by: Andy Brazier [ ]
Hobby Boss are the new company on the block. Boasting of unique technological capability in design, development and manufacturing, they should be a company to look out for. Their range of kits include 1/48th, 1/35th vehicles, 1/72nd, 1/48th aircraft and a 1/48th LCM and soon to be announced 1/700th ships and 1/35th figures. Their 1/72 range of aircraft are aimed I believe at the younger and less experienced modeller as they are simplicity itself to build. The experienced modeller will still find these kits great fun for a quick fast build.
The American Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, also known as the "Jug," was the largest single-engined fighter of its day. It was one of the main United States Army Air Force (USAAF) fighters of the Second World War. The P-47 was effective in air combat but proved especially adept in the ground attack role. On escort missions over Germany many pilots shot up ground targets of opportunity which led to the realization that the P-47 made an excellent fighter-bomber. Although replaced by the P-51 Mustangs in the escort role, the "Jug" was known as one of the best fighter/bombers of the war
12,602 examples of the P-47D were built, which actually consisted of a series of evolving production blocks, the last of which were visibly different from the first. All the P-47s to this point had a "razorback" canopy configuration with a tall fuselage spine behind the pilot which resulted in poor visibility to the rear. The British also had this problem with their fighter aircraft, and had devised the bulged "Malcolm hood" canopy for the Spitfire as an initial solution. This was fitted in the field to many P-51 Mustangs, and to a handful of P-47Ds. However, the British then came up with a much better solution, devising an all-round vision "bubble" canopy for the Hawker Typhoon. USAAF officials liked the bubble canopy, and quickly adapted it to American fighters, including the P-51 and the Thunderbolt. The first P-47 with a bubble canopy was a modified P-47D-5 completed in the summer of 1943 and re designated XP-47K. Another older P-47D was modified to provide an internal fuel capacity of 370 US gallons (1,402 L) and given the designation XP-47L. The bubble canopy and increased fuel capacity were then rolled into production together, resulting in the P-47D-25.
The kit comes packed in the standard lidded box and upon opening the box you will find that Hobby Boss do things differently. You will see a plastic tray with all the parts sitting in individual recesses with a couple of lips to hold them securely in place. The parts are very securely held in place, so the days of loose parts floating around the box are long gone.
The kit itself comprises of 38 light grey and 1 clear plastic injected parts.
The P-47 kit has fine recessed panel lines and very little flash and sink marks. The few sink marks I have found are on the inside of the landing gear doors and inside of the fuel tanks where they won't be seen.
The fuselage is pre-built, so no seam filling is required. The downside of this way of moulding is that there is very little detail in the cockpit area, no side wall, instrument panel or floor detail is included. Basically there is a seat and a joystick, so adding detail will be a little trying but not impossible. There is a mould line along the top of the fuselage, but should be easy to remove by running a sharp knife along it. The radio antenna ariel is moulded onto the fuselage so care needs to be taken not to break it off while building and painting the kit.
The wings are moulded in one piece and slot into the underside of the fuselage. A quick test fit showed there is a gap where it joins, but by cutting away the positioning pins beforehand it should remove a lot of filling after. The wing roots also shows a gap but by filling with some glue should clear the problem.
The wheel bays have a little detail which entails a ribbed effect where the tyre sits.
The machine gun barrels are moulded as part of the wing assembly and likewise with the antenna Ariel care needs to be taken when handling.
Engine detail is basically non- existent but there is one there. The kit comes with 1 of each of the Curtiss and Hamilton Standard propellers. The cowling is moulded in one piece and fits very tightly over the engine.
External stores consists of 2-500lb bombs, 2-108gal and 1-150gal drop tanks.
A quick test fit of the major parts and comparing it to the Tamiya and Academy kits, the Hobby Boss offering seems to be the same regarding shape and size.
The instructions are printed on glossy A3 size paper, folded in half to form a booklet. The front page tells you what the different build symbols mean and how to use the decals. pages 2 and 3 is the build sequence from step 1 to step 3. Step 4 just shows a line drawing of the completed model. No interior colours are given through out the build, so some reference work is required. The back page gives you a colour profile drawings of the decal and painting guide.
Painting and Decalling
2 choices of markings are given, both of which are natural metal finish. All paint colours given are for the Gunze Sangyo range. The first aircraft markings are for the 527th FS, 86th FG, USAAF, which has a rabbit artwork on the cowling and a red striped tail section. The second aircraft markings are for the 'Big Ass Bird II' from the 513th FS, 406th FG, 9th AF, USAAF and has the D-Day stripes on the bottom half of the fuselage. These stripes need to be painted on as they don't come as decals. The decals look in register with little carrier film around the edges but some portions look a little blotchy, as if the decal film hasn't been properly applied.