The P-47N was the last in the line of Republic’s Thunderbolt fighter aircraft. Designed as an escort fighter for the B-29 bombers during their raids on the Japanese home islands, it needed a larger fuel capacity. The only place were more fuel could be stored was inside the wings and thus it needed a wing redesign. As a result it gained new, bigger wings with squared off wing tips for less drag. The aircraft mainly saw use against Japanese targets during World War 2, and was one of the few aircraft types that were used until 1949 with the National Guard until its retirement.
- Subject: Republic P-47N Thunderbolt
- Manufacturer: Academy
- Scale: 1/48
- Parts count: 111 styrene parts, 9 clear parts
- Serial: 2155
- Price: 15 EUR – 20 USD
- Personal rating: ✭✭✭✭✭ ✭✭✭✭✭
Quite oddly, Academy started of its 1/48 line of P-47’s with the final production variant. Nonetheless, it was still a good base to start from, as the wings and fuselage would have to be redesigned for other variants, but the smaller things are about the same. Even still, it already allocates 111 styrene parts and nine clear parts for this variant alone. It also provides some spares in the form of additional hard points, armament and drop tanks, which you can decide wether or not to use. Fine details can be found all over the kit in the form of recessed panel lines, as well as some ‘raised panels’ on the fuselage parts. For the markings one can just take a look at the box art to decide wether or not you want to get it for the markings, as it is the only one provided.
The first sprue holds only seven parts, which is mainly the two fuselage halves, the prop and the wheel well covers. Especially the detail on the fuselage halves are worth mentioning, which consists mainly of recessed panel lines, as well as some parts being raised around the wing roots and a panel on the left fuselage half behind the cockpit. The propeller is also detailedl, but might prove a little troublesome to mask and paint being one solid piece.
The second sprue holds the upper and lower wing halves that are unique to the -N variant. Again here we can find recessed panel lines and rivets throughout the pieces, as well as a few tiny raised panels.The wheel wells are already completely molded onto the lower halves, and are quite detailed. We can also find molded on rocket hard points, as most -N variants carried them throughout the war. However, if you wish to build a National Guard version, you will have to carefully remove these in most (if not all) cases. On the top wing halves, the gun bay panel is removed as we get the option to display them with guns found on sprue C.
I must note that when I was building this kit, I decided not to display them, which proved a bit troublesome to perfectly align the covers with the rest of the wing, but nothing serious or insurmountable than can’t be fixed a little bit of work. It was also the only problem I encountered during the build, so I’d do it again if I had to.
On the third sprue we can find pretty much everything else of the plane itself except for the wheels. This includes the cockpit that is made up from eight pieces, which is not the best cockpit out there, but compared to some of their other kits, it is actually pretty good, as I’ve seen much worse like the cockpit of their P-40C, P-36 or Mirage IIIR, who are all reboxed kits from other companies.
We can also find the landing gear, engine cowling, horzontal stabilisers, the .50 cals that go inside the wings and hard points for drop tanks or bombs.
The fourth and final styrene sprue can be found twice inside the kit, and holds the wheels as well as all the external armament, like several types of drops tanks (65, 108 and 150 gallon), 5-Inch HVAR’s (High-Velocity Aircraft Rocket), 4.5″ M-10 “Bazookas” and 500 and 1000 pound bombs. This means that no matter what you build, you will always end up having a few spares to keep for the future, which is a nice additional bonus to the kit itself.
As one might have noted, the wheels provided are weighted. This might drive some people up the wall, but as seen on the first picture in this review, the wheels on fully loaded Jugs are way more ‘weighted’ than what we are being provided with, and one must keep in mind too that this aircraft’s empty weight was 11,000 pounds (nearly 5 tonnes) and was usually loaded to nearly double that weight.
The clear sprue holds 9 parts in total, being the canopy framing and navigation lights. Again, as far as detail goes on clear parts, it is pretty nice here, with the framing being slightly raised as oppose to recessed rivets on the sliding canopy part.
The only thing that I would like to point out here is that even though I have seen the inside of many Academy Thunderbolts, in all of them the sliding canopy part seems to have come loose from the framing. Luckily, they never showed any damage from shipping despite coming loose, as can be seen on the last picture.
Provided with the kit are decals provided for a single aircraft, which are packaged together with the A and clear sprue from the kit. Quality wise they I had no real issues with them, but then again I didn’t use many during my build as I bought an aftermarket set of markings, and while some of the kits decals worked perfectly fine, others gave me grief by coming lose, especially the smaller stencils. The bigger ones like the insignia and larger stencils like the fuel tank cap indicators layed themselves down and stayed perfectly in place as they should. Silvering is almost non-excistant and despite their ages they did not show any signs of yellowing.
The instructions are split up in nine individual steps, of which eight are for the construction of the aircraft, and the ninth for the additional armament and drop tanks. The illustrations are computer generated and should not prove any trouble during the building process. The colours needed to paint the aircraft are not depicted and one will have to do some research on the right colors needed to paint the interior and details of aircraft. There is also an additional diagram depicting what load out configurations were used with the variant during its deployment in the Pacific, which comes in really handy and saves you a good amount of time on research.
This is the only place where Academy has failed for me with this particular kit. Despite it’s bright yellow painted ‘tail’ and ‘nose’, the provided markings are rather boring for an aircraft that is known to sport many different types of pin-up and nose art, as well as colourful painting schemes in its post-war life as National Guard aircraft.
For those who are interested however, the markings provided depict a P-47N-5-RE from the 456th fighter squadron, 414th fighter group based at Iwo Jima during August 1945, with a typographical ‘Gerry’ nose art in black letters with yellow shadows. The aircraft is painted in overal natural metal finish with olive drab anti glare panels and a black band around the empennage, bordering the squadron’s bright yellow tail and a yellow band on the front of the engine cowling.
Academy proved with their first release of the P-47N that they can provide a great kit of a rather large fighter for a low price, without having to cut back on quality. It has set the stage for their next release which was the D bubble top version, a good kit sharing quite some of the parts. Quality and detail of the parts are of quite high standard and can be compared to some of the biggest names out there. Where the kit lost many points was the simple cockpit, which is okay but could have been a bit better, as well as the single choice of markings, which I personally think is not interesting at all for the Jugs who often sported various colourful types of pin-up art.
Given this is the only kit in this scale next to Revell’s version, which is about the same level of quality and price with more interesting marking options, but appearantly suffers from shape issues, is the reason why I chose to get this kit. Wether you want this one or the other is a choice you will have to make yourself. However, waiting for a 1/48 Tamiya version of a P-47N is probably not a good idea, as it probably would have happened long ago if they planned to do so.
Nonetheless, this is a great kit for those who want a P-47 in their collection, and getting some interesting decals should not prove troublesome for the P-47N, as there are many decal sheets for them. Despite its few shortcomings it is a great, simple kit to build into a P-47 without any real problems, and can truly recommend this kit for builders of all skill levels.
Want to see what this kit can look like? Take a look at pictures of the final result on a diorama by checking out the gallery through clicking the image below, which I’ve build in combination with Aeromaster’s 1/48 ‘P-47N – Last of the Breed Pt I‘ decal sheet.