Trumpeter | 1/32 Republic P-47N Thunderbolt
Reviewed by Randy Bumgardner
Trumpeter has just released the next issue in their P-47 series. This series of kits contain some remarkable detail right out of the box. The engine, turbocharger ducting, and cockpit really shine. And these kits definitely show off the “bulk” of a P-47. The P-47N, following in the footsteps of its older brethren, is also a very nice kit. The parts breakdown is very similar to that of their P-47D Bubbletop boxing – with some notable (and expected) differences. Because there are many commonalities between the kits, I'll only review the differences and specifics of this kit here. Look here for a general review of the Bubbletop kit.
The kit comes packaged in Trumpeter's usually sturdy, modeler-proof box with each parts sprue individually bagged, and the detail parts encased in their own box for protection. The specifics of the package are: 465 plastic parts on 18 sprues, 3 rubber tires, photo-etched parts, and an instrument film. Pretty respectable box of stuff. The plastic parts are molded in Trumpeter's standard gray plastic, with recessed panel lines and rivets. The panel lines and rivets are actually fairly subtle and well done – especially compared with some other Trumpeter releases.
So, what about the stuff that makes this kit an 'N'... Well the two obvious characteristics are the fin strake and the lengthened wing. Trumpeter gives you both on two new sprues. The strake has the distinctly 'N' rounded edge on the front, as compared to the late -D's and -M's strake the faired into the upper fuselage. Trumpeter has engineered the wing to reuse the fuselage from their Bubbletop kit. There is a lip on the lower wing halves that cover the portion of the wheel well molded into the Bubbletop fuselage. “Ah-ha!”, I can hear you saying, “But what about that wheel well, how did they conquer that?” Well, they molded the the sides of the wheel wells integrally with the lower wing halves. That doesn't count the rear wall of the gear wells, which is actually the main spar. And, similar to their -D boxings, they use this spar to help join the wings to the fuselage and set the dihedral of the wing.
Trumpeter also remembered to remove dive brakes and redesign the wing tips. So, the ailerons supplied in the kit are indeed the correct parts with the larger chord at the outer edge to mate with the larger chord redesigned wingtips the P-47N used. Trumpeter also supplies the modeler with the zero-length rocket stubs that started appearing on the P-47N-5 airframes. Although there are no holes pre-drilled, Trumpeter does supply the modeler with enough antennas to replicate the double antenna on the rear fuselage that was seen on some airframes.
So, so far it's all good... and, occasionally, there is a devil in the details – aside from the windscreen faux pas discussed in our previous review. The thing I noticed is the cockpit. Not necessarily the cockpit details per se – dials, gauges, and that stuff, but the cockpit floor. It's corrugated. Not correct for the P-47N. Not correct for even a late -D or -M version. Granted, it's going to be all closed up in that fuselage and fairly hard to see. However, this is 1/32 scale and it won't be that hard to see, especially when someone with a penlight comes wandering by (and you know it will happen...) and peers into that cockpit and sees... the corrugated floor. Alright, that may be a bit melodramatic – but, a flaw is still a flaw.
For markings, Trumpeter gives us marking for two aircraft that both served in the PTO:
- P-47N-2, 44-88211, “Lil Meaties Meat Chopper”, Lt. Oscar Perdomo, 464th FS, 507th FG, Ie Shima, August 1945
- P-47N-2, 44-88043, “2 Big and Too Heavy/Short Snorter”, 333rd FS, 318th FG, Ie Shima, 1945
Questions abound around “2 Big and Too Heavy” and the markings it wore. Trumpeter gives the modeler a mixed bag to work with. When the 333rd first began operationally using the P-47N, the squadron painted the upper vertical stabilizer yellow as a squadron marking and individual aircraft numbers did not appear on fuselages or main gear covers. These appeared after the 333rd began using the “zebra-stripe” black and yellow squadron markings on the empennage of their P-47N's in July of 1945.
Another question concerns the markings on the starboard side of cowl/forward fuselage. There seems to be a debate as to when the second nose art and phrase “Short Snorter” was painted on the airframe – before or after the “Zebra-striped” squadron id on the empennage. Either way, Trumpeter messed up the spelling, printing “SHDRT SNDRTER” as opposed to “SHORT SNORTER” on the decals.
The decals supplied by Trumpeter, with the exception of the misspelling mentioned previously, are well done. They are thin with great registration and nice coloring. For the first time in a long time, the national insignias are correct in dimension and color. The kit contains three sheets of waterslide decals. The first sheet is the individual decals for each markings option. The second is a sheet of stencils and national markings for a single airframe. And last – but certainly not least, the nose art for “2 Big and Too Heavy/Short Snorter” is provided in an opaque plastic. The artwork for the naked nose art is very well done with very nice colors.
All in all, Trumpeter offer the modeler very well executed kit of the P-47N – a subject that has not been manufactured in this scale in injected form. Aside from the windscreen – and the resulting flattened canopy, this kit follows in the footsteps of it's previous siblings.
Review sample courtesy of Stevens International, Thank You!
© Randy Bumgardner 2008
This review was published on Saturday, July 02 2011; Last modified on Wednesday, May 18 2016