1/32 Trumpeter P-47D “French Jug”, Part II – Construction
I recently read a review of Quentin Tarantino’s latest, “Django Unchained” (excellent flick by the way), that started off by saying “this movie is a motherf****er”.
Well, Trumpeter’s P-47 is also a motherf****er. It’s big, it’s bad, it’s awesome and it’s a massive pain in the ass all at once, and that becomes glaringly apparent as you move into the main construction process.
So let’s get to it, and you’ll see what I mean.
I chose to start with the wings. Trumpeter decided to be cute and provide this kit with full, exposed gun bays. I appreciate the sentiment, but decided I’d rather do these closed up. Only problem is…things don’t seat properly and the doors sit a little bit low. To rectify this, I used a piece of thick Evergreen styrene to help keep the doors flush with the wings, then let Tenax do it’s thing.
At least the doors fit pretty well dimensionally. I did have to use a bit of filler, but only a bit, and restored the door lines with an RB Productions panel line scraper thing.
Another thing about the wings…the kit itself and the Master replacement blast tubes are designed in such a way that you’re forced to install the tubes before installing the tube fairings on the leading edges of the wing. This is 100% farm-raised, fair trade retarded. Since removing the the flanging on the Master tubes is beyond me, at least at the moment, I decided to pick up some Quickboost barrels and build a mounting dam out of random styrene.
To be honest I’m not terribly thrilled with the Quickboost tubes…next time out I’ll try this with the Hasegawa brass tubes…but being able to install the things toward the end of the build is infinitely preferable.
And…ANOTHER thing about the wings. At the wingroot, they’re too tall, so when they’re mated with the fuselage, things may look great up top, but there’s a distinct ridge at the bottom.
I alleviated a lot of this with targeted sanding, but could not get to all of it.
Moving on to the fuselage, the main fuselage halves go together well enough, but the spine/tail assembly is frustrating. What works quite well on the Tamiya kits is sloppy here, and I’d have rather that they just did the tail and went Hasegawa-style with a separate fillet that could be placed after the fact. Alas, they didn’t, resulting in a less-than-perfect seam that really needs massive attention.
To remove this horror, I started with a Proxxon micro-sander, then went in with sanding sticks until things were at least flush.
After that, 3M Acryl glazing putty to the rescue! I used strips of Tamiya tape to protect the rivets, pulled it off and sanded the seam smooth. This unfortunately meant that I got to go back and restore a lot of those rivets one…by…one.
Next up in the install progress – the horizontal stabilizers. The stabs themselves fit perfectly, zero complaints. Just a quick drag of the touch-n-flow across the joins on each side was all that was required. The elevators, on the other hand, called for some surgery.
The problem is the mounting face for the stabilizers to the fuselage. This is flat all the way back to the rudder plane, but it interferes with the rounded forward edge of the elevators. After some swearing, I got around this by grinding out some round depressions with a file.
After that, the elevators fit just fine.
Next came the installation of the wings and their control surfaces. All went without incident.
Of course, while they may look nice from a distance, the leading edges are going to need some serious time with the putty and abrasives before they’re ready for paint.
I won’t bore with the details of cleaning up seams. Basically 3M Acryl Red glazing putty applied and sanded smooth, followed by (sometimes) a second application, sanded again, then Mr. Surfacer 500, then more sanding, and a final pass with the Dremel and a polishing wheel to make everything squeaky smooth and to kick off all of the sanding dust.
Mr. Surfacer 500 was also applied to the wings back near the flaps to fill in some sink marks, as well as to the gun doors to knock down those craters that Trumpeter calls rivets. These were sanded smooth, then redone with the tip of an old 0.5mm airbrush needle.
But wait, there’s even more! All of my reference pics of C9*I show it completely unladen…and given the sorry excuses for bombs that Trumpeter includes in the kit, I’m not exactly complaining. But the central sway braces fit with all kinds of gaps to deal with. See above for how I handled these.
As a last effort before priming, I went ahead and painted the forward cowl ring and the cowl flaps.
Lastly, the canopy windscreen was masked and fixed in place. All that’s left is masking off the gear bays and the cockpit, and it’s go-time for primer.
Next up, sorting the Trumpeter R-2800, and then painting!