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Republic P-47D Thunderbolt "Bubbletop"

 

Tamiya

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description: 61090
Scale: 1/48
Price: 2500 Yen (review sample supplied by HobbyLink Japan)
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Excellent moulding; crisp surface detail; accurate outline; thoughtful and robust engineering; many options; generous allowance of stores.
Disadvantages:  
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 


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Reviewed by Brett Green

 

FirstLook

 

It is a little over six months since Tamiya launched their fabulous 1/48 scale P-47D "Razorback" kit in Japan. During that period, many modellers have raved about this kit's fit, detail, accuracy and engineering excellence. It certainly represented the best P-47 Thunderbolt kit available in any scale.

Tamiya has now released the "Bubbletop" version of the P-47D Thunderbolt.

Tamiya's new 1/48 scale P-47D Bubbletop is presented on four sprues of grey styrene, one sprue of clear and a couple of polythene caps. The quality of the kit parts is simply superb. Surface texture includes crisply engraved panel lines, recessed "rivets" and a few raised panels as appropriate. There are no imperfections on the outside surface of any kit parts, but the inside of the landing gear components do display some faint ejector pin circles.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


This kit appears to equal to the earlier Razorback release in terms of detail, engineering and accuracy; and even more generous with options and ordnance.

The biggest difference between the Razorback and Bubbletop kits is the fuselage sprue. The fuselage is split into port and starboard halves, and the entire rear top fuselage and fin are supplied as an insert to the main fuselage. This will presumably permit the simple inclusion of a fin fillet for a late D, M or N variant in the future.

 

 

The fuselage otherwise shares all of the nice features of the Razorback kit, including alternate cowl flaps (either open or closed), positionable supercharger vents and wing roots with structural detail. Subtle options include two different mirrors for the windscreen and a DF loop, typically only installed for very long haul trips.

The cockpit is well detailed straight from the box. Although there are not many parts, the details on the sidewall and corrugated floor are deep and very crisp. A harness is all the cockpit really needs (and Tamiya supplies a harness decal for this purpose). The instrument panel has blank circles for the dials. Decal instruments complete this area.

Alternate magneto styles are provided for the R-2800 engine. This powerplant is very nice too, but the determined superdetailer may decide to add ignition harness wiring to the front of the cylinders.

The lower wing features a couple of inserts that will accommodate the air brake for later variants.

The clear parts are thin and free of distortion. Tamiya has captured the subtle curves of the Bubbletop canopy very well. Two styles of gunsight are offered as clear parts too. These presumably represent the Mk.VIII and N-3A gunsights.

 

 

Kit ordnance comprises a 150 gallon flat centreline drop tank, two 108 gallon pressed paper tanks, two 150 gallon teardrop-shaped tanks, two 500lb GP bombs, and two triple tube 4.5" rocket launchers.

In addition to the 12' Curtis Electric, 13' Curtiss symmetrical paddle blade and the 13' Hamilton Standard paddle blade propeller assemblies included in the earlier Razorback kit, this new release adds a 13' Hamilton Standard asymmetrical paddle blade propeller assembly. Although these parts are marked as "not for use" in this kit, their presence bodes well for more variants in the future.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Tamiya's 1/48 scale P-47D Thunderbolt "Bubbletop" is another magnificent kit. Furthermore, there is every reason to expect that this model will be just as easy and enjoyable to build as its Razorback predecessor.

P-47D Bubbletops wore some of the most colourful nose art and markings in the USAAF, so this model offers a terrific range of finishing options. With plenty of recent decal releases for Bubbletop P-47s, and later variants obviously on the way from Tamiya, life is good for Thunderbolt fans!

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to HobbyLink Japan for the review sample


Review Copyright 2003 by Brett Green
Page Created 25 June, 2003
Last updated 09 November, 2003

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