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Eagles of Duxford

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Hi, these are my latest 2 builds. I thought it about time that I got around to building one of my all time favourite aircraft, the P-47D Thunderbolt. Of particular interest is ‘No Guts No Glory’ flown by Col. Ben Mayo of the 78th Fighter Group based at Duxford. For many years a P-47 flew in these very markings on the UK airshow circuit and it was this that made me determined to, eventually, commit this to plastic. Well that determination only took 20 years to come to fruition but I got there in the end.

I started off with both a Hasegawa and a Tamiya 1/48th kit, with the intention of building them both up and deciding somewhere along the way which one would become ‘No Guts No Glory’. The other would then get built as something, at that time, undecided.

The Tamiya kit had very little in the way of extras added to it, simply a few Eduard Photo-etch cockpit parts a Quickboost engine and some Ultracast wheels. The Hasegawa had a little bit more: -

• Aires P-47D Cockpit set

• Quickboost Engine

• Eduard Phot-etch set

• Ultracast Wheels and Hamilton Standard Propeller.

Both kits build up without too many hurdles to overcome and end up looking pretty good representations of the ‘Jug’. Quite early on I decided that the Tamiya kit would become my homage to this aircraft and it was this one that I focused on first. Once assembled and masked up ready for paint, it was given a coat of Alclad Grey Primer/Filler and sanded with 2000 grit paper in order to give a smooth finish for the top coats. Initially it was given 3 light coats of Alclad 2 Aluminium followed by random panels picked out in darker shades. It was then left for a few days before masking up for the recognition stripes. These were sprayed with Humbrol enamels as was the Olive Drab anti glare panel. Satisfied with the results I then gave it 3 coats of Future / Klear before decaling. Aeromaster decals were used exclusively for the markings and, for the most part, behaved well. The nose checks being the only area of difficulty and requiring 3 days of patient application with lots of MicroSol used to bed them down. One more coat of Future / Klear followed before a thin coat of Tamiya smoke was sprayed along all of the panel lines and a weathering coat of Pro-modeller Dark Dirt to finish. The model was then completed by adding all of the guns, aerials, undercarriage etc and then sealed off with 2 coats of Xtracrylix Matt. Removing the canopy masking left me looking at one of my most memorable builds, I absolutely love how it turned out. The obligatory photoshoot followed and, once safely in the display cabinet, then followed the decision of what to do with the Hasegawa kit.

Having built one 78th aircraft, I really fancied another but didn’t want to do another natural metal one. I settled on a later scheme for MX-E. The colours for this era are still under much debate, the common opinion being that British Medium Green over Sky would have been used. I went against that opinion and chose the standard Olive Green over Neutral Grey, purely because the RAF colours look so wrong on this aircraft.

I added a few photo-etch parts to this build including, the various ducts and vents on the fuselage as well the canopy slide framework. This is an intricate assembly of 10 parts that, although a true exercise in patience, adds so much to a highly visible area of the kit. Once built, an undercoat of grey was applied and then all further painting completed using Humbrol Acrylic paints, using various techniques for pre-shading and post shading. I didn’t want to do a really dirty aircraft so kept it all pretty calm. Decaling followed the standard 3 coats of Future / Klear which were then all sealed up with a further coat. Aeromaster decals were again used for the most part, the exception being the nose checks. After messing up one set of Aeromaster ones, I tried to use another set intended for the Monogram kit. These looked awful around the front so off they came. After debating painting it, I had one last attempt using the Tamiya kit checks which, surprisingly, came out pretty good. A bit of trimming and careful massaging with a wet finger, follwed by lots of MicroSol, got them to settle down well. Weathering was again accomplished with Pro-modeller Dark Dirt. The final assembly complete, Xtracrylix was again used to finish the build.

These were the first P-47’s that I can ever remember building having been kit building for a long time. I have no idea why it took me so long to do that but I know that it won’t be as long until the next 2 reach my modelling desk. There are 2 razorbacks already on the horizon and the 78th will play a part in at least one of them.

I hope that you enjoy these pictures of the 2 builds and share my respect for every pilot that ever had the courage to take to the skies in one of these during wartime. Mine was the easy bit, I just built a little bit of history and tip my cap to their memory.

Peter Wilkinson
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About the Author

About Peter Wilkinson (PeterWilky)
FROM: ENGLAND - EAST ANGLIA, UNITED KINGDOM

Another born again modeller, back after a 20 year abstinance. I mainly build 1/48th scale military Aircraft from all era's.


Comments

(That's me being rendered speechless, which doesn't happen often !!) What a magnificent pair of 'Bolts Peter, absolutely awesome work !! And superb photography as well. Cheers, D
SEP 29, 2010 - 08:51 AM
Really nice work there Peter, and you've shut Damian up for a while too, Outstanding!! Andy
SEP 29, 2010 - 08:58 AM
SEP 29, 2010 - 06:08 PM
super builds Peter !
OCT 13, 2010 - 05:16 AM
If I may add a historical note on the scene depicted. MX-E crashed on March 2, 1944 while on takeoff. The pilot Charles W. DeWitt was not injured but the aircraft was not salvageable. The replacment also was painted with the designation MX-E and apparently II is small letters somewhere on the fuselage. The crash was a test flight after the previous flight on the 20th as escort. Poor Wx turned the 17's around. Wonderful display. hueytaxi229@msn.com
JAN 12, 2013 - 09:22 PM
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