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P-47D 'Dottie Mae'

Eduard 1/32 P-47D 'Dottie Mae' Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2017 Manufacturer Eduard
Subject P-47D 'Dottie Mae' Scale 1/32
Kit Number 11103 Primary Media Styrene, photo-etch, resin, art
Pros Interesting concept Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $195.95

First Look

P-47D 'Dottie Mae'
P-47D 'Dottie Mae'
P-47D 'Dottie Mae'
P-47D 'Dottie Mae'
P-47D 'Dottie Mae'
P-47D 'Dottie Mae'

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 and 405th Fighter Groups were among the organizations to refuse the Mustang and see the war through in their beloved Thunderbolts.

Eduard has embarked on another interesting kit concept - EduArt. EduArt takes a kit and releases it like a limited edition (using kits from other manufacturers) or Profipack (using their own tooling) and not only adds the usual 'love' consisting of photo-etched parts and sometimes resin, EduArt adds a specially-commissioned print in the box depicting the subject of that release. In this case, we have the third release which is the EduArt 1/32 P-47D Bubbletop Thunderbolt with the nose art of 'Dottie Mae' as flown by Lieutenant Larry Kuhl. Before we go further with the artwork, let's start with the core kit.

This is Hasegawa's 1/32 P-47D Bubbletop Thunderbolt which was first released about a decade ago. The kit was soon followed by Trumpeter's 1/32 P-47D Razorback and Bubbletop releases and finally allowed the long-standing Revell 1/32 kits to go to retirement. The Hasegawa kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on seven parts trees plus one tree of clear parts.

Among the features of the basic kit:

  • Reasonably detailed cockpit
  • Choice of single-piece closed windscreen/canopy or two-piece open version
  • Choice of inboard or outboard landing light location
  • Choice of four propeller types
  • Optional dorsal fin fillet
  • Wing box structure that runs through the fuselage to provide strength and proper dihedral for the wings
  • Detailed engine
  • Cowling can be positioned closed or with quadrants removed
  • Choice of open or closed cowl flaps
  • Positionable landing flaps
  • Positioable supercharger exhaust doors
  • Flight control surfaces are molded neutral/centered

External store options include:

  • Flat metal tank for centerline
  • Choice of bombs or metal drop tanks for wing pylons (no paper tanks included in the kit)

Adding the Eduard additions to the kit:

  • Super-detailed cockpit
  • Replacement pilot's seat with color-printed restraints provided
  • Color-printed instrument panel and sub-panels
  • Photo-etched ignition harness for the engine
  • Photo-etched faces for the oil radiators
  • Photo-etched details around the airframe
  • Weighted Brassin wheels
  • Yellow tape masks for canopy, windscreen, and wheels

Markings are provided for three examples:

  1. P-47D-28-RA, 42-29150, 511 FS/405 FG, K4-S, Saint Dizier, Dec 1944, 'Dottie Mae' as flown by Lt Larry A. Kuhl
  2. P-47D-26-RA, 42-28382, 509 FS/405 FG, G9-K, Ophoven, Mar 1945, 'Whooo' as flown by Lt James R. Hopkins
  3. P-47D-28-RA, 42-29173, 510 FS/405 FG, 2Z-V, Saint Dizier, Jan 1945, 'Pilot's Dream IV' as flown by Lt Francis Norr

If you'll note the box cover artwork, this was done by Romain Hugault depicting Dottie Mae wearing her nose art costume and posed pn the wing of the aircraft while being 'appreciated' by members of the squadron. Inside the kit, you'll find a print ready for framing that is roughly 23" x 16.5" and will look good on the wall of your modeler cave or workshop.

As you might imagine, there was much debate over which kit was better (Hasegawa or Trumpeter) and the answer was (and still is) 'that depends'. The Hasegawa kit is an easy build that offers some nice details and options. The Trumpeter kit is an AMS modeler's dream as it offers more details and options since it is a more complex kit. At the time of their releases, the Hasegawa kit was about half the retail price of the Trumpeter kit, but over the years, their prices are nearly identical.

Both kits build up into beautiful models. Both have their issues as well. In the Hasegawa (and this release), the four-piece cowling can be a challenge to assemble if you're building the model ready to fly, and the surface of the wings and fuselage lack much of the rivet and fastener details that are visible on the full-scale aircraft. While this EduArt release is about twice the price of the Hasegawa and Trumpeter kits, it does provide the aftermarket details and limited edition artwork. No matter which kit you prefer, you do not lack for options as a 1/32 Thunderbolt modeler!

My sincere thanks to Eduard for this review sample!