1/48 Pro Modeler P-47N “Too Big – Too Heavy, Short Snorter” 333rd FS / 318st FG, Ie Shima
Having been inspired by Neil Foster’s recent P-47 build (which is excellent), and as a follow up on my last two P-47 postings, as promised, here’s my rendition of the “Pro Modeler” kit.
I built this kit when it was first released way back in 1997 ! This is the original Pro Modeler kit release as shown below with this box top art work.
This P-47N model was built shortly after I re entered the hobby, after a very long time of not building anything for over 15 years.
Because of this, (and my lack of finesse back then), you will see that I didn’t really worry too much with the fit (or know about how to take care of gaps or filling in blemishes). This Thunderbolt was however a major step in my ever present learning curve.
So please excuse it’s less than pristine appearance.
This P-47 model was my very first attempt at a Natural Metal finish. I used Model Master “Metalizers” exclusively for the various shades of metal. After spraying and buffing the paint to a high degree of shine, I made the mistake of spraying on the recommended clear. This reduced the brilliance considerably… live and learn.
This particular P-47N Thunderbolt shown in these photos below, was flown into the Daytona Beach airport back in January of 1955. The persons in this picture were part of the “Museum of Speed” welcoming committee. The plane was to be displayed at the local museum after it was delivered by the Air National Guard.
These photos were posted online by the pilot who actually flew the plane to Daytona Beach, who was eventually a Lt. Col. in the Puerto Rico Air National Guard. His name was Ralph Delgado and these original era photos were his. I am pretty sure this photo was taken right after the last flight was made by the Thunderbolt. The pilot received permission from the control tower at Daytona, and then buzzed the field, delighting the spectators ! The pilot later stated that the plane was in “very good condition” when delivered. I’d have to agree after looking at these photos.
What a way to make an entry…
For many years this N model Thunderbolt sat parked outside the museum, called “The Museum of Speed”, shown in this photo below.
Parked along with the P-47 was a winged missile on it’s launch trailer. The missile was very similar to this one below, which is a Martin Marietta MGM-13 “Mace”.
The museum was located right on US-1, which was the major highway for tourism going through the area before Interstate 95 was completed.
I have a personal closeness with the P-47, especially the later versions. The Thunderbolt is right up there in my top three planes…next to the F4U Corsair and P-40.
One of my earliest childhood memories is a connection with this particular P-47… and thanks to the internet, I was able to locate some photos of the actual plane that I would occasionally play in as a child.
My Dad would take me by the museum to see “My” P-47 on occasion. He would pick me up, place me on the wing of the Thunderbolt. Dad would climb up on the wing to join me, and he would then open the canopy. Next my Dad would sit me in the pilot’s seat, and I would play with the joystick, and watch in amazement as the ailerons moved. I spent a lot of time playing like this in the Thunderbolt…
Of course back then I didn’t have a clue as to what kind of plane this was, or the historical significance of the plane. But I did know it was a PLANE, it was BIG, and I thought it was COOL ! Ahhhhhhhh childhood memories… It wasn’t until many years later after I asked my Dad, that I found out what type of plane it was that I would occasionally play in.
The museum was in South Daytona and had various exhibits inside including Malcom Campbell’s “Blue Bird” which set several land top speed records right here on the beach…
This poor quality picture below shows how the Thunderbolt sat outside for many years. This is how I remember seeing it parked outside.
Sometime during the later 1960’s, the plane disappeared. I don’t know what happened to it. I honestly don’t know the fate of this Thunderbolt. I wish I did.
The “Museum of Speed” closed it’s doors in the 1970’s. The missile that was parked outside along with “My” Thunderbolt, ended up parked on it’s trailer in front of a college frat house on US-1 / Ridgewood Avenue in Daytona Beach, then later it too disappeared. The last time I saw the missile, it was sitting in a local automotive scrap yard…
Enjoy, and as usual, comments are encouraged.
27 additional images. Click to enlarge.