I am a big fan of cheap, easy to build models that are reasonably accurate. I am certainly no rivet counter, but I suppose I could be described as a rivet estimator. I could count rivets, but I choose not to, and I am happy with looking at a model and saying “that’s pretty close”.
Hobbyboss has taken a lot of heat for their 1/48 Easy Assembly kits. And to a certain extent, I can understand the criticism. Their P-40M was quite oddly shaped, even for someone with relaxed standards like me. I built it, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but it’s shape was so obviously odd it was a bit comical. Their P-51D was a better effort. I’d certainly recommend it, as well as the 1/48 UH-1. While they also had some minor shape and detail issues, for a rivet estimator, they worked out just fine.
With the most recent in the 1/48 Easy Assembly series, the P-47D, Hobbyboss has continued to improve the kits. This one looks like a P-47D, and while I’m sure folks with a more critical eye than I have would find faults in it, I was quite happy with how it looked overall.
The cockpit is a very simple tub, much like you’d find on the Monogram P-47 kits. Detail, given the price ($15.79 at ScaleHobbyist.com), is quite adequate, especially when you consider the canopy is one piece, so there is no option with box parts to have an open canopy. (Short of sawing it open.) Of course, this may be a good thing, because the cockpit opening is the one really glaring error I found… it’s shaped like the canopy. I don’t know if this was an oversight of what the correct shape should be, or if it’s simply an engineering concession to make the canopy fit simpler. The opening should be straight, but it’s actually curved, right on line with the canopy. With the canopy fitted, of course, you really don’t notice.
Anyway…. with some basic paint and drybrushing, and a panel wash, the cockpit looks nice enough. I added some very simple belts made of tape.
The overall assembly fits the name… it is easy. It goes together with darn near Tamiya precision. It’s a very tight fit, in fact…. test fitting the fuselage may result in gluing it together anyway. 🙂 it’s not quite snap-tite, but darn close. In fact, all of the Easy Assembly kits are very well engineered in terms of fit. I’m amazed Hobbyboss can do such a nice job on a $15 kit. If they ever get really serious about shape, it will be hard for anyone to compete with them for price and quality.
The only other issue, a very minor one, is the engine is molded as part of the cowl. it takes a bit of creative stretching to get the engine painted.
For the paint scheme, I decided to go out of the box. I found photos of a P-47D in an unusual winter camouflage scheme. Research on the underlying paint scheme was a bit confusing… several sources that seemed reputable all reported different schemes. In the end, I went with the one that I liked the best… light blue undersides, with ocean gray and dark sea gray uppers. it may not be accurate, but it looks cool. 🙂
The documentation on the winter scheme was much better. I found photos that pretty much covered every angle, and was able to replicate that pretty faithfully, I think.
I started with the normal painting of the underlying scheme, using Tamiya paints. I did a little weathering, but only in the areas that would not receive any winter camouflage.
The winter scheme was simply a very thin mix of several parts Tamiya white, and one part Tamiya Deck Tan. I airbrushed the camo on freehand, trying to preserve the field-applied look of the real aircraft. Once that was on, I did some more weathering, and then sealed it all with Future.
Decals were from Aeromaster’s #48-785, “The Wolf Pack- 56th FG in WWII Pt. X, with some adjustments to mirror the aircraft’s markings at the time of the winter camo scheme.
I did replace the kit barrels with brass inserts. I botched drilling a few of the hole, unfortunately, so they’re not perfect.
Overall, I was really happy with this build. The best way I can describe the kit is to compare it to the Monogram _47D. Both are simple, accurate kits, with good detailing, tub cockpits, and an affordable price. The Hobbyboss kit has the benefit of recessed panel lines. (I’m not implying it’s a copy… because it is not…)
I can definitely recommend this kit to anyone wanting to build a P-47D on a budget. You’ll end up with a nice looking model on the shelf, and enough budget left over to build a couple more!