Academy P-47 D, 1/48, 1st Brazilian Fighter Squadron
This is Academy's P-47 D in 1/48, a well known kit which was superseded by the Tamiya offering. It is not a bad kit, but can use some improvements. Ultracast resin wheels, seat (with molded harness) and propeller were used. The kit only provides the Curtiss prop, which is incorrect for this particular airframe. The dorsal fin was field applied to some brazilian Thunderbolts, such as this one, so I scratchbuild it, as this kit doesn't provide that part. Took quite a while forming it with putty around a piece of an old credit card. Other refinements were simple enough: opening the vents under the cowling, a bit of wiring added to the engine, detailing the bombs, drilling the barrels of the machine guns and so on.
This aircraft was flown by Lt. Rui Moreira Lima through 94 missions during the italian campaign in the Po Valley region. The silver canopy, by the way, was a replacement: the aircraft was hit during a mission and Lt. Moreira Lima got ready to bail out, but gave up and decided to try and land on a RAF field marked on his map.
He managed to do so, and as soon as his P-47 came to a halt after the belly landing, he was approached by an RAF officer, and, according to the man's uniform, Lima greeted him in english. The RAF officer answered him in portuguese, asking about the women of Rio de Janeiro, and Lt. Lima was baffled. Turns out the RAF man was born to english parents in Brazil and joined the Royal Air Force when hostilities began. Not only that: he was born in Curitiba, southern Brazil, where I live. His uniform is currently exhibited on the Brazilian Expeditionary Force museum located here, and his name is Frederick C. Tate. One of those amazing war stories...
The Brazilian Fighter Squadron was attached to the 350th Fighter Group, and distinguished itself in battlefield interdiction and ground support roles. It is one of the few foreign units to receive the Presidential Unit Citation. Their history is really worth checking out.
12 additional images. Click to enlarge.