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Tamiya 1/48 P-47D Razorback "Ruthless Ruthie"

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Hi guys, time to start my next project, Tamiya’s excellent P-47D Razorback.  I’ve had it since it was first released and figured it’s finally time to build it.  Plus, it’s a nice change of pace after the last few jet builds.  As per my usual, I’m adding a bunch of aftermarket goodies, even though the kit doesn’t really need it.  Here’s the list:


Aires Cockpit 4465
Aires Wheel Bays 4466
Eduard Placards FE197
Eduard P-47D-20 49226
Ulracast Seats 48107
Ultracast Bock Tread Covered Wheels 48124
Resin2Detail R-2800 Fast Fix Engine
Master Model P-47 Detail Set AM-48-155
Vector P-47 Exterior Set VDS 48-090
Quickboost P-47 Oil Cooler Exhuast QB 48 291
Print Scale P-47D Thuderbolt Razorback Aces over Europe Part 1 48-077
Thudercals P-47 Data Decals Part 1 48-005
Eduard P-47D Stencil Decals D48069


I’ve settled on representing the P-47D called “Ruthless Ruthie” flown by George P. Novotny since I have not seen this particular thunderbolt modeled.  Below is a link to the obituary of the pilot, who sadly died a few years ago.




Like many P-47s in the MTO, this one carried 150 gallon teardrop tanks. Tamiya includes them on the bubbletop kit, but not the razorback version.  I asked Tamiya if I could purchase them, but instead, they sent me a set free of charge!  

As usual, I started with the cockpit.  The Aires set is nice, but since it’s not much of an improvement over the kit cockpit, I can’t really recommend it.  I added placards from the Eduard set as well as decals from my Anyz’s, Mike Grant, and Airscale placard sets.  




To achieve the worn paint on the cockpit floor, seat, and top edges of the cockpit, I painted Aclad Aluminum over the primer base, followed by a protective coat of Mr. Color GX112 clear gloss.  I then sprayed the Mr Color 302 green cockpit color.  Using my fiberglass pen, I rubbed the edges to wear away the green, exposing the Aclad Aluminum.  The clear gloss prevents me from also wearing off the Alclad.  I added further paint wear with a light brushing of Vallejo Metal Color Aluminum.  The switches and boxes were painted with Tamiya paints and I followed up with a wash of Mig PLW black night.  I then sprayed a coat of Mr. Color GX113 clear flat and a light drybrush of light gray to highlight detail.  I also used Abteilung 502 Starship Filth to dirty up the seatbelts and a custom mix of brown oil paint on the seat and floor to represent general dirt.  A second coat of clear flat seals everything in.  












I noticed that the rudder pedals in the Aires set were undersized and sat too high off the cockpit floor.  The Tamiya petals were more accurately sized and still looked nice, so I went with those instead.  The rods extending from the rudder pedals to behind the seat were replicated from stretched sprue.  


That’s all for now, thanks for looking!


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  • 2 weeks later...

Update time!  Since my last post, I managed to get all the riveting done on the model.  Like I did with the F-15, I went overboard trying to replicate the rivet patterns on the wings and fuselage as close as possible.  At first, I was going to use the diagrams in the P-47 Kagero TopDrawings book, but after studying various closeup photos, it didn’t look like the drawings were that accurate.  Instead of using the drawings for reference, I used mostly photos of the P-47 Razorback restoration that the Dakota Territories Air Museum is currently carrying out.  They seem to be doing a very accurate restoration, going so far as to color match the cockpit color to original unrestored parts.  And since the plane is not yet painted, the rivet lines are easy to see.  Except for a couple of places, 95% of the rivets were done with my Galaxy Models 0.65mm pitch riveter.  I used a couple of applications of Tamiya black panel line wash to highlight the rivets for the photos and to check for any mistakes, which were filled in with rubberized CA.  






The canopy rivet lines were added using a different process since normal use of the riveter requires enough pressure that it could crack the clear plastic.  I first added rivets with the riveter using just enough pressure to slightly mark the plastic.  I then deepened the mark with a sharp pin chucked in my pin vice.  Finally, I went over all the marks with a couple of turns of a #84 drill bit to make sure all the rivet markings were of uniform size.  










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Posted (edited)

Since the  flaps in the Tamiya kit were designed to be positioned up or down, they had to recess the portion of the flap that would be under the wing in the up position.  Since I wanted to position the flaps down, I filled in the lowered area with sheet styrene to get the whole flap surface to the same level.

I’m using the horizontal stabilizers from the Vector detail set and found that they needed some work where the two tabs connect the elevator to the stabilizer.  



Recently, I came across this build by a Japanese modeler of the Tamiya P-47.  




