1/48 P-47D Razorback “Gail Ann”

The next build is the 1/48 Tamiya P-478D Razorback. This is another commission build. The scheme will be replicating the “Gail Ann” of the 381th Fighter Group, 19th Fighter Squadron at Isley Field, Saipan.

Here are a couple of photos of the original aircraft:

For this build I will be using Eduard’s photo etch detail set and Aber brass gun barrels. The decals will need to be custom made for the specific aircraft. Starting with the cockpit I used photo etch accessories for the pedals, cockpit floor, instrument panel and the side walls. The cockpit was painted Vallejo US Interior green and then all the equipment and switches were painted. The floor and walls were slightly weathered and then the cockpit was assembled. One of the other additions that the photo etch set provides are the ducts for the side vents. The kit just leaves it open to the fuselage. The duct work were bent and fitted inside each side of the fuselage. The yellow chromate was then painted for the inside of the ducts and the inside of the tail wheel bay. I was able to install the fuselage and am now getting ready to build and detail the engine.

This week I spent time assembling and detailing the engine, assembling the fuselage and wings and started assembling and detailing the landing gear. Starting on the engine the first thing I noticed was the molded pushrods for the cylinders. Using a hobby knife I cut out the pushrods. I then used 30 AWG black wire and cut pieces the length of the pushrods and installed them with the photo etch wire looms. The cylinders were painted using Vallejo’s metal series dark aluminum with aluminum on the valve covers. With the cylinders assembled together I added the photo etch wiring and routed them to the front and rear of the cylinders. The front part of the engine was then painted gray with silver bolt heads. The engine logo and engine ID plate decals are from the Thunder Cals Thunderbolt Insignia and Data Decal set (#48005). Thunder Cal Decals

I then painted the cowl and installed the engine assembly.

Moving onto the fuselage and wings I used photo etch details on the main gear bays and fuselage duct covers. The nose assembly was mounted to fuselage and the horizontal stabilizers. The overall scheme for this squadron is olive drab overall but the cowl, tail and horizontal stabilizers are near metal finish (NMF) with blue highlights. I sprayed all the NMF areas with Testors bare metal and the blue highlights I am using Model Master True Blue. The wings were then assembled and attached to the fuselage. The Aber gun barrels were then installed. The brass barrels have a lip on one end so they need to be installed from the back side. The assembly was installed and the barrels are pushed in until they hit the stops inside the wing. The bomb racks were detailed and installed under the wings. The main gear struts required a little putty due to ejection marks and the holes for the control arms were filled as these were replaced with photo etch parts. The struts were painted with Vallejo metal series Duraluminum which gives the struts a slightly dirty appearance. For the wheels I am using the hub covered version. I need to finish installing the landing gear and doors and am currently working on the “Gail Ann” specific decals that I need to make.

Welcome to week two on the Gail Ann. Starting off with this week’s work, I finished detailing the main landing gear by adding photo etch lines. The tail wheel was installed and the photo etch replacement gear doors were installed. I then spent an evening making the Gail Ann specific decals. On a few of the reference photos it shows the main gear had hub caps. These had a design on them. After some research I found out they were red, white, and blue. I duplicated the pattern and scaled them for the main gear hubs. I also made all the other decals as well. I just need to verify the “Gail Ann” matches the rest of the blue on the aircraft. Since the blue on the aircraft is glossy I coated them with a coat of Vallejo matte finish. This is because the flat tends to change the hue of the color and I needed the slight shift so I can color match the nose decals. I also purchased some resin drop tanks. The drop tanks in the kit were typical of European Theater but the Pacific theater they typically used a 75-gallon vertical seam style drop tank.

I then started working on the bombs. The fins on the kit bomb are too thick and small for the bomb and the photo etch set includes fins. Once they were bent into shape and the kit ones cut off I learned that the back of the bomb is too small for the fins. I used some styrene tubing and made a sleeve for the fins. Once assembled the bomb now looks like the reference photos.

I started painting all the base coats of neutral gray underside with olive drab, NMF, and blue on the aircraft. For this next week I will be adding the decals then working on the canopy. If all goes well, I may have this completed by next weekend.

The “Gail Ann” is now completed! The final week started off with adding the decals. The aircraft was then weathered slightly with pastel chalk and then sealed with a matte finish. The HUD was then modified by cutting off the thick gun sight and replacing it with a piece of clear acetate. With the sight installed the armored glass for was then added to the windscreen. I assembled the correct propeller, painted, decals added, and installed it. The wingtip lights were installed and the recognition lights under the starboard wing were finished off. EZ-Line was used to add the antenna. The gun barrels were painted with steel. The last detail I did was to cut off the rear navigation light and replace it with a clear lens. This completed the aircraft!

The end of the week I assembled the display case.  I used the Scene-A-Rama “sand” sheet for the base. Once it was glued down I sprayed some dark sand to represent the edge of the taxi lane and some black staining on the areas around the aircraft that were high traffic as well as the supercharger exhaust area. I cut out an area for the nickel nameplate. I used nickel instead of brass for this so the nameplate would stand out a little better. I then drilled holes in the bottom of the aircraft wheels and installed metal pins in order to mount the aircraft in the display case.

With the base finished off all that was left to do was add the clear cover completing this project.

This will be packed up and shipped out the client this weekend. Thank you all for following along on this historic build of the Gail Ann as she was on Saipan in 1944.

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