Review: 1/72 Revell of Germany P-47D-30 Thunderbolt
I should preface this entire review with the caveat that 1/72 scale isn’t my thing. Excepting a small stash of 1/72 heavy bombers, my tastes run to 1/48 and 1/32 scale kits. So…Revell of Germany’s 1/72 Jug isn’t the type of kit I’d typically buy. But I’ve heard good things about it, and it’s cheap. As in, $6.76 cheap. So what does Revell provide with a sub-$7 kit? And what does a 1/48 and 1/32 modeler make of the diminutive Jug? Let’s find out.
The Republic P-47D Thunderbolt
As usual when I’m reviewing a prominent aircraft, I won’t waste your time with the detailed backstory. That’s what Google and Wikipedia are for. If you’ve never heard of the P-47, it was America’s most-produced fighter of the Second World War, a 7-ton brute of a fighter packing four .50 caliber Browning machine guns and a sturdy construction that often brought back pilots who would have gone down in another aircraft.
While the P-47 was a competent dogfighter in a brute-strength kind of way, it’s true calling was as a ferocious strike aircraft, and once the Mustang was phased into service in the spring of 1944, the Jug was increasingly utilized as a strike fighter rather than as an interceptor and high-altitude bomber escort.
In addition to the USAAF, the P-47 was flown by the Royal Air Force, the Free French Armee d le’Air, the Soviet VVS, and even by minor combatants such as Mexico.
Revell of Germany’s P-47 is spread across four sprues of grayish/silver plastic and one clear sprue for the canopy. The kit is advertised as a “new tool”, which means recessed panel lines and a pretty sharp level of detail.
The sprues themselves are arranged in a way that will surprise no one who’s built a model. You’ve got your fuselage sprue, your wings sprue, your “all the rest” sprue, and your bombs and tanks sprue.
The fuselage is cut cleanly in half, ending just short of the cowl, and shares its sprue with the major cockpit parts – floor, seat, bulkhead, control stick and instrument panel.
Oh, and it also shares its sprue with a surprising amount of flash.
A bit sloppier than I would expect from a well-regarded new-tool kit, but for the price I can’t really complain. And looking past the flash, the detail is solid. Solid enough that I believe Revell could scale this kit up to 1/48 and knock the old Monogram Jug molds into retirement.
The nice detail carries over to the wings, with crisp panel lines, and thoughtful details like knocked-out shell ejection ports. The wings themselves appear at least slightly inspired by the Tamiya Jugs and are engineered in such a way that you won’t have to fight gaps or glue seams at the wingtips.
The blast tubes are molded on to the lower wings. I would remove them and replace them with brass tubing or with Quickboost’s blast tube set. The procedure for removing and replacing the tubes looks like it would be nearly identical to what needs to be done on the old 1/48 Monogram kit.
The “all the rest” sprue concerns itself with the rest of the exterior.
An actual engine is a welcome site, as is the separate cowl ducting. There’s not much to be said about the stabilizers or landing gear – it’s competently done. One curiosity is the one-piece gear doors. These make buttoning up the Jug for the in-flight look a snap, but it strikes me as a silly hassle for the vast majority who will want to put this one on its feet and will thus have to cut the gear doors apart.
One thing I’m not too fond of – the treatment of the cowl flaps. Not only the flash, but the giant spaces between each flap. Honestly if they were going to botch the job this bad, just do the cowl with closed flaps.
Last up is the bomb and tank sprue, which also packs the engine’s crankcase. I’m guessing this is to make it really easy to offer a -D and -M variant and just ship the -M with a different sprue to represent the -M’s different crankcase and loadout.
The kit provides the option for two bombs or two teardrop tanks, as well as the P-47′s big centerline pancake tank. It’s not the first time I’ve bemoaned it, but give us more! The P-47 slung bombs, yes, but it also carried rockets and cluster bombs.
The clear parts are clear, reasonably thin, and the framing actually looks pretty solid.
Overall, the plastic strikes me as good-not-great. There’s too much flash by half, and the detail’s just weird in some places.
Then there’s the markings, which…wow!
You can’t help but laugh at the state of kit decals in this hobby, when a 1/32 B-25 Mitchell ships with an anemic sheet of a half-dozen or so decals, and a cheap 1/72 Jug ships with two really interesting subjects, quality printing, and stencils that would be sufficient for a 1/32 kit, much less 1/72! It’s not directly stated, but the quality of the decals and the “Printed in Italy” seem to me to point to Cartograf.
The decals give you a choice of two fantastic schemes: “Balls Out” flown by Capt. Milton W. Thompson of the 405th Fighter Group, and a P-47D serving with GC II/5 “Lafayette” of the Free French Armee de l’Air. Thompson’s dramatically liveried “Balls Out” is a choice that’s hard to fault, and the French Jug is an interesting alternative to the usual spate of USAAF P-47s.
Revell of Germany’s P-47 is a solid little kit. Is it the best P-47 you can buy in 1/72 scale? I honestly don’t know. I have a feeling Tamiya’s 1/72 Jugs are probably better in absolute terms, but the Revell is no slouch, and at its price, its cheaper than your average aftermarket decal sheet!
If 1/72 is your thing, there’s almost no reason not to pick one of these up, especially for the price. Heck, I’d argue it’s well worth the $6.76 for the decals alone, and when you add a competent kit with good detail to the mix, well, what’s not to love?
Review kit courtesy of my wallet. You can buy one for yourself at ScaleHobbyist.com.