During WW2 the P-47 Thunderbolt was perhaps the heaviest tactical attack aircraft in the Allies’ formidable stable of fighter-bombers — the dreaded “Jabos” (Jagdbombers), as the Germans called them. A Spitfire weighed 3 tons and a Mustang 5, while “the Jug” came in at 7 tons. Along with the RAF’s Typhoon fighter-bomber, the wide-ranging P-47 was the scourge of enemy aircraft, infrastructure and vehicles. If you haven’t seen it, the 1947 documentary Thunderbolt, which focuses on a P-47 squadron in the Mediterranean theatre, is a great way to check out tons of authentic color footage of this iconic aircraft.
The model I have built comes from Tamiya’s “1/72 Scale War Bird Collection,” a series I have come to appreciate very much recently. These high-quality kits offer about as much detail from nose to tail and in the cockpit and undercarriage as one could ask for without making the leap to photo-etch parts, striking a balance that suits my patience and interest just about perfectly right now.
I was drawn to this kit also because I love the look of the black-and-white invasion stripes on the aircraft used during the Normandy campaign. I wanted to load up this famous ground-attack aircraft with as much ordnance as possible, but the the directions were a bit ambiguous as to whether it could be armed with 500-lb. bombs and rocket tubes. That’s when I re-watched “Thunderbolt” and confirmed that it could be done! Here the plane is posed with various Airfix ground personnel, buildings and vehicles, along with a Hasegawa fuel truck.