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1:32 Dottie Mae (P-47D Thunderbolt) Limited Edition Eduard 'EduArt release' Catalogue # 11103 Available from Eduard and other good hobby retailers The P-47 Thunderbolt, designed by Russian expatriate Alexander Kartweli of Republic Aviation, and first flown in 1941 was quite an oddity among the sleek, lightweight fighters now possessed by both the Allied and Axis forces at that time. The ‘Jug’ as it became known, was the heaviest and largest single-engine fighter of its day, and with that came a price tag to match. Powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 ‘Double Wasp’ engine, rated at 2000BHP, any disadvantages borne from the P-47’s physical attributes were overcome in order to make the P-47 Thunderbolt the most numerous fighter built in American history. After some initial technical difficulties and compromises, the ‘Jug’ was eventually fitted with a universal wing, allowing it to carry external fuel stores and bombs simultaneously. The high backed ‘razor’ spine of the earlier machines was also cut down to produce a fuselage allowing a bubble-canopy, giving the pilots a much better field of view. To counter resulting stability problems with the modified fuselage, a dorsal fin was added, fore of the vertical tail-plane. Carrying a powerful battery of eight Browning .50 calibre MG’s, the Jug could also carry those bombs and rockets, making it a deadly adversary late in WW2, when they roamed free, at low level, over occupied territory, destroying ground based targets. Serving with distinction both in European and Pacific theatres of war, the Thunderbolt served with the US until the late 1940’s. Other countries to use the type included the Soviet Union, United Kingdom, France, Republic of China, with the Peruvian Air Force using the type, up until its ultimate retirement from service in 1966. Whilst I haven’t built much Hasegawa over the last 10 years, there have been a couple of releases that I either missed, or had them and subsequently gave them away in a moment of weakness. One of these was the P-47D in its ‘Tarheel Hal’ incarnation, and I’ve regretted it ever since. When it leaked out that Eduard would release this as a limited edition, complete with their own resin and photo-etch, then I knew I had to take a look at this one again. I’ve long been a fan of Romain Hugault’s gorgeous aviation artwork, so for Eduard to ask him to collaborate on this release was a stroke of genius. If you’ve never seen Romain’s work before, check it out on his FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/romainhugault . To cap it off, a poster of the box art is supplied in the kit, carefully rolled up. The original kit was released in 2007 (08077) and has now seen four more subsequent releases (08174, 08187, 08202 and 08218 ) prior to this one. Packaged into a sumptuous, but slightly oversize box with Romain’s quite sexy Dottie Mae painting adorning the box, this kit comprises TWENTY sprues of light grey plastic, ONE clear sprue and THREE flexible sprues of polythene caps. FOUR of the smaller grey plastic sprues aren’t actually used for this release, comprising alternate props and undercarriage bay sections for the wing. A number of these sprues are fairly small and it’s common to see a number of them lined together on the same runner. A small number of other parts won’t be required for this release, with additional parts being supplied in both resin and photo-etch. Eduard purchases the sprues directly from Japan, and as a result, they are packaged all together in one single bag. I do find this a little frustrating with such a high value kit, but Eduard aren’t entirely to blame for that. The polycaps are packed into another, small packet. Thankfully, this kit exhibits no damage from being packaged this way. The outward appearance of this kit is very typical of Hasegawa releases in both style and execution, the exterior being devoid of rivets, with the exception of a small number of beautifully reproduced slotted fasteners where appropriate. Panel lines, access ports and other engraved details are of the highest standard in being crisp, even and of scale appearance. The control surfaces of this kit are moulded in situ meaning you will need to do a little surgery if you want to pose them dynamically. Their representation is very good, with them actually appearing to be separate despite the integral moulding. Rivet detail, where applicable in these areas, is recessed and very subtle. The cockpit is very well appointed, straight out of box, but this is an area of course where Eduard intervenes with their photo-etch expertise. This area is constructed as a module, complete with excellent side wall detail, suitably detailed instrument panel with raised instrument detail, rudder pedal assembly and other equipment. Of course, this doesn’t mean that things can’t be improved upon, and Eduard’s colour-printed PE parts come to the fore here, helping elevate the detail stakes further. Some kit parts are augmented further with colour PE, such as the throttle quadrant. Whilst the kit seat has no belts, Eduard has fixed this by not only the inclusion of a set of colour photo-etch belts, but also with the addition of a much more refined PE seat itself. Full colour reference is also provided for the cockpit, helping you with the painting stage. It goes without saying that there will be a certain amount of surgery needed to fit Eduard’s parts, including some destruction for things like the instrument panel. Here, all raised detail needs to be removed before the multi-layer colour PE instrument panel is fitted. This cockpit module fits into an innovative wing spar which both helps place the cockpit at the right altitude and position, and also gives the wings themselves a positive location with the correct dihedral and