First Look Review
N scale
Mini-Planes P-47D Thunderbolt
Bachmann Mini-Planes P-47 D Thunderbolt
  • move

by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Mini-Planes P-47 D Thunderbolt
Item: 92
Scale: 1/160

If you grew up in the late 1960s - 1970s and liked airplanes and models, then you probably had some of Bachmann's Mini-Planes. Mini-Planes included 100 models and sets, including this 1/160 (N scale) P-47D Thunderbolt.

Bachmann Mini-Planes
Today Bachmann is a world-wide model railroad company. In the 1960s and 1970s Bachmann also dabbled in other toys and hobby lines. Mini-Planes were a major product line. I don't know just how many Mini-Planes were released although I found a list of 107, plus collection sets. Boxes are square, end-opening tab boxes with cellophane display windows, and a hanging label backing. I never saw a set box. The viewing window let the model be the box art while on the back of the label are crude dramatic action paintings of the subject, plus general performance and size data. These could be cut out and used as trading cards! Inside the model rested in a lightweight clear plastic tray. Usually a cloudy sky paper backdrop was under the tray. Unfortunately, the boxes aren't always roomy enough for the models; my Jug's vertical stabilizer is bend, as are the props. There were some box variations; my Huey is in a bubble pack.

Mini-Planes spanned aerospace history from the Wright Flyer through the latest wide-body passenger planes of the day, including the Boeing YC-14
and Space Shuttle. Eclectic Mini-Planes released civil and military helicopters and fixed-wing subjects. Some models were reissued in different livery and camouflage, e.g., the Boeing 707 was issued for TWA, American Airlines, and Pan Am. I have the P-47D in both olive drab over neutral gray, and this NMF Jug.

The models are "box scale", meaning Mini-Planes only had a single box, and scaled the aircraft to fit into it, whether it was model #93, Hindenburg, #94, Hughes HK-1 "Spruce Goose", or the Fuji FA-200 Aero Subaru. Several similar aircraft were molded in the same scale, i.e., Fokker DR-1, SPAD XIII, Sopwith Camel, etc. As mentioned, the boxes aren't always roomy enough for the models, some components are warped and deformed.

The Models
These little airplanes were mainly made of injection plastic. Props and retractable landing gear (!) were usually made of a softer plastic. They were marked as both collectibles and toys; more as collectibles as they were fragile -- I still find pieces of them in my spare parts bins!

Detail was what one would expect. If a pilot was included it was a stub that looked like a head. Canopies were always a solid clear part. Machine gun barrels were over-scale. Yet many airplanes have antennae masts sticking up, and some have pitot tubes. As toys they had spinning props, retracting landing gear and even opening bomb bays! Surface detail was a mix of recessed and relief panel lines.

You can see that they were factory assembled, often from multiple parts. Obviously not by professional modelers... . You may notice that the landing gear was installed backwards (I'll excuse that but just don't ask me about the drop-tanks on my Pro Modeller F-86D)! Seam lines abound and some ejector marks mar the models, as well as molded company and topic information. However, they are pleasantly free from flash and sink marks.

Paint and Markings
Some are painted very well and with remarkable accuracy. Some are awful. Some markings are hand-painted. Some NMF models seem to have been chromed while others have rough silver paint sprayed onto them, and some are just silver styrene.

Most markings are thick film self-adhesive "decals." You will find some models which lost their decals when the glue dried out. Many decals were, like the paint and assembly, obviously not applied by talented modelers.

Mini-Plane No. 92, P-47D Thunderbolt
I will mainly let the photos impart their 1,000 words. However, it looks like this model was chromed. It appears someone was careless with masking the anti-glare panel, and the tail markings are hand painted. The model is a 527th FS, 86th FG P-47.

Mini-Planes were popular for awhile. Somebody even made a 'dogfight' tower for them, a battery-powered pylon with two wire arms. You'd slip a wing into a metal loop (never mind the paint, decals, or even plastic surface). Then the pylon arms would rotate around and around. I recall you could make the arms circle vertical in a loop, and rise and lower like your skysteed was climbing or descending. Great fun indeed!

These aren't really models for modelers. Some are reasonably well done. I like them because they are neat little models and a fun flight down memory airway. I hope you enjoy these, too.

Also issued by Airfix and Tomy of Japan
Compilation by Michael Bludworth

1. P-40
2. Me-109
3. Super Mig-19
4. F-14 Starfighter
5. Mirage 4a
6. B-17
7. Spitfire
8. Zero
9. Boeing 707 TWA, AA, PAA
10. F-105 Gray
11. P-51 Green
12. P-38 Green
13. AH-1G Cobra
14. B-25 Tan; pink
15. F-4U w/wo rockets
16. Spirit of St. Louis
17. Fokker DR-1
19. Convair 880 TWA, Delta
20. Sopwith Camel
21. Alabatros
22. Boeing 727 EAL, UAL
23. DC-9 TWA, Delta, EAL
24. F-4K Phantom
25. DC-8 JAL,UAL
26. YF-12A
27. JU-88
28. Lancaster
29. Nieuport 17
30. Fokker E-III
31. Ju-87 Stuka
32. P-47D
33. Fokker D-VII
34. SE-5A
35. 747 JAL, AA, PAA
36. Boeing F4B-4
37. Wright Flyer
38. HH-3E
39. B-24D
40. DC-10 AA
41. Saab AJ37
42. Curtiss P-6E Hawk
43. Ford Tri Motor
44. PBY-5A
45. C-119 Flying Box Car
46. Nakajima Ki-44-2 Shoki
47. Kawanishi NiKi Kyofu
48. Mits. Ki-21-2 Type 97
49. Hein 2
50. Yokosuka P1Y1
51. Nakajima Ki-43 Oscar
52. Nakajima B5N
53. NAMC YS-11
54. Mits. MU-2
55. OS2U Kingfisher
56. Kawanishi N1K2-J Shindin Kai
57. Mits J2M3 Raiden
58. Mits Ki-46-3 Shiki
59. Mits G4M2
60. Kawanishi K8K2 Shiki Flying Boat
61. Polikarpov Rata
62. Grumman F4F 4 or 3 blade prop
63. FW-190
64. Morane-Saulnier
65. B-58
66. Douglas A3D Skyraider
67. Grumman F3F
68. B-29
69. Bell UH-1B Iroquois
70. Curtiss Helldiver
71. DH Mosquito
72. DC-3 AA
73. GB R11 Racer
74. Westland Lysander
75. DO-17
76. Hurricane II
77. Grumman E2A
78. A-4 Skyhawk
79. Kamikaze
80. Aichi Type 99
81. Kitsuka
82. Fuji FA-200 Aero Subaru
83. Shin Meiwa PS-1 Flying Boat
84. Kawasaki/Boeing Vertol V107
88. C-130
89. OV-10A
90. P-51
91. F-4K Blue Angel
92. P-47D
93. Hindenburg
94. Hughes HK-1
95. B-1
96. F-105 green/brown
97. P-38 Silver
98. JU-88
99. TBM Avenger
The following are marked as 02, 03, 04
102. Boeing 314
103. T-38 Thunderbird
104. Boeing YC-14
105. Concorde
106. Bristol F2B
107. Space Shuttle
Highs: Unique scales.
Lows: Poor quality control on many. Sticker decals.
Verdict: These aren't really models for modelers. Some are reasonably well done. I like them because they are neat little models and a fun flight down memory airway.
  Scale: N Scale
  Mfg. ID: 92
  Related Link: List of Mini-Planes
  PUBLISHED: Dec 28, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move