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Build Report: Ken Judt’s 1/72 Tamiya P-47D

Ken Judt (icekj) posted this build report with photos of his nicely done Tamiya P-47. Great work Ken!

Lieutenant Colonel Robert S. Johnson flew with the 56th Fighter group, 8th Air Force from July 1942 until May 1944.  He flew 89 combat missions and was credited with 27 air-to-air victories.  When he transferred back to the United States in June of 1944 he was the ranking ace in the European theater.  Johnson collaborated with aviation author Martin Caidin to write his autobiographical story of the 56th Fighter Group, Thunderbolt!, in 1958.

In my long term project to build aircraft for the top 20 US aces from WWII, Johnson’s aircraft was one I was looking forward to building.  Johnson flew either 4 or 5 different aircraft in combat depending on which source you use.  I depicted the P-47D-15-RE Ser# 42-76234 that he flew in March and April of 1944.  He scored 5 victories in this aircraft.

For this build I used the excellent 1/72 Tamiya P-47D Razorback model kit.  This is the first time I have built this kit and I was looking forward to the “shake and bake” reputation it has in the modeling community.

List of kit and aftermarket:
Tamiya 1/72 P-47D Razorback
Eduard USAAF and USN Seatbelts WWII Pre-Painted photoetch
Superscale Decal 72-641 P-47 Razorbacks
Authentic Decals 72-02 US Propeller Stencils

I enjoyed the build process with this kit.  Even out of the box the cockpit and aircraft is well detailed for the scale.  There were no real surprises in the kit and everything fit very well.  This was the first time I used photo-etch seat belts in a build and I learned allot in handling photo-etch details.  I still prefer molded in seat belts in this scale but I will not be intimidated by photo-etch anymore.

The only photo of this aircraft that I could find showed the large flat style drop tank mounted on the fuselage hard point.  The razorback kit did not come with one so I used one from the Tamiya Bubble-top kits I also have.

Minimal filling and sanding was required for the kit.  The canopy moldings were also very clear and about as thin as you can get at this scale without going to a vacuform canopy.  I used Tamiya Fine White primer in the rattle can for this project.  The paint is a combination of Tamiya, Modelmaster, and Citadel acrylics.  Future was used for a gloss coat both before and after decals.  Because the Tamiya kit has the option for another 61st fighter squadron, 56th fighter group aircraft of the same time period I was able to use a minimum of decals from the Superscale sheet.  The serial numbers, kill board, letter P, and crew board were all that was used from the sheet.  I did purchase this sheet in the early 90’s and they had seen better days.  A coat of liquid decal film kept them from falling apart.  I used the Curtis Electric logos from the Authentic Decals sheet on that big paddle bladed propeller.  When all was done I used Model Master Acrylic Semi-Gloss thinned 2:1 paint to 91% rubbing alcohol.  This gives me an almost dead flat finish without any of the dreaded frosting.

I am very satisfied with the result and this kit deserves its reputation as a easy build.