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P-47 D “Big a*s Bird”

September 5, 2014 in Aviation

This is Academy’s rendition of Maj Howard Park’s P-47 D in quarter scale. Although not on par with the Hasegawa and Tamiya offerings, it is nonetheless an acceptable replacement that with the necessary TLC builds into a fine P-47 D. The decals are of the usual Academy standard ie. thin and well printed. Decals responded well to Model master’s decal setting solution. Academy did a stellar job on their whole P-47 range. Obviously there is room for improvement and those of us with big budgets and deep pockets would have a field day with all the aftermarket goodies that Aires and Eduard has brought to the table! I chose to scratchbuild the necessary improvements to the wheel well, ammo troughs and engine ignition harness. The bullets were very labour intensive since they were fashioned out stretched sprue and individually glued into the ammo troughs and painted to resemble bullets. The Eduard brass set looks awesome but I don’t like the look of flat bullets.
Big A*s Bird was flown by Maj. Howard Park from the 513FS, 406 FG. Park became famous for his exploits in Big A*s Bird due to him destroying a German Panther as well as sinking a German ship in Brest Harbour. Hopefully Tom Cleaver has got more info on this!!!!
The model was painted with Modelmaster Metalizers from their buffing and non-buffing. Weathering was courtesy of watercolour paint for the panel lines and Doc O’ Brien’s weathering powders for additional staining around the guns and cowl flaps.

17 additional images. Click to enlarge

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25 responses to P-47 D “Big a*s Bird”

  1. I’ve got that same one, Morne – although not nearly as expertly detailed as yours. Nice photos…you’re work really shows up nicely. Great build.

  2. One reason P-47s in the ETO between D-Day and VE-Day are so colorful was as a morale-builder in the units. The P-47 units took horrific losses in their role as fighter-bombers during the Allied campaign in northwestern Europe, almost on a level with the infantry. Stephen Ambrose pointed out in “Citizen Soldiers” that American infantry units suffered 100 percent casualties in WIA/KIA between 6 June 1944 and 7 May 1945. My friend Archie Maltbie of the 356th FG “Hell Hawks” flew his second mission on D-Day. By 5 May he was operations officer in his squadron. As he recalled “I was planning our next mission when the phone call came through that further operations were cancelled, that the war was over. I looked over at the mission board, and of the 48 men I had flown with on D-Day, there were three of us left. Ten of them had made it through their tour and gone home, the rest were dead or POWs.”

    • Thanks Tom for the moving tribute to very brave men indeed. Such losses were also incurred by Luftwaffe units which proves again how savage the fighting was on all fronts during WW II. I must say that many people forget the psychological scars that those brave airmen that survived the war, on both sides, had to endure. I once read about a Luftwaffe pilot that escorted a B-17 crew and their badly shot-up aircraft over the English Channel. That story to me is a true testament to humanity in a time when airmen lived by the rule of kill or be killed. I believe that long after the war the Luftwaffe pilot and B-17 pilot lived in the same area in the US without knowing it! Maybe Tom can shed more light on that incident.

  3. Difficult to look at the model and not have in mind Tom’s poignant comments, but a nice build nonetheless.

  4. Another great one, Morne. The quality of your kits are impressive. I had to
    read to the text more than twice, ammunition made from stretched sprues !
    The story behind it is very moving ! Those losses on all sides can t be
    imagined for most today !
    Got a P-47 from Academy in my stash too, while doing props in 1/48 for most of the time, i made sure, that all favorites ones are here.
    Mine will be in the colors of Lt. Col. Gabreski, the famous HV – A.
    The decals are from Techmod and look real good, still i am searching
    for some infos about the plane, like the color from the underside, invasion stripe on the upper wings……
    Again, well done, may you have another one for my breakfast 😉

    • The stretched sprue bullets are easy. Lots of patience is required. Take a piece of stretched sprue. Measure the size of the bullets required and cut equal lengths with a scalpel blade. Stick the bullets onto a piece of Tamiya masking tape next to each other. Use thin Tamiya cement and lightly apply a few coats over your string of bullets. Leave overnight to dry. Remove tape and lightly sand the points with a file to simulate sharp points of bullets. Paint with gold and copper colours.

  5. Well done Morne. When you were making your bullets did you get to the “What have I got myself into” mode?

  6. Great Modeling Morne. Your attention to detail really makes some serious aircraft eye candy.
    California Steve

  7. Outstanding Thunderbolt Morne, I’d have gone cross-eyed cutting all that sprue.. 😉

  8. Another excellent build, Morne, like the others have said, your attention to detail is superb.

    • Thanks George. I love adding extra detail to my models. It helps getting the model that more closer to the real thing. Weathering, scratchbuilding, adding aftermarket bits and pieces all adds up to a realistic looking model. It helps to recreate a piece of history.

  9. Great T bolt Morne. I’m nearly finished my Hobbyboss 1/48 so this will help inspire me to get the job finished 🙂

    • Thanks Gregpr!!! I can’t wait to see your T bolt. Surely the Hobbyboss kit is more detailed than the Academy version.

      • The Hobbyboss P-47 is pretty basic, and having built the Academy P-47N I can say it isn’t as detailed. Its a simplified kit along the lines of their 1/72 series, which are pretty good in outline but have fewer parts. Still I got it knowing this as it was going to be a quick build project. I’ll post it up next week probably.

  10. Looks great Morne,they are big old birds.
    I have one on the shelf of doom at the moment but it`s going to get finished soon.
    It was the Academy version with the Gabreski Decals.
    I found the fit of the wings to fuselage bad and the tail planes abysmal, probably why it ended up on the doom shelf.

  11. Morane,
    Another fine example of your modeling skill.

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