Republic P-47D Thunderbolt "Bubbletop"
u m m a r y
||2500 Yen (review
sample supplied by HobbyLink Japan)
||Excellent moulding; crisp surface
detail; accurate outline; thoughtful and robust engineering; many options;
generous allowance of stores.
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Reviewed by Brett Green
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.
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
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
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
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
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!
HobbyLink Japan for the review sample
Review Copyright © 2003 by
Page Created 25 June, 2003
Last updated 09 November, 2003
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