Revell 1/72 P-47M
This is Revell’s P-47M in 1/72, a kit which has strong and weak points. It is a bit of a mixed bag: some of the molding is great, with fine details (wings, most of the fuselage, landing gear and wheels), and there are parts that look like they were cast by ICM on a bad day – specially the cowling, which has open cooling gills that demand A LOT of clean up, as well as the prop hub. The white plastic is very soft and actually looks like the ICM plastic I remember from their 1/48 Spitfires.
This boxing offers two versions from the same outfit, with a similar color scheme – which my research (i.e., browsing in online forums and picture galleries) reveals is a bit controversial. Basically, no one is sure about the exact colors used in the field (royal/insginia blue for the dark tone and PRU for the light? Azure? A makeshift mixture? No one knows). I used Revell 56 (enamel) for the dark tone and mixed some satin white for the lighter colour – directly into the airbrush cup, which is always a BAD IDEA if you need to retouch the paintwork later on (which – OBVIOUSLY – I did). The underside and leading edges of the wings and horizontal stabs are left in natural metal. Here I used a different method, which I learned in a very interesting article read a long time ago: instead of shooting Testor Buffing Metalizer through an airbrush, you can brush paint it (and while you do it, you polish the paint at the same time). I couldn’t find the article, which had a very detailed chemist’s point of view of how the method worked, but you basically “dry-brush” large surfaces, loading a little paint at a time, and really “brushing” the model. This brings out the bufflable qualities of the paint as you cover the areas of the model. You need some dedicated paintbrushes for this kind of job and the best part is you don’t have to clean them after each session – the buildup of pigment is, for some reason, beneficial. Anyway, try it on some scrap plastic first – I like it because even though I have a paint booth and a respirator, I avoid shooting enamels and lacquers (my workbench is located in my bedroom, which is kind enough of the Mrs.) if I can. The paintjob was enveloped by clear floor polish (amazingly, NOT Future/Pledge, but the brazilian equivalent, which looks milky, not tansparent, and has a consistency that makes it ready to airbrush), followed by decals, more floor polish, a light panel line wash with artist’s oils (mars black thinned with turpentine), flat varnish and a bit of panel fading with Tamiya Wooden Deck Tan (XF-78) diluted in a lot of alcohol (actually, more like tinted alcohol then thinned paint).
That being said, despite some flash in awkward areas and one or two defective panel lines, I liked the kit – at a fraction of the cost of the Tamiya offering, it can build into a D version if you like (and ignore the different looking crankcase or replace it). And even though 1/48 is my thing, I’m quickly running out of display space – so I’ve been buying and building some 1/72 kits and finding it actually quite enjoyable: they’re cheaper, quicker, demand less paint and you can build a lot more of them, which is always good. The hard part is replicating some paint effects – like panel shading – in a smaller model and still make it look good. I definitely have not mastered it yet, but I’m getting there!
7 additional images. Click to enlarge.