ACE 1/72 P-47D Thunderbolt
A few months ago, I was thinking I wanted to build my first t-bolt, and knew I had 3 in the stash – a Tamiya D, a Revell razorback, and one other kit I couldn’t remember. My eye landed on this one – an old ACE kit, so I took it out of the closet and opened the box. Looking at the box, I thought it would be a razorback, but not so! I almost threw it away when I looked at the canopy and tried to test fit – it sat on top with huge gaps and looked like a toy! With nothing to lose I got out my sanding sticks and attempted to see if I could improve the shape enough to sit properly on the fuselage without destroying it altogether. Needless to say, I got it “good enough,” and since I wanted to try some new techniques on it for NMF finish, decided to use it as an experiment for that no matter what.
It was an interesting offering. As you can see from the pic of the landing gear door, it took a lot of effort to hide the horrible fit, as it obviously wasn’t made to be built wheels up. Lots of putty and styrene to close things up. Same with the way the top and bottom sections of the wing joined. However, it did have recessed panel lines, allowing for a panel wash – not usually the case with old 1/72 kits.
I used MM metalizer in spray cans in two shades to get the base finish. I had intended to try out a new panel wash as I wasn’t satisfied with the one I had been using for a couple of years. Whew – big mistake! It was an acrylic game wash, but not water based. I hadn’t sealed the metalizer thinking I’d just wipe the excess wash off with damp cloth, but had to use alcohol. Totally took the original wash off, and did some really funky things to the metal finish, which in the end, I decided actually helped disrupt the NMF look. Because of this, I ended up NOT attempting the technique I had read about recently to dirty up the NMF!
Once I cleaned up that mess, I went back to my water based wash and got a good enough result.
I did try some wiring of the engine to add some detail, but won’t do that again for an engine unless it’s more exposed, as you can’t see any of that effort! The only other detailing I did was to drill out the gun barrels, add some sway braces to the pylons to try to make it more realistic, and scratch built the deck details behind the pilot, which include the pilot armor and what I suppose is the canopy sliding mechanism, from what I could see on reference photos. I also added the pitot tube on the wing from the spares box (wasn’t included in the kit) and replaced the ariel (it was broken off in the box, but was really square anyway).
Glare panel was MM faded olive, and I used my own mix of “scale black” for all of the black. Used rattle can to lay down the white, then hand painted the black stripes. Further weathering was done with pastel powders and Tamiya weathering oil pastels, and some Tensocrom for the oil stains on the bottom. Also a few highlights from a sliver pencil on the read deck details, seat and inside canopy rim, etc. Chipping with drybrushed MM aluminum and silver pencil.
Decals were from an old Superscale sheet.
All in all, I’m please to have it in my collection! It turned out well enough that it makes me nervous now about tackling the Tamiya kit and goofing it up!
17 additional images. Click to enlarge.