Monday, 6 July 2015

Far East Thunderbolt.

Some years ago, this model was a turning point for me.  Until this build I had always used enamel paints and no matter what I did, I just could not get a smooth surface on the finished model. My two best mates who were dyed in the wool Acrylic painters had been telling me for years that I would be better off using acrylics and that I would learn to love using them.

I said that would never happen!

I ended up eating my words. And a big chunk of humble pie.

I wanted to have a British P-47 Thunderbolt in my collection for a long time, I had decals to make a Razorback P-47 but I wanted to make the Bubble Top canopy version which the RAF referred to as the Thunderbolt II.

I was doing some research when I came across a book titled "Modelling The P-47 Thunderbolt" by Brett Green. This is an excellent book that guides the reader in building various models of the P-47. It is well written with an easy to understand, common sense approach. It is also full of step by step illustrations showing how each stage of a build was achieved.

I really liked one of the models in this book, it was a simple scene depicting two aircrew having a chat beside a RAF Thunderbolt in SEAC camouflage and markings. The kit had been modified to show the huge Pratt and Whitney rotary engine and the finished model looked superb! 

I wished I could build something like that. Not a chance I thought. That year, 2010 I was having a rummage around at a model exhibition and I found a 1/48 Hasegawa Thunderbolt II Bubbletop P-47 with SEAC markings! 

What a find! It was a rare kit. I was a happy man. 

Now I just needed to build it. That said I dug out the book and studied Brett Greens most excellent work. I thought it would be a fun project to emulate his build and see how far I could get, how well in the eyes of my peers I could do............................

I was going for something like this:

The aircraft in the background marked G * RS was the one I was building. With an Eduard Photo-etch cockpit set and a donated engine from and old Tamiya P-47 kit I set out to build my Thunderbolt. The surgery required to mount and display the engine was tricky, but I managed it! 

The next big step was the painting with Acrylics-something I had never done before! I look back now of course and wonder what all the fuss was about! The Tamiya acrylic paint went down perfectly and were a joy to use. I have used them ever since! 

When I presented the finished model to my friends and peers I got some great feedback and learnt that the extra effort I had put in, rewarded me with a nice model and improved skills. 

It wasn't anywhere near as good as Brett Greens build in the book, but I liked it and it was an enjoyable build- and that's what counts. 

Here's how it turned out: