**** DONE: GB-56 1:48 P-47D Bubbletop – Thunderbolts and Lightnings

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Vic Balshaw

Major General
Jul 20, 2009
Username: Vic Balshaw
First name: Vic
Category: Advanced
Manufacturer: Tamiya
Model: Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Bubbletop
Scale: 1/48
Extras: ABER Browning Barrels - Aires Gun Bay – Eagle Cals Decals – Easy Solution Seat Belt - Eduard PE and maybe some scratch building.


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I have chosen James Robert Hopkins who only served for a short time in WWII but was a long serving veteran. Enlisting in December 1941, he was initially an air mechanic before entering the Aviation Cadet Program where he was commissioned and gained his pilot wings in April 1943. Transferring in April 1944 to the P-40 Warhawk and the P-47 Thunderbird with the 405th Fighter Group which operated from RAF Christchurch in support of 'D' day landings and Patton's Third Army, Hopkins served in Europe from October 1944 until the end of the war. He then left active service and joined the Air Force Reserve in December 1945. Recalled to active service in December 1947, Hopkins went on to serve in the Korean War flying over 100 air missions and served in Vietnam where he earned the Air Force Cross. Hopkins retired as a U.S. Air Force Colonel on May 31, 1974.

I also liked his aircraft artwork the idea coming from his high school football tram known as the Wolves who's cheer cry was "Whooo" which is also seen on the nose art.

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This is the only photo I could find of James R Hopkins (Source: Internet.) :D
Another good choice Vic, and again, from the same FG as my first entry. I also have the "Eagle Strike" decals for three more aircraft from this Group, and hope to enter at least one, time permitting (got six P-47 kits, three each razor and bubble, plus two already built - think I might need extra shelves in the cabinets!)
Made a start on this build today and the first thing to fix was the pilots seat adjustment, a lesson learned from the Razorback. the adjustment rails should have a support rod at the tip over which the harness straps are fixed.
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While working on the cockpit parts sorting where PE bit should go and making little holes for the knobbly bits, I turned my attention to the gun sight and the reflector. As can be seen in the first pic, this is a bit of a thick lump as is common with most kits, so I had a go at thinning it down rather than chopping it off and cutting, shaping and attaching a bit of clear plastic (fiddly).

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