rigidity needed for a kit of this size. The design here is excellent. An insert fitting between the two fuselage halves is also included, complete with polycaps so that you may pug/un-plug the centre-line fuel tank. Should you wish to fit him, a pilot is also included, and this looks pretty reasonable, although it seems a shame to obscure much of the multimedia cockpit that is included. The Pratt & Whitney engine is moulded with the two rows of cylinders being separate parts. Each bank of cylinders is a single part too, with no unsightly seams needing to be exorcised around the circumference. A push rod ring and a small number of other parts complete this assembly. Eduard has included a PE ignition harness here. These are always a little tricky to fit, but when they are, brushing the PE with a little dilute white glue helps to make things look a little less flat. The supercharger fits to the engine bulkhead, and a four-piece cowl cover engine with a forward ring helping the alignment of the cowl parts. The radiator flap ring is supplied in both open and closed options. Four prop sets are included here, with two options being used for the three schemes included. The undercarriage is well presented with separate brake lines and excellent definition. No need to use the two-part, un-weighted plastic wheels either, and to remove the seams, thanks to the resin parts that come as standard in this new release. The undercarriage main bays are excellent, with crisp detail and some ancillary equipment in there. The outer, rear part of the well shape from the wing is separate, with their being two different types within the kit, despite only one of them being for this specific release. Inner undercarriage doors are also cleverly designed. These were quite chunky on the P-47, and Hasegawa have made these out of an inner and outer part so that no pin marks can be seen. Again, Eduard has included further PE detail to add to these, for further enhancement. Landing flaps can be modelled in either a raised or lowered position, with the hinges being individual parts and quite detailed and the placing of them being rigid and positive. More PE is used here for hinge plate detail, and to cover the flap ends which are moulded without any detail. Under-wing pylons are included so you may mount bombs or fuel tanks, and the latter are plugged onto these pylons by means of more polycaps. Check out the next review further down, for a Brassin alternative to the rocket launchers. External stores include an optional centreline drop tank, two wing mounted drop tanks and two bombs. All grey plastic parts are exceptionally moulded with no flash, poor seams or issues with ejector pin marks. The clear sprue holds two canopies. One of these is a single piece, closed option, while the two separate parts are for the open option. Landing and formation lights and gun-sight reflectors. Moulding is excellent with the parts being beautifully clear and well defined. Photo-etch parts Two frets are included here, with one of these being printed in colour. A number of parts here are for enhancing the cockpit, with a new seat, instrument panel, console detail, seatbelts rear canopy rail etc. whilst others are for the engine, wheel wells, and numerous small exterior details. As is typical of Eduard’s PE sets, these are beautifully made and the colour inking is very nice. Resin parts If you were expecting a wealth of resin in this release, then you might be disappointed. The only resin parts there are here are for the wheels. The main wheels have a separate outer hub, giving real depth to the inner details moulded on the main wheel. These parts, apart from replacing the crappy Hasegawa parts, are for me, a very nice addition to this kit. Tread detail is excellent, and thankfully, there is little clean-up to perform once you remove them from the casting block. Casting is also perfect, with no flaws. Masks A single, small sheet of kabuki masking is included, with parts for the canopy and the wheels. Simple, but a real time saver! As always, sharply cut. Eduard’s instruction manual is a 12 page A4 production with black and white drawings that have a little colour included to highlight where surgery is required, or where a resin/PE part is to be placed. All drawings are extremely clear and easy to follow, with good part notation and a sprue plan showing parts NOT to be used as shaded out portions. Paint codes are given for GSO Creos Aqueous paint, and Mr Color. The latter pages include full colour profiles for three schemes. These are: P-47D-28-RA, Lt. Larry A. Kuhl, 511th FS, 405th FG, 9th AF, Saint Dizier, December 1944 P-47D-26-RA, Lt. James R. Hopkins, 509th FS, 405th FG, 9th AF, Ophoven, Belgium, March 1945 P-47D-28-RA, Lt. Francis Norr, 510th FS, 405th FG, 9th AF, Saint Dizier, France, January 1945 A single sheet of decals is included for all three schemes. Printed by Cartograf, these are nice and thin, and printed in both solid and authentic colour with minimal carrier film. The decals also include a variety of stencils as well as several for the cockpit. Printing is in perfect register. Conclusion For Eduard, this was an inspired choice of collaborative release. In 1:32, this is simply the best, most accurate and P-47D kit that money can buy, and if you’ve never had the pleasure of seeing a Thunderbolt kit, then the size of this beast will surprise you. All of the Hasegawa P-47D releases are excellent, and Eduard’s new incarnation is no exception. Three great colour scheme on a fantastic kit, some lovely resin and PE parts and a Romain Hugault poster to adorn the man cave wall. Get this one whilst you can. I believe they are selling like the proverbial hot cakes at the moment! Highly recommended. My sincere thanks to Eduard for the review kit seen here. To buy this directly from Eduard, click THIS link.