In-Box Review
P-47 Flat Keel and Ferry Tank
Early P-47 Flat Keel and Belly Tank
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by: Nigel Julian [ LAMPIE ]

The P-47C's and early P-47D's featured the flat keel, and until now this hasn't been available to modellers. Anyone wanting to model a P-47C or D-1, D-4 had to be prepared to undertake some serious sanding to reproduce the flat keel or,as happened in most cases, choose as their subject an aircraft that had been field fitted with the bulged keel.
Now, for the first time, a resin flat keel has been produced by Mike West of Lone Star Models.
Designed for the 1:48th Tamiya Razorback,this keel, combined with the Loon Models P-47C or early P-47D cowling gives the modeller the opportunity to accurately represent these early P-47s.
In addition to the flat keel, Mike has made available the 200 gallon ferry tank for the first time.
In early 1943 when the P-47 began flying combat missions in the ETO its major drawback when escorting the bombers of the 8th USAAF was its limited range.
Initially, only the 200 gallon ferry tanks were available for use. Unpressurised, which prevented fuel being drawn over 10'000 ft, the tanks were first used by the 4th FG on 28th July 1943. The 78thFG used them on the 30th July, and the the 56th FG had to wait until August 12th before using them in combat.
The latest Fighter Group to arrive in the ETO, the 353rd based at Metfield, flew their first mission using these belly tanks on August 17th.
By the beginning of September, the 4 fighter groups aircraft had been fitted with belly shackles and been modified to enable fuel to be drawn under pressure and they began using the 75 gallon tank initially intended for the P-39 and P-40. The 200 gallon tanks were redundant.
That short timeframe marks the first time the P-47 was able to extend its range and escort the bombers further than ever before. Later models with larger internal tanks and further drop tank development increased the P-47s range ever further.

The keel and the belly tank are available seperately or as a pair direct from Lone Star Models website.
Highs: An easy modification which combined with the Loon Models cowling should see some very interesting early P-47s on the show tables.
Lows: Inexperienced modellers may find the idea of cutting away a large section of a Tamiya Razorback un-nerving. Go slowly and test fit continually!
Verdict: Long awaited and these items have been on the P-47 fans wish list for a long time now.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  PUBLISHED: Mar 11, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Nigel Julian (lampie)

Restarted modelling in late 2005 after a break of over 20 years.Built a lot of armour as a teenager but now concentrating on WW2 aircraft. Some skills are coming straight back to me and Im learning new ones everytime I log on to this site it seems.

Copyright 2021 text by Nigel Julian [ LAMPIE ]. All rights reserved.


At this year's US IPMS Nationals, I had the opportunity to purchase a test shot of Mike West's latest P-47C upgrade, designed for the Tamiya 1/48th kit. It simply consists of replacement fuselage halves with the flat keep incorporated into the design. The fit is excellent as is the detailing. Tamiya parts readily fit onto the fuselage halves as intended. Mike also has produced a huge sheet of 1/48th scale flat-keel Thunderbolts from the 4th and 56th Fighter Groups, US 8th AF. A dizzying variety of choices from both groups, including several using he ferry tank he markets for the P-47. (I also bought on of these as well). He plans to have full production up to speed by the winter, so I plan on purchasing several more. I'll post built details when I begin this project.
OCT 30, 2016 - 08:10 PM

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