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Bob Torres
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Otaki 1/48 P-47D Thunderbolt

May 24, 2021 · in Aviation · · 16 · 2.3K

This is my 1/48 P-47D that I built in 1986. This is a bit of a kit bash using Monogram's P-47D cowling and engine and Hawk's P-47D Curtiss Electric Propeller. Some details were added into the cockpit area, fuel pressure lines and a drop tank deflector bar. Navigation lights and lens were also added. I do not remember if the drop tanks were from the Otaki kit or Monogram's.
If you take a good look at my club's framed membership card you will see Robert S. Johnson signature. I cannot remember which IPMS convection or plastic kit model show Mr. Johnson signed my card, it could have been Rochester NY in 1990 but I am not sure. Ron Nickel (founder and ran our club during the first 20 years of its existence) hooked up with Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson saw my model in the card which represented his final aircraft that he flew before returning back to the states and got a pretty good kick out of it. He was kind enough to sign the card and talked for a while.
As you can see age is catching up to this build, the decal on the left wing are cracking and on the fuselage becoming a bit tarnish looking.
I used Hawk's Curtiss Electric prop from its P-47D kit because it was the correct shape for the blades. I wanted this one because it was the paddle bladed propeller that Robert Johnson allowed his maintenance crew to replace the original skinny shorter blades. He said it added about 1000 feet per minute on its climb rate. Plus they also tweaked the turbo charger and started using 150 octane fuel.

I really enjoyed this build, the upgrades were easy and with the recessed lines, it looked great! I liked it a lot more than the Monogram 's. It wasn't until 2002 Tamiya's release of their P-47 kits to become the better P-47 in 1/48 scale. Still I feel this Otaki kit can be made into a very nice looking Thunderbolt.

Reader reactions:
9  Awesome

8 additional images. Click to enlarge.

16 responses

  1. Nice Jug, my friend @v1pro!
    Love the signed cub card!

  2. Beautiful build, Bob.
    Very special to have met the pilot who flew the plane you built.

  3. Once again classic kit plus modelling skill results in a great build.

  4. Great result & approach with the Otaki kit. Great job on making sure the .50 cal's were staggered at an angle. Liked!

  5. Nice looking T-Bolt, Bob!
    Amazing that you got to meet the fighter Ace of the model you built, and you got his signature!

  6. Another nice build Bob - and cool to meet Johnson.

  7. I never knew Robert S. Johnson flew that particular airplane . I thought it had an odd name. You did a fine job on that oldie. Nice up grades.

    • Jay, thank you. Looks like he had 5 different aircrafts, I took this from Wikipedia...

      P-47C-2-RE Half-Pint HV : P a/c serial 41-6235 (damaged on June 26, 1943, repaired, sent to 9th AF[7]), one victory

      P-47D-5-RE Lucky HV : P a/c serial 42-8461 (crashed March 22, 1944, in bad weather while being flown by another pilot), 21 victories

      P-47D-15-RE All Hell HV : P a/c serial 42-76234, 3 victories

      P-47D-21-RA Penrod and Sam LM : Q a/c serial 42-25512, 2 victories. This plane was named after Booth Tarkington's boys' novel of the same name, matching Johnson's crew chief's surname (Penrod) and his own middle name (Samuel).

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