Academy 1/72 P-47D Thunderbolt






Two aircraft


Scott Van Aken




I've gone on about P-47s a number of times over the last year or so. I'd recommend checking out one of those other reviews for the story on this workhorse of the USAAF.



Academy's kit is a rather recent addition to the 1/72 WWII fighter community. This 2001 kit looks a LOT like the Hasegawa kit of the same plane, but brings with it a few differences, some of which you may like and some not. First of all, like the Hasegawa kit, it is engraved panel lines, and, in my mind, about the same in terms of quality. Where this goes ahead of its competitor is that we now have a nicely detailed interior. Not as good as the True Details resin one, for sure, but much better than the joke of the Hase kit. One also gets a two piece canopy so that the interior can be displayed. There is also a centerline fuel tank that is new to this kit as well as under wing bazookas. One thing I find quite odd is that there is one long paper drop tank and one smaller aluminum tank. I'd have thought that a pair of drop tanks would be available, but apparently you have to build a jabo out of this one with the two bombs on the pylons. Most unusual.

Other nice things are two different props; an early Curtiss-Electic and a Hamilton Standard. Having the asymmetrical one would have been a very nice addition as well. Just make sure when you do your model that you have the right prop for the right set of markings. While I wouldn't notice anything odd, jugophiles will spot the glitch a mile off. The kit also includes a full engine  and a rather oddly done set of upper gear doors which means that you can only build it as is with the gear down. A separate upper and middle door would have been more realistic. The cowling is also a two section construct with the carb/cooler intake baffle a separate piece.

Instructions are quite good and color info is in generic and FS 595 format. Markings are for two aircraft. The box art plane is from the 84 FS/78 FG and is medium green over neutral grey. There is a strong possibility that this is RAF Dark Green over Light Aircraft Grey, but do which you prefer as it isn't OD on the upper surfaces. The other is overall bare metal with a red front cowling and red/white striped tail section from 527 FS/86 FG in Italy during the last part of the war. Decals are very well printed and look great. Some have mentioned having problems with Academy decals and I can echo that. They need to be handled carefully and sometimes won't react well to setting solutions, but they will work.



We now have two very nice P-47s with the addition of this Academy kit. In many ways it offers more than the Hasegawa kit and is sure to be just as pleasant a build.

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