Republic P-47B-D Razorback
Author: Robert Pęczkowski
Publisher Mushroom Model Publications
Price 19.00
Reviewer: Scott Van Aken
Notes: 136 pages, hardbound, A4 format
ISBN 978-83-63678-84-5

Although it is a post war description, enthusiasts and modelers alike know what you mean when you are talking about a 'razorback' P-47. These are the initial run of aircraft until the more widely used 'bubbletop planes came into production in 1944. It was these early planes that introduced what was then (and now) a huge single engine fighter into the USAAF.

There were several reasons for its size, the main ones being the need for a robust airframe to handle the power of the R-2800 radial, space for the turbocharger, and a large enough wing to house the eight fifty caliber machine guns. Later, the aircraft was also strengthened to carry stores under the fuselage and the wings. It was this ability to carry so much that made it a superlative fighter-bomber, but that is not for which this plane was designed. Indeed, it was to be a standard air to air fighter, and despite was was a rather dismal climbing ability, the plane was not only successful as an air to air fighter, but also was able to absorb a considerable amount of damage, something its pilots came to appreciate once they flew it in combat.

In common with other books in this series, one can basically divide the book into two major sections. One is history and development of the aircraft, which includes those built in Curtiss. This section is crammed full of great photos (many of them color), color profiles and some color art work. This includes a small section on warbirds and other survivors. It also briefly touches on those planes operated by other nations.

The second part of the book is more detailed and is on the airframe and systems of the P-47. This makes copious use of photos of both warbird and museum aircraft along with period images and tech manual illustrations. As an interesting side note, there are two currently flying razorback P-47s detailed in the book. Both are Curtiss built P-47Gs, a type that pretty much was kept in the US for training. Some of the detail structure images are on aircraft undergoing restoration, so it is nice to be able to see this sort of detail. One of the restoration images seems to have the fuselage bulkheads and stringer held together with metal braces. Apparently this is one pulled from the jungle or sea that has seen better days!

In all, it makes for an outstanding reference for any Thunderbolt enthusiast and some great reading and eye candy for the rest of us. It is a book that is well worth obtaining and is one that I have no trouble providing my highest recommendation.

February 2017

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