Hobby Boss 1/48 P-47D Thunderbolt Quick Build Review
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||August 2012||Manufacturer||Hobby Boss|
|Kit Number||85804||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy assembly||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$22.99|
For a brief description of the Thunderbolt or a look at this kit out of the box, click here.
As I mentioned in my in-box review of this kit, I was interested to see how Hobby Boss would approach an 'Easy Assembly' kit, so the parts went straight to the bench from the photo table. As I also mentioned, this kit is not a snap assembly model, this is still a glue assembly kit though the fuselage halves have an interesting friction lock system that is worth having a go. This will be a quick-build, so I'm only using Tamiya Extra Thin Cement for assembly and no fillers nor paints. In addition to the glue, I am using simple sprue cutters and files to remove the parts from the trees and removing the remaining sprue stubs from each part.
Several things are apparent with this kit right away. First, the parts for any given assembly step usually comes from the same sprue tree so you won't be searching to find every part you need across all of the trees. Nice! Second, the engineers made the sprue tree stubs enter each part on the gluing edge wherever possible. On the fuselage halves and wings, for example, the stubs come along seam lines of the parts halves where they won't be seen after assembly. You won't see the typical sprue tree scars on this kit after assembly.
The cockpit goes together easily and has some nice details without lots of extras that would add complexity to the project. If you're looking for an AMS Modeler's cockpit, this isn't the kit you're looking for. The instrument panel is simple but once you paint it and apply the instrument face decals, it will look presentable after the model is completed.
Install the cockpit into the left fuselage half, add the tailwheel assembly and the engine compartment vent inserts, and you're ready to put the fuselage halves together. Notice those two large sockets - one in the front and one near the tail - that is the friction lock system.
The fuselage halves go together so snugly with the friction locking that I didn't use cement. The fit is virtually seamless though I'm sure a touch of Mr.Surfacer and some buffing would make this model ready for Alclad II.
The model does go together quickly from here, so quickly that I forgot to take any further in-progress shots. There were absolutely no assembly issues and the fit of the model is great. The only place I can see filler will be required is on the underside of the wings near the wingtips - there is a bit of a gap on both sides where the underside of the wing meets the upper half. A touch of filler at the wing roots and horizontal stab roots will also be needed, just like most other kits.
The kit uses poly caps inside the wheels and behind the engine to allow for wheel and propeller movement, but beyond that, the kit is basic and yet you can see from the nicely scribed surface details that this model would be an ideal palette for a variety of P-47 paint schemes where you don't want to make a super-detailed model for every scheme.
Hobby Boss has engineered a simple build model that would be great for a new modeler or someone coming back into the hobby. If you take the time to carefully remove the mold stubs, the kit literally falls together. I spent around 90 minutes assembling the model and that includes a few coffee breaks. With a very reasonable retail price, this kit could also serve as the basis of building multiple airframes quickly so time can be spent on rendering several of the many colorful paint schemes available for this subject in the aftermarket decal world.
My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!