.: Andrew Liu's 1/72 Hasegawa Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
In May 1941, while the war was raging in Europe, a single-engine fighter weighing over 4 tons made its first flight. This revolutionary plane was the XP-47B, prototype of the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, of which a total of 15,683 units would be built in all.
This experimental aircraft was equipped with a 2000hp radial R-2800 engine. Even when equipped with eight 12.7mm machine-guns, this prototype was able to reach 633km/h.
In January 1942, just after the US went to war, the production of the P-47B began. It was followed by the P-47C, which incorporated various improvements and from April 1943, by the P-47D. The P-47D was equipped with an R-2800-59 engine featuring a water injection system, and could generate up to 2300hp in an emergency combat scenario. Ducts on the sides and below the fuselage connected to the supercharger placed behind the pilot's seat and contributed to this plane's massive form.
Many sub-types of the P-47D, designated D-1 to D-40 were produced, but the first ver-sions were called "Razorback," because of their sharp-edge dorsal fin running from the canopy to the upper fuselage.
The P-47D, which equipped many units such as the 56th FG of the 8th Air Force, was used to escort B-17 and B-24 bombers. Whereas the Spitfire could not go beyond the coasts of continental Europe, the P-47 accompanied the bombers as far as the western part of Germany.
After the introduction of the longer range P-51 in autumn 1944, the P-47 came to be used for ground attack missions because of its robustness and its 1 ton payload capacity. The concept of the P-47 had a great influence on the development of its successors such as the F-84 Thunderjet and the F-4 Phantom II.