P-47D Bubbletop in progress

the Baron

Ich bin ja, Herr, in Deiner Macht
May 12, 2009
Hi, all!

Here is the second of 2 P-47 kits I have in progress now (please see my other thread, "P-47D Razorback in progress"). This is another of my resolution builds, and this kit was also given me by my friend Brian. Finishing this, for me, is another way to remember a good friend, and someone who was a big ambassador for the hobby.

Here's where this kit was, when I took stock of my kits in progress and made the resolution only to work on these and no new kits in this year:


I had completed painting the cockpit and installed, and the engine painted and installed in the cowling, before letting it sit.

So, the first order of business was to check the fit and assemble the fuselage halves. The fit was pretty bad; there were ejector pin marks on the mating surfaces of both halves. There were no such marks on the razorback's fuselage halves, so they may have been introduced when the bubbletop master was developed, we'll never know.

Anyway, I sanded those off (200 grit), and fit was improved. I worked from the nose to the tail, attaching a section at a time, trying to get as tight a fit as possible, to minimize the need for filling afterwards. Even so, the seams on the upper and lower sides were still pretty pronounced:


Basically, all along the length of the aircraft, and around the edges of the horizontal stabilizer and rudder, too. Here's the underside:


The next post will show some of the work to fill the seams...
OK, in this post, you can see the filling that I had to do to correct the seams.

Here are two shots of the upper side of the aircraft:




And here is a shot of the underside:


I was thinking of trying to use stretched sprue and liquid glue to fill the seams, but decided it would be less work to use putty thinned with acetone. I use Squadron white putty, apply it with a little sculpting spatula. Then I use a cotton swab dipped in acetone to smooth the putty into the seam and remove the excess.

I also used some Mr Surfacer on the some of the seams, but it really isn't thick enough to fill gaps of this size, so I had to do a couple of passes of thinned putty on all of the seams. Then, I sanded the excess with some 200 grit, then some 400 grit.

Now, my plan for this kit is to finish it with a natural metal finish, so I will need to get the seam areas as smooth as possible. To that end, I spend some time this afternoon going over the seams with a set of MicroMesh polishing pads. My next post will show the results.

Thanks for looking!
Ok, this will bring this thread up-to-the-minute for the status of this kit.

Here is what the surfaces look like, after running through a series of polishing pads.

The upper surface:


and the lower surface:


The polishing pads really do a fantastic job of smoothing the surface. I originally got them, to have them on hand to fix a scratched canopy, and I can see how you can eliminate a scratch with these, and then a dip in Future.

There are still two rough spots that require attention. One is on the upper side, between the end of the canopy rails and the radio mast, and on the bottom, on the first vent cover as we go from the trailing edge of the wing aft.

Believe me, those seams are pretty smooth, at least, they look good under the Optivisor. A coat of primer will tell for sure...
A quick update-after touching up the rough spots I mentioned in the last post, I've attached the horizontal stabilizers, and the cowling:


The cowling didn't quite fit, and that, along with all this seam work, really makes me think I could have gotten the fuselage halves to fit better. But I just sanded the inside of the cowling until it fit closely enough.

Next time, preparing and assembling the wings. Thanks for looking, and as always, comments/criticisms/tips are welcome!
Keep up the great work Bud, I was wondering when someone was going to post some T Bolt action .. Paul.
i have trouble with seam lines all the time. i think i gott em filled and sanded perfectly untill that moment of truth with the primer! but im sure your plane will come out great. Rock on!
Thanks, guys, for the kind words! Now that I've completed some other builds or certain parts of other builds, it's time to come back to the bubbletop. I'll have an update this week, to show what I'm doing with the wings.

Meanwhile, I put up some posts in Whatcha Buildin'-Aircraft, and Whatcha Built, to show what I've been spending the most benchtime on recently.

Thanks for watching, guys, and keep building!

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