With principal construction wrapped up (see Build Report 2), it’s time to move on to painting. I wasn’t entirely happy with the way the Monogram P-47 came out, so this time around I planned to try things a bit differently.
Nose and Tail
Hairless Joe sported the signature red cowl ring of the 56th Fighter Group, as well as the yellow rudder of the 62nd Fighter Squadron. With the Monogram kit, I used the recommended Insignia Red and Insignia Yellow, but the red seemed to deep and subdued, and the yellow too bright. Neither seemed a good match for the reference pics on hand, so this time I opted for Model Master Guards Red and Deep Yellow. The red is much brighter and more vibrant, and the yellow a closer match to the tail ID numbers on the decal sheet.
Once these were painted, the rudder was removed and put away for safe keeping, while the red cowl band was masked off with artist tape and Tamiya tape. I then primed the Jug with Gunze Mr. Surfacer 1200.
The underside of Hairless Joe remains a source of controversy, with two main camps. One insists that the underside was the Medium Sea Gray common to the 56th FG. The other believes the underside was left bare metal. There are pictures that seem to indicate both, but I’ve chosen the middle path, opting to paint the port wing – which was replaced after flak damage – bare metal, while using Model Master Medium Sea Gray for the rest.
With the gray underside complete, it was time to move on to the natural metal work. On Hairless Joe, this involves more than just the port wing – the .50 cal blast tubes, canopy, and prop spinner were also left bare. I started these off with a coat of Tamiya X-1 Gloss Black + Tamiya Clear Gloss, cut with Gunze Mr. Leveling Thinner, then applied Alclad II Airframe Aluminum.
The Master turned brass blast tubes look fantastic:
The cockpit came out quite good, too. At first I was concerned about painting the interior frame color first, but plenty of reference pics hint that the inside frames on a P-47 were actually painted black, so I just went with that.
For the prop, I used the same technique I used with the Monogram kit – using the Tamiya X-1 and Clear Gloss combo to paint the whole thing, then masking and spraying the spinner cap with Alclad. The prop hub was then hand painted with Model Master Aluminum.
Next up – the actual plane. After masking off the wing, I painted it with the same Tamiya combo for a nice, shiny finish.
Then shot Alclad Airframe Aluminum as the base for the metal finish.
After the Airframe Aluminum cured, I masked off various panels and sprayed them with additional Alclad shades to break up the wing and provide some tonal variation. Colors used include Duraluminum, Dark Aluminum, Aluminum, Semi-Matte Aluminum, and Magnesium.
Here’s a breakdown of the Alclad shades used:
With the bottom done, I moved up top. Hairless Joe, like most P-47s of the 56th, sported RAF colors, specifically Ocean Gray and Dark Green. I sprayed the Ocean Gray first, then, not happy with the way the silly putty mask worked last time, I tried to freehand the Dark Green. Despite my best attempts, even with my new Grex Tritium TG airbrush, I couldn’t manage the fairly intricate camo, so I resorted to white-tac poster putty.
After the hours of masking, I sprayed the exposed surfaces with Tamiya Dark Green. I opted for it over the Model Master because 1) it dries fast and 2) it feathers very well, useful for a soft-edge camo scheme such as this.
I took care to keep as close to 90 degrees to the masks as possible, which let to some interesting hold positions, and once I was done, I stuck the P-47 in the fridge for a half hour. I read on some forum that this makes it easier to remove white-tac without any residue issues, and sure enough, it lifted right off.
As the white-tac came off, I grimaced. The camo was nice and soft-edged, but the contrast between the Ocean Gray and Dark Green was pretty severe, and on the original plane it looked far more muted. So back out to the garage, where I sprayed it down with a heavily thinned Dark Green. This blended the two colors together a bit, and achieved just the look I was going for.
Overall, I’d say this is a pretty big improvement over the Monogram…
Next up, decals, weathering, and final assembly!