The molds for Monogram’s P-47D Thunderbolt date back to 1967, and it shows.
While the kit was considered world class when it was released, it can’t compare to the tooling, detail and fit of more modern kits.
Still, it’s far from bad, and though fit tolerances can be somewhat clumsy here and there, it’s altogether very competent.
Earlier today, I noticed that Eduard’s new Focke Wulf Fw-190F-8 contains a whopping 325 pieces. The Monogram Jug is pretty much the exact opposite. Not counting the photo-etch fret included with the 1993 boxing, the kit tops out at fewer than 40 pieces molded in a hideous silvery plastic.
The photo-etch fret is, like the rest of the kit, dated by today’s standards. But it’s more than serviceable.
After a run of kits with bizarre buildup processes, the Jug is a return to the traditional “sandwich the cockpit between the fuselage halves” procedure.
One thing I’d forgotten about this kit is that the bulk of the cockpit is molded as a single piece.
The cockpit detail isn’t bad, but it isn’t great, either. It was already pushing the boundaries of what injection molding could accurately capture back when it was made, but I think the decision to use a one-piece tub ultimately hurt the chances of greater detail. It certainly hindered my attempts at detail work.
I kicked things off by painting the cockpit with White Ensign Dull Dark Green. Most U.S. aircraft used interior green in the cockpit, but the P-47 was an exception.
Next up came the detail painting for the oxygen hose and various equipment panels, followed by sparing yet strategic use of photo-etched details. Monogram’s PE fret isn’t super extensive, but I was pleasantly impressed with the throttle quadrant and rudder pedals.
I painted the instrument panel in Floquil Weathered Black, followed by a drybrushing of Floquil Old Silver. Dials were picked out with a wash of black artist’s oils, then topped with Future to simulate the glass facings.
The seatbelts were made out of Tamiya tape, painted, and glued in place. Buckles and adjustment straps were taken from the Monogram PE fret, save one grabbed from elsewhere to replace a piece lost to the concrete monster.
To finish things off, I gave the cockpit a general wash of raw umber, with a slightly thicker mixture to pick out the seatbelts.
Overall, the cockpit is extremely decent, but the one-piece tub makes it tough to get in and add any additional detail.
Gun Tube Interlude
Before starting on main assembly, I moved over to the wings. Monogram’s treatment of the .50 caliber blast tubes is rudimentary at best. Basically, they’re just solid rods of plastic.
I wasn’t happy with these at all, so I cut them off, drilled them out, and rigged the wings to I can drop in a set of blast tubes stolen from a P-47 Razorback that’s sitting in the stash.
Check out my post, “Monogram P-47 – A Series of Tubes“, for a more detailed overview of the procedure.
Monogram’s Jug builds up quickly. The first step is joining the fuselage halves. The fit isn’t great, but it’s good enough. There are a few steps in the seam, but no gaps or ridiculous alignment issues. The only really stupid bit is how the instrument panel just kinda hangs out in front of the instrument panel hood.
Once things get further along, I’m going to tack it to the hood with a few dobs of glue.
After the fuselage came the wings. While the wing uppers and lowers go together well enough, the fit between the wings and fuselage at the wing roots is just awful. Significant gaps up top, and an big step underneath, particularly aft of the landing gear bays.
I dealt with the wing root gaps by adding a shim of Evergreen strip styrene. I just welded it to the inside of the wing, following the contour of the upper surface, then sanded it down toward the front where the gap narrowed. Viola!
The step on the underside is still a bit of a mess, but I’ll deal with it as I head into filling and sanding. And besides, I’m not as concerned about it since the gear doors and drop tank will obscure it from view unless you literally picked the model up and turned it over.
The rest of the assembly consisted of the horizontal stabilizers, which went on without incident.
Once main assembly was completed, I moved on to the cowl. Monogram helpfully provides a one-piece cowl, but unhelpfully provides a one-piece insert containing the engine face and intake separators. I primed and painted the cowl Tamiya XF-4 Flat Red, then hand-painted the engine with Vallejo Black Grey and Dark Sea Gray, dry-brushed with Floquil Old Silver and finished with an oil wash of Winton & Newton Ivory Black. It’s not my best engine…but then there’s just not much to work with. And besides, once it’s hidden behind the massive Hamilton Standard paddle prop, most of the detail’s obscured anyway.
Once everything was dry, I attached the cowl to the front of the fuselage and did a final polishing sand along the main seam lines.
Overall, this kit has it’s problems…tons of flash, pesky ejector pin marks in inconvenient places, and some sloppy fit issues…but it builds fast. There’s something to be said for simplicity.
Next up – priming and painting.