After translating it to English, I read it and learned that the fuselage and cowl shape of the Tamiya kit is wrong compared to Hasegawa’s kit.  His correction of the fuselage shape seemed difficult to carry out, especially since the Aires wheel wells I’m using requires removal of the two wing spar pieces.  Also, compared to the cowl issue, Tamiya’s fuselage is pretty close to Hasegawa’s version.  So I decided to only correct the cowl, which involves cutting the cowl in half at the top and bottom and inserting a 0.8mm wide wedge shaped piece of styrene in the top and a 0.3mm wide piece at the bottom to make the front of the cowl wider.  This also makes the sides of the cowl parallel to each other instead of tapered. 






That's all for now, thanks for looking!



Edited by Drew T.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Geoff!  

Time for an update!  I came across this excellent build of the Tamiya Razorback P-47 on Britmodeler.




Using this guide as a reference, I filled in the cut-outs at the intercooler exhaust.






I also drilled out the exhaust outlet and used sheet styrene to replicate the butterfly valve which is often shown open on planes sitting on the ground.




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I wasn’t satisfied with the Ultracast seat since the seat rails seemed too thick compared to the seat included in the Aires cockpit set.  So I pulled out the Ultracast seat and added seatbelts to the Aires seat.  I used the photoetch lap belts from the Aires set, but I wanted the shoulder straps to look less neat than the photoetch versions.  I replicated them with aluminum foil and cut off the buckles from the photoetch belts and put them on the foil belts.  




Many P-47’s don’t have the instrument panel cowling in place, but based on the photos I have of “Ruthless Ruthie”, it did have the cowling.  Tamia does provide one in their kit, but it looked too thick. I created my own with sheet styrene and used stretched sprue to replicate the raised lip on the top edge.  The raised buttons along the back edge were replicated with Archer rivets.  




The photos I have found of “Ruthless Ruthie” didn’t show any gunsight in place, so I’m assuming it was temporarily removed for some reason.  I have found a few more photos that show other P-47s with no gunsight, which makes no sense to me if the photos were taken during wartime when combat missions were being flown.  Nevertheless, I wanted to add one to this model, so I came across this Mk II gunsight that is 3D printed.  




Since I have no photos of “Ruthless Ruthie” with a gunsight installed, I assumed that if it did have a gunsight, it would have used the British Mk II version.  Early P-47’s came from the factory with the US N3 gunsight, but most were replaced in the field with the Mk II gunsight.  The mount for the gunsight came from the Aires set, but it had to be drastically cut down to make it fit in the correct area.  I used stretched sprue to replicate the defrost button and landing gear indicator that are located on each side of the gunsight.  At the rear cockpit bulkhead, there is a bracket located on each side near where the canopy retracts.  I replicated this with styrene and stretched sprue.  Since removing the Ultracast seat damaged the paint, I stripped the paint in this area.  












There is a horizontal bar on the top front portion of the main canopy.  I replicated this with stretched sprue.



Once all that was done, I painted the seat, the rear cockpit bulkhead, and the front instrument panel console area.  Based on a photo I found of a P-47 seat, I painted the seat belts a yellow-brown color and the shoulder belts the usual off white to add visual interest. 




 I applied my usual oil wash of Ammo Black Night and a drybrushing of light gray oil paint to the areas that I just painted.  I also dirtied up the seat with back and burnt umber oils.  With all the painting and weathering, I could install the gunsight glass, the bulletproof glass shield in front of the gunsight, and the windscreen. Tamiya would have you install these parts near the end of the build, but I find it easier to complete the area around the cockpit as soon as the fuselage is buttoned up before installing the wings.  












Thanks for looking!

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Just an impressive job, Drew; from the cockpit to the corrections, the riveting looks gorgeous and will make the model look as beefier as the original.

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Thanks guys!  Crackerjack, the fiberglass pen can sometimes make my fingers itchy .  However, since I often wear nitrile gloves when airbrushing, I started wearing them when using the pen as well, which solves the problem.  



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  • 2 weeks later...


Hello everyone, the main assembly is just about finished, so I figured I should post the progress.  The Aires wheel bays were slightly challenging to install, but not as bad as some of their other sets I have used on previous projects.  I did have to grind down the inside top surface of the wings to get them to fit, but I didn’t have to resort to thinning them down to paper thinness.  However, they do require removing the two wing spars that Tamiay uses to align the wings.  Luckily, the Tamiya kit is so well engineered that the wings still fit at the correct dihedral angle. The main trick is to make sure that the top and bottom wing halves fit together without adding pressure.  Otherwise, the wing profile will be too thick and it won’t align to the fuselage mating surface properly.  I painted the gear wells after assembly, but I’ll go back and weather them later once all the other painting and decaling is complete.  I guessed at the colors of the piping and hydraulic pistons, as photos show them various colors on restored planes.






