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P-47D Bubbletop Thunderbolt Kit

Academy 1/72 P-47D Bubbletop Thunderbolt Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2015 Manufacturer Academy
Subject P-47D Bubbletop Thunderbolt Scale 1/72
Kit Number 12491 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy construction, nice detailing Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $14.75

First Look

P-47D Bubbletop Thunderbolt Kit
P-47D Bubbletop Thunderbolt Kit
P-47D Bubbletop Thunderbolt Kit
P-47D Bubbletop Thunderbolt Kit

The Republic P-47 first took shape as the Seversky P-35 before that company became Republic. The design was evolved through the P-43 Lancer before the requirements led to World War II's heaviest fighter, the P-47. The P-47 was designed with the typical streamlined cockpit of the day before rearward visibility in aerial combat became a requirement. Later P-47s were redesigned with the rear upper deck cut down to facilitate a bubble canopy atop the fuselage which provided excellent all-round visibility. This new design was introduced part-way through P-47D production, which for whatever reason didn't warrant a new model designation.

P-47s were among the first fighters to accompany the USAAF over to Europe as the United States entered the war. While many fighter wings were quick to transition to the P-51 Mustang as soon as it was available, the 56th Fighter Group was one of the only organizations to refuse the Mustang and see the war through in their beloved Thunderbolts.

Academy has reissued their bubbletop P-47D Thunderbolt kit in 1/72 scale. First released circa 1998, this kit is generally regarded as one of the better kits of the Thunderbolt in this scale with better details than the Hasegawa release. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on three parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Basic cockpit interior
  • Positionable canopy
  • Positionable landing gear
  • Choice of narrow or wide chord propeller

External stores options include:

  • Choice of aluminum or paper centerline drop tank
  • 2 x bombs
  • 2 x bazooka launchers

Decals are provided for two options:

  • P-47D-25-RE, 42-27316, 509 FS/405 FG, G9-J, 'Chief Ski-O-Watha'
  • Thunderbolt Mk.II, HD269, 615 Sqn, KW-R, RAF

This is a nice kit that will be a simple build and can provide the airframe for the variety of aftermarket decal sets on the market. AMS modelers can also have fun with this kit with the resin and photo-etch updates also available. Even with all of that potential, this kit is ideal for younger modelers and at an affordable price.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this sample!