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RAF Thunderbolts

Iliad Design, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y :

Catalogue Number and Description:

Iliad Design Item No. 48025 - RAF Thunderbolts



Contents and Media:

1 x waterslide decal sheet and instructions


Available on-line from:

Iliad Design for Can$12.00

Hannants from GBP £9.60

Squadron for US $12.00

Review Type:

First Look


Interesting subjects; good instructions; high quality decals




This release is definitely worth seeking out if you're contemplating a 1/48 P-47D model but want to finish it something other than USAAF markings – highly recommended.

Reviewed by Brad Fallen

Iliad's 1/48 RAF Thunderbolts decals are available online from Squadron.com


F i r s t L o o k

Another release from Iliad Design that tackles interesting but less frequently covered subjects, 'RAF Thunderbolts' features six P-47Ds that served in the Mediterranean and China/Burma/India (CBI) theatres from late 1944.  Britain received just over 800 Thunderbolts from the United States, one-third of them early model razorback P-47Ds – designated 'Thunderbolt Is' by the RAF – with the remainder P-47D-25 (or later) 'Thunderbolt IIs'.  These machines were used mainly in Burma, where they proved as deadly against Japanese ground targets as USAAF P-47s did against similar German targets in Europe.



Aircraft covered by the sheet are as follows:

    1. Thunderbolt II (P-47D-30), KL328/'14' of No.73 Operational Training Unit at Fayid, Egypt, early 1945.  The only non CBI-based aircraft in this collection, KL328 was one of the P-47s used by No.73 OTU to prepare pilots for operations on the type further east.  KL328 was finished in overall weathered natural metal, with an Olive Drab anti-glare panel forward of the cockpit and a large unit insignia on both sides of the engine cowling.  As P-47D-30s, this aircraft and KL315 (marking option 4) were fitted with compressibility flaps under each wing.

    2. Thunderbolt I (P-47D-22), HB982/'D' of No.135 Squadron, at Chittagong, December 1944.  The only razorback Thunderbolt represented here, HB982 (along with marking options 3, 5 and 6) was camouflaged in the RAF's standard CBI scheme of Dark Earth and Dark Green over Medium Sea Grey undersurfaces.  These P-47s also carried low visibility two-tone blue roundels and white identification markings on their cowlings, wings, and stabilisers.  Capping off this distinctive scheme for HB982 was a bright red propeller boss. 

    3. Thunderbolt II (P-47D-28), KJ278/NV-K of No.79 Squadron, at Wangjing, early 1945.  KJ278 was finished identically to marking option 2, except that the white identification bands did not extend on to the tail control surfaces, and it carried a squadron badge on both sides of its forward cowling.

    4. Thunderbolt II (P-47D-30), KL315/AW-F of No.42 Squadron, at Meiktila, mid-1945.  Arguably the most distinctive-looking machine included in this release, KL315 was finished in overall weathered natural metal with its first two code letters - 'AW' - painted in white on a square black background beneath both sides of the cockpit.  And because white theatre identification markings would not stand out clearly on a natural metal aircraft, these were painted in dark blue (although as with aircraft 3 and 5, these were not carried onto the tail control surfaces).

    5. Thunderbolt II (P-47D-28), KJ194/GQ-N of No.134 Squadron, at Arakan, early 1945.  KJ194's only non-standard marking was the replication of its serial number in yellow on both sides of the vertical fin.

    6. Thunderbolt II (P-47D-28), KJ140/RS-B of No.30 Squadron at East Bengal, December 1944.  Another machine with theatre standard markings, KJ140 carried the squadron's palm tree badge on both sides of the vertical fin.

The decals look very good on the carrier sheet – they are thin and glossy, with good colour reproduction and density, crisp printing and perfect registration.  To assist with the latter, Iliad has printed the four colour fuselage roundels for KL328 as three separate decals, with the outer yellow circle applied first, then a one-piece blue and white decal and finally the central red dot.  This sounds fiddly, but my experience with such multi-part roundels is that, if you take your time and allow each decal to dry thoroughly before applying the next, you will end up with an excellent representation of the original marking. 



The full colour, doubled sided A4 instruction sheet is up to Iliad's usual high standard, with port profiles and a brief description of each subject on one side, and upper surface views on the other (with a common view provided for KJ194 and KJ278).  The subject descriptions are short, but contain all the information required if anyone wants to conduct further research.  Iliad also usefully points out that while HB982, the only Thunderbolt I depicted here, was fitted with a Hamilton Standard propeller, all of the other aircraft were fitted with Curtis Electric propellers.



C o n c l u s i o n


Iliad Design's 'RAF Thunderbolts' is worth seeking out if you're contemplating a 1/48 P-47D model but want to finish it something other than USAAF markings.  Iliad's combination of interesting and well-researched subjects, high quality decals and comprehensive instructions make this a release that can be highly recommended.

Thanks to Iliad Design for this sample.


Text and Images Copyright 2014 by Brad Fallen
This Page Created on 28 January, 2014
Last updated 28 January, 2014

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