The inside surfaces of the wingtip navigation lights were painted yellow to match my references.  I also sanded and polished the outside to get them faired in with the wing surfaces.  






I found a couple of wartime color photos that showed the cockpit sills painted yellow chromate, but heavily worn along the edges.  I tried using the hairspray chipping technique to replicate this appearance, but I could never achieve satisfactory results.  Instead, I painted the sills yellow chromate and brush painted the edges with Vallejo metal color chrome.  I then went back and lightly scraped the edge of the Vallejo paint with a sharp Xacto blade to replicate the worn edge of the yellow chormate.  The chrome replicates the worn look of this area, but it still looks too shiny.  I’ll dull it down later with Gunze GX113.  I also used the Vallejo chrome to replicate chipping on the front edge of the canopy.








I thinned down the edges of the intercooler exhaust doors. 




Tamiya molded the navigation light behind the cockpit into the fuselage.  Since I wanted it to be clear, I removed it and replicated a clear light with CA gel that I trimmed and sanded to shape.  Before applying the glue, I painted the surface of the fuselage with Vallejo chrome to simulate the silver base of the light.




I also used this same technique on the light at the rear of the tail fin.  I used a piece of stretched sprue at the jack point behind the tailwheel.




For the engine, my original plan to was to use the Vector resin R2800.  But then I came across this masterpiece from Resin2Detail.




Being 3D printed, it comes as one piece with all the ignition wiring included.  




It’s a very delicate piece and one of the plumbing bits was broken out of the box, but it’s nothing a little CA can’t fix.  The only downside to this engine is that it was too large to fit in the cowling.  Compared to the engine in Tamiya’s kit, its 2-3mm wider.  However, after spending some time grinding the inside of the cowling and sanding down the outer edge of the engine, I was able to squeeze it in.  The fact that I earlier widened the front of the cowling to correct for the tapered profile also helped.  I did have to remove more material from the outer edge of the engine than I wanted, but it won’t be visible once buried in the cowling.  

Using styrene strip, I added the framing around the outer edge of the engine.  If you study a few photograph of R2800’s in P-47’s, you’ll see that there were several different types of magnetos and prop governors used.  It can be quite a research rabbit hole, but I stumbled across this excellent build of the Trumpeter 1/32 P-47 Razorback that helped immensely. 




Since my model depicts a similar production block as this build, I copied many of the details in his build, including the engine.  To get the right engine configuration, I modified the prop governor on my 3D printed engine and added the brush housing and junction box.  The wiring harness for the prop governor and brush were replicated with 0.2mm diameter lead wire and bits of brass tubing from Albion Alloys.  I also added the cabin heat/defrost intake at the bottom left corner of the engine.  There’s a good photo of it at the link below for the Dakota Air Museum P-47 restoration.  I rarely see it on restored planes, but I’ve seen this detail in several wartime photos.











I created it by chucking a bit of styrene rod in my Dremel tool and used it as a lathe to shape the rod into a horn profile to look like the intake.  Since I’m going to position the cowl flaps open, I made a rough approximation of the exhaust headers from styrene rod that was heated over a flame and bent to shape.  They’re just barely visible with the flaps open.




After an initial priming with Black Mr. Surfacer 1500, I sprayed the engine with Alcad Aluminum and the crankcase with Mr. Color 305 darkened slightly with a couple of drops of black paint.  Ignition wiring was painted with Tamiya Flat Earth. I used a couple of decals from the Thundercals data decals sheet.  I applied a wash of Ammo Black Night panel line wash over the engine.  I also loaded by brush with some Ammo Deep Brown panel line wash and flicked it on the crankcase to replicate oil splatter. The exhaust headers were painted Aclad Steel. I applied a few coats of Rustall to make them look worn and rusty.  They still look rough, but it’s good enough since they will only barely be visible with the cowling installed.  Everything was sealed up with a coat of Guzne GX113 clear flat.








One other detail I found valuable from the Trumpeter build that I linked to above is that there should be a panel line along the two fuselage halves in front of the cockpit.  I think the panel lines here are different on the bubbletop P-47’s so this may not apply to them.




At this point, I’m getting close to the painting stage.  I just need to detail the landing gear and build the drop tanks, then I’ll be ready.  Thanks for looking!

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Thanks guys!  Roger, I will have the engine cowling installed on the finished model.  The version of the engine I'm using is not intended for display without the cowling installed, as the sides and rear of the engine are not well detailed.  Also, they make a different version that is detailed on all sides that is better suited for display without the cowling.  Plus, I had to grind material off the outer ring of the engine to get it to fit in the cowling.  However, I won't glue on the prop, so with it removed, a fair bit of the engine is still visible.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back for an update!  I managed to get the engine glued to the cowling.  It was a tight fit, but I was able to squeeze it in and get everything aligned.  After gluing on the cowl flaps, I used stretched sprue to replicate the linkages that open and close the flaps.








