included on the decal sheet. There are a lot of stencils including propeller blade badges.
Instructions: the eleven pages has superb black line drawings leaving you in no doubt what goes where. The parts are not numbered on the sprues, but they are numbered on the parts map. There is a separate four view stencil guide with scrap views of the drop tanks and pylons. The grey tone four view paint and main decal guide clearly shows the various colours. There is also the full paint guide on the back of the box illustrating the port side profiles of the aircraft.
I am very impressed, for the princely sum of £13.00 you are supplied with enough stuff to create an eye catching kit without resorting to a search on the internet for aftermarket detailing parts. If you don’t have a P-47N in your P-47 collection, it is worth considering as the “N” does have a very distinctive look to it. I am really looking forward to tackling this one.