First Look Review
RAF Thunderbolts
RAF Thunderbolts
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

New from Iliad Design in 1:48 comes a set of decals dedicated to the Thunderbolt in RAF service. It's a subject that all to often gets unfairly overlooked among the more flamboyant USAAF colour schemes , but the "Jug" undoubtedly looks really good in RAF markings. While the aircraft was the butt of British jokes initially on account of its size (such as the pilot being able to dodge enemy bullets by running around the cockpit!), the Thunderbolt went on to perform sterling work in the Burma theatre, where it was deployed almost exclusively in RAF service. Of the 825 Thunderbolts delivered, one source quotes just 7 being lost to enemy anti-aircraft fire - believed to be the lowest loss per sortie rate for any WW2 RAF combat aircraft.

Illiad's sheet #48025 caters for six colour schemes, and space on the sheet allows for five full sets of national markings, so you really can get a lot of mileage out of the set without hunting for additional markings:

1. Thundbolt II (P-47D-30), KL328 of No. 73 OTU, Fayid, Egypt, early 1945 in n/m finish with full colour roundels and fin flashes.
2. Thundbolt I (P-47D-22), HB982 of No. 135 Sqn., Chittagong, December 1944, wearing Dark Earth, Dark Green and Medium Sea Grey camouflage and CBI markings.
3. Thundbolt II (P-47D-28), KL278 of No. 79 Sqn, Wangjing, early 1945, wearing Dark Earth, Dark Green and Medium Sea Grey camouflage and CBI markings.
4. Thundbolt II (P-47D-30), KL315 of No. 42 Sqn, Meiktila, mid 1945 in n/m finish and CBI markings.
5. Thundbolt II (P-47D-28), KJ194 of No. 134 Sqn, Arakan, early 1945, wearing Dark Earth, Dark Green and Medium Sea Grey camouflage and CBI markings.
6. Thundbolt II (P-47D-28), KJ140 of No. 30 Sqn, East Bengal, December 1944, wearing Dark Earth, Dark Green and Medium Sea Grey camouflage and CBI markings.

The decals look to be excellent quality, being thin and glossy with minimal crystal clear carrier film. The colours look excellent, with the European markings featuring a suitably muted "roundel red". Some of the CBI codes are printed in a pastel blue, which seems to have been mixed at unit level from Identification Blue and White. The registration looks to be perfect on all the items on the sample sheet except the CBI fin flashes. Ironically, this won't actually be an issue because the accompanying artwork (confirmed in the reference photos I've consulted) shows they'll need to be trimmed at the base of the fin anyway - fair enough, as the panel lines will almost certainly differ on the various P-47 kits available.

The instructions are printed in full colour on both sides of an A-4 sheet, with a high quality profile of each machine, plus a top-sides diagram and a brief description.

If you're looking to build a Thunderbolt that's a bit "different", this could be just the ticket as tribute to the important contribution the aircraft made in the CBI campaign.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Excellent quality decals backed up by full colour instructions.
Lows: A slight mis-register on the sample sheet - but luckily one that won't show.
Verdict: Illiad Design's decals are a great incentive to dig into the stash and build a couple of "Jugs" in RAF markings.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 48025
  Suggested Retail: $12.00
  PUBLISHED: Jul 28, 2013
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

Our Thanks to Iliad Design!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. 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.


Planning on doing several P-47s in 1/48 scale over then next few years. One or two in British markings should really stand out. I do have concerns about decals being marketed with registry issues. With todays computer design, it just shouldn't be the case. Hopefully they will correct the issues moving forward. Joel
JUL 28, 2013 - 11:41 AM
Iliad seem pretty good about registry: He is a serious maker... I also kind of like non-oriented national insignas on any subject, especially if it is less usual... Saves a lot of effort lining things up right to left... Gaston
JUL 28, 2013 - 08:51 PM

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