For the prop, I cut off the shaft that Tamiya molded into the prop hub and drilled a hole since I’m using the shaft on the engine to mount the prop.  I also used thin sheet styrene to replicate the plate between the prop hub and cone.  I also thinned down the blades to a more scale thickness.




I had already painted the tail wheel doors, but I found some detailed photos of the doors and decided to add some detail missing.  I used sheet styrene and raised rivets from Archer.




Since I’m using drop tanks on this build, I removed the rear stabilizer bar since it was molded into the pylon in the retracted position.  I also notched the rear section so I can easily add the bar later on in the extended position.






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It’s commonly known that the belly sway braces don’t fit well in the Tamiya kits.  I glued them in position and was planning on doing what most people do, which is blend them in with putty.  However, I figured it would be easier to cut the two pieces in half and position them so that they sit more flush with the body.  So I removed them and cut them, then glued them back in position, leaving about an ⅛” gap that I filled with sheet styrene.  To remove them, I had to use a razor saw, which also left gaps that had to be filled with sheet styrene.  Not long after I took the below photo, I broke three of the braces, so I replaced them all by drilling a hole and inserting a straight pin with a flat head that was sanded down to the correct size.  I also added two notches at each end of the slot that runs between the two sets of sway braces based on reference photos of this area. 




Tamiya has a rectangular notch behind the sway braces.  Based on the build at Large Scale Planes that I linked to in a previous post, this is a vent that was not added until block 25, so I filled it in.




When displaying the flaps down, there are three main linkages and two smaller linkages.  Tamiya barely represents the two smaller linkages with a tiny tab.  I removed it and replicated these linkages with sheet styrene using reference photos.  If you’re positioning the flaps up, these two linkages are completely hidden.  






For the landing gear struts, I used copper and lead wire to represent the brake lines.  I also removed the vertical linkage located at the rear of the strut.  This linkage is molded into the strut itself on most, if not all, P-47 kits, including Tamiya's.  However, photos show this link spaced several inches from the strut (in 1:1 scale), so it really should be depicted as a separate part to look accurate.  I’ll make a new one later on and install it near the end of the build when I assemble the landing gear.



That’s it for now.  I’ve got everything masked up and I’ve already started spraying Mr. Surfacer to check for any rough areas that need to be addressed before paint.  Thanks for looking!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi guys, I’ve been procrastinating on posting an update, but now that I’ve completed painting, it’s time I post one.  After an initial coat of 1500 Mr. Surfacer Black, I initially sprayed a mottled coat of Mr. Color #7 brown under the olive drab areas and a coat of Mr. Color #307 light ghost gray under the neutral gray areas using my Uschi stencils.  Next, I layed down a thin coat of the base colors of Mr. Color #12 olive drab on top and Mr. Color #13 neutral gray on the bottom and allowed the mottling underneath to show through.  On the bottom, I also followed up with more freehand mottling with the light ghost gray.  For the top, I sprayed some freehand mottling with Mr. Color #43 wood brown, Mr. Color #518 olive drab (a darker OD that the Japanese use on their armor), and Mr. Color #310 brown.  The browns give a faded appearance to the olive drab.  I experimented with the mottling by lowering the air pressure on my compressor down to 2-3 psi, which is just enough air flow to cause the paint to spray in a spattered pattern.  This helps give a weathered and textured pattern to the mottling.  


I used my Silhouette cutter to cut masks for the insignia, numbers, and the “Ruthless Ruthie” name on the cowling.  In the past, I have used Oramask 810 since it’s readily available from Amazon, but most people seem to use Oramask 813.  Since the 810 material seems stiff and inflexible, I decided to try the 813 material.  It is much more flexible and easier to use, so that will be what I’ll use for now on.  Unfortunately, I did encounter some paint lifting when I removed the masks.  I’m still not sure what the cause was, since I’m careful to clean the surface before painting and I handle the model with gloves once paint prep is complete.  I can only assume that the very light spraying I did to achieve the mottled appearance did not allow the paint to properly adhere to the surface like a much wetter and heaver coat could.  In the future, I’ll try spraying a coat of leveling thinner over the paint to help it bond to the surface.  

The red on the cowling and prop spinner was a mix of 1 part Mr. Color #7 brown to 2 parts Mr. Color #114 RLM 23 Red.  This looked like a close match to photos of the plane I”m depicting.  Being that this is a WWII subject, I try not to go too far to match colors to references, since colors from a 75 year old photo posted to the web can only be so accurate.  The yellow of the ceckerboard is Mr. Color #109 character yellow.  I used the technique on the website below to mask the checkerboard pattern.  It’s a fair bit of work, but it’s easy to do and the result is much better than could be achieved with decals.  




On to the photos!




























Thanks for looking!


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