scale models

“no Guts – no Glory!” Republic P-47D-25RE Thunderbolt

82 Fighter Squadron, 78 Fighter Group, 8 Air Force, USAAF, Duxford, UK, September 1944

The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, also known as the “Jug”, played a pivotal role in World War II. Its firepower and durability made it a formidable opponent in the skies of Europe, while its ability to carry a heavy bomb load made it ideal for ground attack and bombing.

In total, more than 15,000 P-47s were built, making it the most-produced single-seat fighter in history.

The Thunderbolt achieved over 5,600 aerial victories while making a significant contribution to the destruction of enemy ground targets. It formed the backbone of the USAAF during WWII.

The model

MiniArt’s 1/48 kit is their first model aircraft. The P-47D-25RE version was the first to be released, in 2023. Later, the range was expanded with the P-47D-28RE, P-47D-30RE and P-47D-30RA versions (it looks like MiniArt is focusing in the “bubbletop” versions of Thunderbolt for the moment).

The kit I used for this built is the “Advanced kit” version of the P-47D-25RE. In relation to the “Basic kit” version, it additionally contains:

  • Detailed full engine.
  • Detailed machine gun and ammunition bays.
  • Separate, posable flaps.
  • Photo-etch parts for the cockpit, gun-bays, bombs, etc.

Inside the hard cardboard box we find:

  • 21 plastic frames with partss in hard plastic.
  • 1 transparent plastic frame.
  • 1 photo-etched metal frame.
  • 2 sheets with national markings, insignia and warning stencils, for 3 different aircraft.
  • 1 color 24-page detailed instruction book.

The quality and attention to detail is impressive, both internally and externally. The engraved lines and rivets are very detailed and true to scale. The fuselage and wings joins require minimal putty and sanding. With a little care, very few touch-ups will be needed, to rescribe lines and rivets in the areas around the joints.

Let’s take a closer look at some individual points:

  • The landing gear bays are superdetailed. The only thing missing for a 100% realistic display is the hydraulic piping, however the kit manual includes instructions to add these ourselves with 0.3mm wire. I should not fail to mention that 3 alternative sets of wheels are provided – one with weighted tires. Accordingly, 2 alternative sets of main legs are provided, with or without compressed shock absorbers, to represent a loaded aircraft.
  • On each wing we can pose the armament and ammunition bays open. These include the machine guns (4 Browning 0.50” on each wing) along with their ammo belts. The detail here is more than satisfactory. The included photo-etched parts enhance the realism.
  • The control surfaces (ailerons, flaps, elevators, rudder) can be posed in different positions.
  • The Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engine, with minimal additions, can stand up to many after-market solutions from other manufacturers. Essentially, the only thing missing is the wiring (spark plugs etc) but again diagrams are provided to add them ourselves with 0.3mm wire.
  • In the cockpit, the instrument panel is rendered with embossed instruments and switches. At the same time, decals are provided for the instruments (3 alternative sets: all instruments together in one decal, with a transparent or black background, or each instrument separately). The side consoles are also rich in embossed detail while some wiring is provided in photo-etch. We also have two different options for the seat, either with embossed seatbelts or with separate photo-etched seatbelts.
  • Armament: the kit provides all the alternative payloads that the Thunderbolt could carry: 4 different types of bombs, bazooka rocket launchers, 4 different types of fuel tanks as well as a smoke generator. Optionally, photo-etched parts can be used for the wings of the bombs.
  • Decals: We have a choice for 3 separate aircraft. Two with metallic finish and one with green-grey, all with invasion stripes (which are not provided as decals but must be painted). A full set of warning stencils is also provided, both for the aircraft and the weapons. The decals are top quality as they are printed by Cartograph.

A few points and observations

Is everything as rosy as the previous paragraphs suggest? Yes, with a big asterisc. The result can be very good, but only if you pay a lot of attention. The kit is clearly not intended for beginner modellers. In order to avoid falling into traps. very careful study of the construction stages is required as well as constant dry-fit tests.

Some points worth paying attention to are:

  • The tolerances are very small in many places. For example, the edges of the cockpit walls need to be sanded to fit together properly.
  • The 2 rods that support the seat on the cockpit floor are very thin and delicate. On my model, one of them broke and was lost forever. On the one hand, it was not a big problem since it is impossible to see the bottom of the seat, while the seat also firmly attaches to the rear wall of the cockpit. On the other hand, since we can’t see the rods, why did they make them so thin?
  • The machine gun barrels are neat (you can even see the hole in the front of them) BUT they have to go in before the wings even close. It is impossible for them not to break until the end of the construction. The same goes for other pieces: the antenna mast on the spine of the aircraft and some the landing gear door actuators. In my kit, I preferred to cut them all from the beginning (barrels, antenna, actuators) and save them for the end of the build. In fact I ended up using brass tubes for the gun barrels.
  • The cooling flaps at the rear of the engine need a lot of care and patience to get correctly into place, especially if the engine is without its covers.


With its first ever aircraft kit, MiniArt is seriously looking at the top. However, its not a kit that I would not recommend to an inexperienced modeler. There is definetly room for improvement. While building the model there were times when I was under the impression that whoever designed the kit didn’t try to build it themselves. that said, with patience and good planning, the result can be outstanding.

A few photos of the work in progress

The finished model

Products Used

MiniArt P-47D-25RE Thunderbolt
Advanced Kit