Cockpits, Engines and Blast Tubes, Oh My
One thing about the Tamiya Jug. While it’s a fantastic kit, it asks for quite a bit of work before you start to feel like you’re making progress. Cockpit bits have to be primed, and while we’re at it, why not the engine, gear bays and doors, and so on. The kit is so dense with small subassemblies that could be primed and painted upfront that it’s hard to know when to say enough!
The Revellogram kit – just the opposite. The engine and intake scoop is one piece, versus six on the Tamiya. The cockpit is one piece, with only the instrument panel and control stick being off on their own. But it got primed and painted alongside the Tamiya kit, which meant hurry up and wait, mostly.
Building these two kits side-by-side really highlights the gulf that separates them.
For example, the engines.
The Revell/Monogram engine is about as simple as you can get, a shallow, relief-molded engine and crankshaft sharing a plate with the intake splitter. The Tamiya kit mill may not be a Vector resin engine, but it’s light years ahead of the old Revellogram example. With the extra room to work, I drilled out the magnetos and wired the engine using Ultrawire. Both engines were painted with Alclad Aluminum, washed with thinned black artist oils. I’m still planning to dirty them up further, but so far, so good:
The Cockpit – Tamiya
Apart from the gunsight and the armored plate behind the pilot’s seat, the Razorback’s cockpit is pretty much identical to the one found in Tamiya’s bubbletop. Therefore, I approached it in similar fashion. First, I painted everything with Model Master Euro Dark Green, which is a solid enough match for the Dull Dark Green Republic used for Thunderbolt interiors. Panels were picked out with Vallejo Black Grey, the harnesses on the Ultracast seat painted, and everything lightly drybrushed with Model Master Dunkelgrau and, in places, Floquil Old Silver.
Last time around, the kit decal Tamiya provides for the instrument panel worked like a charm. This time, less so. It’s not a complete fail, but it’s far from the thing of beauty of the last one, and confirms my recent decision to avoid Tamiya’s kit decals as often as possible in the future.
Finishing touches were supplied from Eduard’s excellent P-47 Placards PE set. The cockpit of Tamiya’s P-47 is so good that it doesn’t really need much improvement, but the placards, other small details, and rather excellent throttle quadrant give this lightened set an outsized impact.
The Cockpit – Revell/Monogram
The same story as the engines. Where the Tamiya cockpit is a well-detailed, multi-part affair, the Revell cockpit is, well, not. The entire tub consists of one piece, plus the instrument panel and control stick. Detail is vague and shallow, the seat is proportioned all wrong, and next to the Tamiya kit, yeah it kinda does feel like a waste of time.
The painting and detailing process follows the same course as with the Tamiya pit. The only major departure was the harness. The Revellogram kit has rather lame harness detail molded onto the seat, and after trying to make it work, I turned instead to lead foil and some Waldron buckles. These last were stupid tiny, too small to hold with tweezers even, so I applied them using a dab of white tac on the end of a toothpick as a parts holder. Much easier method than trying to work with tweezers, only to send parts (and expletives) flying across the garage.
Fixing the Blast Tubes
One of the areas where the Revellogram kit really falls short of newer molds of the P-47 is the blast tube detail (as seen here on the bubbletop version of the kit):
To address the blast tubes, I followed the same process I used on the bubbletop Monogram kit – cutting off the kit “tubes”, drilling out the holes, and fixing backstops inside the wings at proper depths for replacement tubing. If you’re interested in the technique, there’s a more in-depth look at the process HERE.
Prepping the Tamiya’s blast tubes was a rather easier task. I’m using Master’s excellent brass blast tubes, and all I had to do was prime them, hit them with gloss black, and then Alclad II Airframe Aluminum.