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.
Great story, great pics and and another great build!
Thanks Craig !
If you're interested,the museum was located just south of the current "Sunshine Mall" on Ridgewood Ave. in South Daytona, and just north of the John Deere dealership. The museum was on the opposite "East" side of Ridgewood though, where these businesses are on the "West" side of the street.
It's now long gone. The museum building itself was torn down sometime in the late 1980's / early 1990's. The concrete pads where the P-47 and the missile sat for years are still there however.
I agree with Craig I love the period pictures and your build is great , my version of this aircraft is minus the "21" decals on the wheel covers and has the later chevrons on the tail surfaces.
Thanks Neil. Your P-47 articles are what inspired me to post mine up here on Imodeler. I didn't want to attempt the chevron decals back then, and opted to build it as the earlier version with the simplified tail markings. Thanks for the compliments my friend.
Nice build and nice story,. with all these Jugs flying around I might have add one to my stash..
Thanks Bob. I say go for it... One can never have too many kits in the stash... I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the story.
Now I'm considering getting another one of these. But in the meantime I have some Tamiya T-bolt kits just screaming to be built up. Hopefully soon.
Nice Louis. i built this just after it's release using the box art decals. The only problem i had with mine was one of the landing gear struts was out of whack
Thanks George. I really don't remember any major problems from building this one, but then again it was a long time ago. I'm sure if something went horribly wrong during the build I would have remembered it. I do remember the kit instructions were very well written and the side line actual Thunderbolt detail photos were spot on. I'll bet your T-bolt looks great !
Hello Louis...That's a very colorful Thunderbolt quite nicely done. Good story too about your childhood memories.
Thanks Jim. I appreciate the compliments. I have many more memories of Harry Doan's various F4U Corsairs, but we have talked about those... It's great to hear from you buddy. Please keep in touch.
A T-Bolt is a good way to get back into the hobby, so was a good choice - a nice a big canvas to get the skills back up to speed! Even as a "novice" effort it turned out really nice.
Thanks Greg. You're correct about the size of the canvas. The real plane is not a tiny one ... Thanks for the kind words my friend.
Obviously not a complaint, the model looks very nice, however, AFAIK, the 318th FG had P-47N-1s, which did not have rocket rails. an easy mistake to make 20 years ago, so no foul here, but anyone inspired by this very nice model may want to know that for their build.
You brought up a great point Tom, about the early dash -1 T-bolt used by the 318th, and the fact that we have really come a long way in our hobby over the past 20 years. We live in the age of technology where information is only a mouse click away, where years ago we had to rely on magazines, libraries, books and if you were extremely lucky, comments from veterans who were there. Thanks for the compliments, but here’s a photo I recently found that shows the 318th DID indeed fly later model P-47N models WITH rocket rails, besides the early "dash 1" version that didn't have them.
So it looks like we both just learned something here …………..
A great read and an inspiring build:) Now you gave me much needed inspiration for finishing the P47 I've got in my stash.
Thanks for the compliments Johan. I am happy to hear that this article was an inspiration for you to finish your P-47. Thanks for liking the article as well.
Louis, another excellent model. Interesting story. I too remember a lot of relicts displayed at museums and parks when I was growing up, that I'm sure have shaped my inspiration today. Good stuff.
The model is OK, but no where near how it would look if I were to build it today. But back then I had a good time building it and learned some things about bare metal finishes along the way.
I'm sure that all of these museum relics helped to shape a lot of our young imaginations back then... which in turn have inspired us and made us part of who we are today.
Thanks again my friend for the kind words.
Having gutted my way through the same kit, I'll say that you did a damned fine job with it. It's still more accurate than the Academy P-47N, and it's a bruiser of a plane once finished.
Keep the faith!
I enjoyed building this one. From what I can remember about it, I don't recall any major difficulty with it. I have never seen the Academy P-47N. Thanks for the compliments and for "liking" the article as well.
I appreciate this my friend.
I just went over and checked out your N model P-47... What a beauty ! You really knocked it out of the park with that one.
Yes I keep the faith too... 🙂 Thanks