On the Bench: 1/32 Hasegawa P-47D-27 in French Service

On October 1, Scale Plastic & Rail kicked off its second group build, “In Foreign Colours”. I’m still in the home stretch on my stealth build, but I’m already casting my glance toward what’s next.

I’d first aimed for Trumpeter’s 1/48 MiG-15bis, until I found it wasn’t going to be anything like a walk in the park. Back into the box it went.

Then, I settled on a French Jug. I was going to pull out a Tamiya 1/48 P-47 paired with decals from an Empire City sheet, until I found this:

I was smitten. Of course, the coolest schemes are never covered by decals, so I asked Joe at Scale Precision Masks about making me up some markings. Turns out the cowl text and the sortie marks are too small to pull off in 1/48, so, arm twisted, I decided to upsize to the Hasegawa 1/32 kit.

To be honest, this is a kit I’ve been wanting to build for a long time. My copy was actually a birthday gift from Mrs. Doogs back in 2010. At the time it was my sole 1/32 kit. Now I have a total of five 1/32 Jugs in the stash…

The Jug in French Service

After the Battle of France in 1940, several French pilots refused to surrender and stole out to Britain or French North Africa to carry on the fight. While a few, such as the famous Pierre Clostermann, were incorporated into the national air forces of the allies, many continued to serve in the Free French Air Force, which was equipped with Allied aircraft and which served more or less throughout Europe. Several FAFL (Forces Aériennes Françaises Libres) units participated in D-Day, while the famed Normandie-Niemen regiment flew Yak fighters alongside the Soviets on the Eastern Front. A bulk of the French units, however, operated in the Mediterranean and southern Europe, flying sorties against German ground targets in northern Italy and southern France.

The P-47 I’m planning to build was a member of Groupe de Chasse I/5 “Champagne”, which formed in September 1943 flying P-39 Airacobras before transitioning to the Jug toward the end of 1944. They were one of the many groups operating in southern Europe, with missions taking them into Italy, France and Germany before the end of the war.

I wish I could say that C9*I did something amazingly noteworthy, but to be honest I’ve been unable to track down more than a few pictures. But…the number of sortie markings it wears definitely indicates it was one active Jug.

Color Scheming

It’s pretty obvious that C9*I was finished in the standard olive drab over neutral gray scheme P-47s wore up until mid-1944, when the USAAF dictated that aircraft start being delivered in bare metal.It’s also clear that it wore the tricolor rudder typical of French P-47s, as well as yellow cowl flaps, wingtips, and ID bands just inboard of the guns.

But if you look closely at the forward edge of the engine cowl, particularly at the bottom, it appears that there is some different coloration there not depicted on the color profile.

My theory is that this is red, and that the image itself is somehow blue-filtered (hence the darkness of the yellow fuselage codes and tail numbers and the extreme lightness of the blue on the rudder). To see what a red cowl would look like under blue filtering, I had some Photoshop fun.

The topmost image is the red-cowled P-47, converted to black and white with a blue filter applied. The second is a straight grayscale conversion for comparison. Honestly…to me it looks entirely possible that the cowl ring was red, and this is backed up by every other GC I/5 Jug sporting a red ring up front.

So I’ll be doing C9*I with a red cowl ring.


Of course no build would be complete without aftermarket, so here’s what I’ll be throwing at “Le Jug”:

  • Eduard interior and exterior photo etch + canopy mask
  • Mastercasters wheels
  • Mastercasters replacement cowl flaps (and maybe gear bays)
  • Hasegawa brass blast tubes for the eight .50 cals

Stay tuned, this one kicks off soon!

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