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Republic P-47 Thunderbolt

Warpaint Special No. 1
Peter Scott/Norris Graser
Hall Park Books Ltd.
ISSN 1363-0369

Reviewed by Norm Filer

It seems like new release of this now familiar Alan Hall Warpaint series gets better and better. To my knowledge, this is the first time they have tackled a significant subject. At 90 pages, it is bigger than any of the previous publications, and it does not waste any space on extras or frills. There is no table of contents, no index, no publishers notes or credits, nothing wasted at all. In fact I had to look hard for the publisherís information. It is in three very small lines on the back cover. Not a square inch is wasted.

This book is all about Thunderbolt markings. There are some 360-plus side and plan view drawings of nothing but Jugs. There is a brief two and a half pages of text outlining the Thunderbolts history and development, as well as a bit about post war operations and foreign service.

Interspersed with the drawings are many black and white and color photographs. Some we have seen before and many others are new. All seem to have a valid reason for being in the book - they have something to say about Thunderbolt markings.

For those of us who read Scale Aircraft Modelling, or have any of the previous Warpaint books on our shelves, the artwork style is well established. Clean, computer generated color side views. There must be side views of every organization that flew the Jug, U. S. or foreign.

As would be expected the USAAF, USAF and National Guard take up about 2/3rds of the book. Then it is off to look at RAF use, and finally the 'overseas' Air Forces. I found it interesting that this last section is both bigger than expected and contains some very colorful Thunderbolts. How about an all black Columbian P-47N?

If there is a downside to this book, it is perhaps that the color drawings are rather basic. My major complaint is that nothing is three dimensional in appearance. No tinting of canopies, no slight shading under wings or tails, just flat color drawings. I suspect a good argument could be made for this being the best way to show modelers what the airplane was painted like, but it makes viewing them more difficult.

Along this same line, the canopies have no shading or tinting to give the impression of glass or transparency. They are the same white as the blank page. This results in the razorback Thunderbolts often looking like they have a Hellcat canopy installed. The rear view section behind the sliding canopy is colored exactly like the basic color of the airplane. One has to look hard to see the canopy frame. At times this has an advantage because the area is a different color that the outside color and it shows up well.

Another minor note is that there are no 'soft blended' edges on any of the schemes shown. For example, all the mating paint lines on the OD and Grey airplanes, as well as the Upper surfaces of the RAFís Far East Air Force, are 'hard line'. There is no blending between colors as on the actual airplane. The drawings are about 5 inches long and at that size the blending between colors would be small indeed, but since this is clearly a modelers reference, the modeler is hard pressed to determine what should be soft edged paint and what should be hard edged.

In summary, if you are like most of us and have a few (or many!!) Jug kits stashed away, this book very well could send you out to the local shop for still more. There is an absolutely huge variety of markings to select from. This is not, nor was it intended to be, a photo 'Detail and Scale' or a Thunderbolt 'Walk Around'. As the title says, this is 'Warpaint' and it really does a great job of that. If your modeling interest is WW twice fighters (and whose isnít!) this one should get some of your money.

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