We left the review of the latest Frog kit until last as it is yet another Thunderbolt! Hasegawa, Lesney and Frog have all released models of this aircraft since Christmas and, although we bow to the inevitable popularity of this and the Spitfire, Hurricane and Mustang, it is a bit much for the enthusiast to stomach three similar models in such a short time.
On the other hand we will not let our review be influenced by the frequent appearance of the same type. Each manufacturer has his own way of moulding the aircraft and everyone has his own ideas of how much detail should be included.
Frog have chosen to produce the bubble-canopied version of the P-47D and it's a good, straight forward model with no gimmicks and no great difficulty in making up. There were certain oddities about some of the parts such as the bombs under the wings being moulded in one piece with the pylons and the sparseness of detail in the cockpit area after our having seen the Hasegawa Thunderbolt.
One other rather odd thing was discovered when the fuselage halves were being stuck together and that was the absence of locating stubs. Care is therefore necessary to get the fuselage parts to line up correctly and the best way to do this is to accurately fix both halves with selotape before applying liquid cement. The missing locating stubbs are a departure for Frog from their usual very accurate positioning of the components of a model and we hope that this has not started a trend. The enthusiast can overcome the problem through his experience but the younger modeller can run into difficulties and be disatisfied with his work.
Surface detail on the Frog Thunderbolt is good. The panel lines are finely scribed and all of the other parts with the exception of the fuselage fit well together. We did not like the main wheels very much as these seemed over simplified but there is little one can do about this apart from cross-kitting which can be expensive.
Although Frog may not have had an accurate idea of when their competitors' might be releasing their own models of the P-47 they have shown some originality in the decal sheet in not putting in the almost inevitable USAAF ones. As usual, two sets are included for the model, one being for an RAF Thunderbolt serving with No. 615 Sqdn. in south-east Asia in 1945 and the other, an unusual inclusion, of the Free French Air Force represented by GC III/3 'Ardennes' of about the same period. The latter has a full set of invasion stripes for the wings and fuselage and is painted in American OD green and grey. The recommended retail price is 45p and it's good value for money.
Aviation News Vol 3 Num 22 4 April - 17 April 1975
New to You?
Three Jugs Full!
ANOTHER P-47 kit to be unleashed-on an already 'Jug' saturated market is the new Frog/Rovex version and despite our unabashed amazement at the never ending surfeit of seemingly identical kit subjects, this latest Thunderbolt is a very commendable and distinguished effort indeed. Forget the crude cockpit shelf/seat, the thick undercarriage doors, a rather sparse engine, and crude tail wheel, for we have basically a 'Jug' that is at least accurate in outline when compared with Geoff Duval's scale drawings. (MAP Plan Pack 2793, 44p), and Scale Models August 1971.
Assembly is easy, but not helped by the lack of locating pipes and holes on the fuselage sides which may make positioning these parts a little trying for the inexperienced. The fuselage is a trifle disappointing in that the cowl is moulded integrally with the main halves and the gills merely represented by scored lines, as are the rear fuselage shutters. Some-
thing that the purist could work upon, no doubt.
Rivet detail is omitted, sensibly we feel, and only panel lines are left, but even these would benefit from a light sanding before painting. Various other areas could be improved, the wing guns and pitot head are best removed and replaced from thin sprue, and a general fining down of all the trailing edges is advised. The undercarriage must also be shortened to allow for the depression caused when the aircraft rests on its wheels. Check with photos.
The two 500 Ib. bombs supplied are a little on the crude side and replacements may have to be considered although a little judicious knife work would alleviate matters. Cockpit canopy is thick but still of good clarity and the slight bulged appearance when viewed from the front is almost, but not quite, achieved by Frog.
The 13 ft. 1 i in. dia. paddle blade Curtiss propeller is well-moulded although the extremities may need flattening slightly, in any case the raised lines near the tips should be removed. Despite all these little nitpicking 'faults', however, the raw material is here for a very fine model to result as long as the modeller realises the need to replace over-scale items we have mentioned.
If at least the choice of subject is not original the transfer sheet surely is, with markings for an aircraft of GL111/3 'Ardennes' Free French Air Force, complete with black/white bands, and only the blue of the French roundels (far too dark!) spoiling the set. The other covers No. 615 squadron SEAC RAF based at Vizgapatan, India 1945, the name, 'Honeysuckle Rose' is strangely on an ocean grey background, whether Frog intended this to make its removal easier from the white backing sheet is not clear, but it has to be matched when painting the model of course.
A rather fine kit this, although putting 1/72nd upmarket at 45p."
Model scales MAY 1975
New Frog kits
The Republic P-47D Thunderbolt has long been a favourite with kit manufacturers because of the certainty of quick and extensive sales. It doesn't matter if it is a 'bubble' or "razorback" Thunderbolt kit, it will sell. Frog has now added the 'bubble' version to its range, and it is a nice model. General shape is good and it captures the characteristic 'Jug' look. Surface detailing is delicate and the model fits together well. The engine cowling lip is rather sharp if not modified, but this can easily be sanded down to a more blunt entry I would have liked to have seen more detail around the engine, particularly the inner intake which is such a prominent feature. Cockpit detail is sparse. Underwing bombs and racks are provided, but the bomb shape is not very convincing and I prefer to use suitable bombs from another kit.
Two 'Jugs' are featured on the transfer sheet: one from the Free French Air Force (GC Ill/e 'Ardennes') during early 1945, and the other from 615 Squadron ('KW - the unit flying Gladiators during the Battle of France), South East Asia Command, RAF, based in India during 1945.
Apart from the few points of criticism this is one of the best Thunderbolt kits, and captures the character of this massive fighter.
AIRCRAFT ILLUSTRATED 1975-05
New kit Reviews
FROG P47D THUNDERBOLT BUBBLE HOOD VERSION
"If you want to get ahead get a T'bolt!" could well be the message circulating in the corridors of power of our kit manufacturers, for in recent months three new 'Jugs', have entered the modelling arena. Frog now have two versions in their range and the latest P47D Bubble Hood version to be enlisted by them ranks as one of the best yet. The overall outline is accurate but care is needed in assembly due to the absence of locating pins. If economy must stretch this far could we not do away with the stand or pilot?
Surface detail is fine but needs a touch with the old wet'n dry to make it convincing whilst the engine, wheel doors and cockpit interior present a playground for those who like to keep their hand in with a bit of scratch building.
Decals, which follow the now accepted standard set by Frog, are original in choice as they feature an aircraft of the Free French Air Force and a No. 615 Squadron SEAC aircraft.
This is a model that with a little careful work can be turned into a real show stopper, so let's all get building and turn the Nationals into a P47 benefit and convince those that matter that their slogan was right. Review sample by courtesy of Rovex.
The IPMS magazine, may/june 1975