Kinetic 1/24 P-47D Razorback Thunderbolt Kit First Look
|Date of Review||December 2015||Manufacturer||Kinetic|
|Subject||P-47D Razorback Thunderbolt||Scale||1/24|
|Kit Number||K3208||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice details||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$99.99|
The P-47 Thunderbolt started its development with the Seversky P-36, followed by the P-43 Lancer during the late 1930s. The US Army Air Corps was interested in the design development and authorized the lightweight XP-44 Rocket and V-12-powered XP-47. By 1940 however, the two designs were deemed inferior to Luftwaffe aircraft and while Republic tried to improve the XP-47 with the XP-47A, the USAAC wasn't interested. Republic completely reworked the design by combining a larger engine with a larger airframe (it was already armed with eight .50 caliber machine guns) and the XP-47B was approved.
Like all fighter aircraft of the day, the P-47 was designed with the distinctive 'razorback' fuselage and received incremental improvements during its production. Republic was not able to produce the P-47 in sufficient numbers at its Farmingdale, NY plant so a second facility was opened in Evansville, IN. Curtiss was also tasked to produce the P-47 at its Buffalo, NY facility, but that production facility experienced major problems and the resulting aircraft were designated as P-47Gs and used only as stateside training aircraft.
The P-47 was the mainstay for both air-to-air and air-to-ground combat in Europe and Pacific theaters. Even after the P-51 Mustang entered the war, the P-47 had the highest number of aerial victories than all other USAAF fighters combined. When the Hawker Typhoon was revised with a cut-down rear deck and teardrop canopy, the USAAF quickly adopted the concept and the P-47 and P-51 were redesigned with similar bubble-top/teardrop canopies.
Ten years ago, a new company appeared on the scene, Vintage Fighters, with their first model kit - a 1/24 scale P-40B Warhawk - which was received with mixed reviews. This was followed a few years later by a 1/24 P-47D Bubbletop Thunderbolt and a 1/24 P-47D Razorback Thunderbolt, both of which were nicely detailed. While Vintage Fighters had an interesting list of future releases planned, they never moved beyond the P-47s. More recently, Kinetic Models reissued the bubbletop P-47D kit under their brand, and here is the Razorback that has just been released.
I remember when the Vintage Fighter P-47D kit was first released, it came in a very large box that took up lots of shelf space, so I expected something similar with this Kinetic reissue. Surprise - the box has roughly the same width and length as other kits in the Kinetic catalog, but the height is quite impressive. Even more impressive that Kinetic was able to rework the sprues to fit in such a retail-friendly form factor. While the original kit came on nine parts trees plus two trees of clear parts, this kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on 24 parts tree plus fuselage halves and wing halves packaged separately, two trees of clear parts, and two rubber (vinyl) tires (duplicate trees not shown).
While the kit builds into a large model, it isn't really complicated. Unlike many of the equivalent kits being produced in large scale today, this model isn't over-engineered with lots of tiny parts or details where you'll never see them after assembly. The two main features in this kit are the cockpit and the engine, both of which are nicely detailed. You'll want to make use of some good photo references so you can replicate these features with careful painting and weathering.
Among the features and options of the kit:
- Nicely detailed cockpit
- Postitionable canopy
- Very detailed engine, mounts and firewall
- Cowling panels can be positioned on, partially, or completely removed
- Detailed gun bays and ammo bays
- Positionable doors on gun bays and ammo bays
- Gun bay doors and bay undersides molded in clear for optional reveal
- Positionable wing flaps
- Choice of Curtiss or Hamilton Standard cuffed or uncuffed propellers
The kit provides the following external stores options:
- Choice of metal or paper underwing external fuel tanks
- Optional centerline 'flat' metal external fuel tank
- Choice of bomb or bazooka rocket tubes
This release has two marking options:
- P-47D-2-RE, 42-8096, 342 FS/348 FG, 'Miss Mutt/Pride of Lodi Ohio', as flown by Lt R.H. Parker
- P-47D-15-RE, 42-76275, 510 FS/405 FG, 'Squirt II', as flown by LTC Robert R. Rowland
The decals provide a set of airframe stencils and instrument faces for the instrument panel.
The kit will build into an impressive model straight out of the box, but I suggest adding seatbelts/shoulder harness for the cockpit as well as adding little details from scratch for switches and knobs that are in reference photos as needed. While the flaps are positionable, the flight control surfaces are all molded center/neutral which is fine when the flight control lock is engaged. When the aircraft is being readied for departure, you'll see the lock is disengaged as the elevators are down. You can reposition the elevators with some careful surgery if you want to add that extra visual element to your model. The only other minor glitch with this kit are the cowl flaps - they are molded closed. On the ground, the cowl flaps are usually left open so that the engine doesn't overheat during ground operations. There is one aftermarket alternative out there but it is not readily available outside the UK.
It is nice to see this kit back on the market, even if for a short time. If you've ever wanted a 1/24th scale 'bolt for your shelf and you didn't get one of the Vintage Fighter releases, now is the time as I don't know if Kinetic will be reissuing this beast again. What is also nice is that even though this kit was released ten years ago, this reissue is actually less expensive than its original release!
My sincere thanks to Lucky Model for this review sample!