P-47 Thunderbolt

Ziroli 1/5 scale 92" span


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Well after numerous delays in building my P-47 project, due to other ongoing projects, I have finally settled down to start on it. Some who have read in the past know that I had originally started with a Top Flite Giant Scale P-47, which I was in the process of building, but later sold.  I had only gone as far as the fuse, and then decided that I wanted one that had a bit more scale detail. (Here is the link: Top Flite Build)
After selling the Top Flite kit, I decided to go out and purchase a Yellow Aircraft P-47. This kit had much more scale detail than the Top Flite kit, but it's one draw back was that it was a bit smaller than the Top Flite kit. The more and more I looked at the Yellow kit, the more and more I started to realize that if I were going to invest the time into this project, I want something that has a little size to it. I eventually sold that kit to a very nice gentleman in Colorado, who is now flying it, and very happy. Here is a few pics he just recently sent me of it:
After doing more research, and digging around. I have now finally settled on the Ziroli 1/5th scale P-47. The Ziroli is much bigger (92" span), than the previous two kits I owned. The Ziroli P-47 was a natural choice in that it is a well proven design that has seen many competitions, and scale events for a long time. I also knew that many out there have info on this particular kit, as well as aftermarket products that will facilitate in the build of it. For those of you who are not familiar with Ziroli type kits, Nick Ziroli is an aircraft designer, and basically makes plans. He doesn't sell complete kits like Top Flite, or Yellow aircraft would. In other words they are not for the first time builder. They do take some building basics. Nick sells cowls, canopies, belly pans, and in recent years, fiberglass fuses.
Here is a link to his site: http://www.ziroliplans.com
Since I don't want to spend an eternity building this project, I decided to not only purchase his plans, but to also purchase the fiberglass fuse kit he offers. It basically includes the plans, a fuse, cowl, canopy, and belly pan. Here are some pics of it:
I've built many fiberglass fused airplanes in the past, and have actually come to prefer them. I find they build quicker, and look better, so this was a natural choice. Regarding the wings, and stabs; there are many high quality kit cutters out there that will cut you a kit. I chose Precision Cut Kits, for my wing kit. Here is their link: http://www.precisioncutkits.com/
 I had heard good things about their laser cutting in the past, and decided to go with them. I must say I was very impressed with the quality of the kit I received, it looks top notch. Here is a pic:

Since I decided to start this P-47 project, I have collected various parts that can be used in my jug. As the build goes on, I will document more on those other parts. I'm still waiting on the gear, which should be arriving soon, and will keep up updated as parts become available.


Last year, I purchased a Tamiya 1/48 scale P-47 plastic model kit. I built it for the sole reason that it would give me some references while I build my Ziroli P-47. The detail, panel lines, and scale outline, are extremely accurate, when  compared to other documentation. This along with many other 3-views, and books should definitely help as a reference for my build. The Tamiya model has a factor of 9, in relation to my 1/5 scale P-47. This means that any reference measurement I take from the Tamiya kit, multiplied by 9, will give me the number for my Ziroli. This should prove to be very helpful.
Note: I finished the Tamiya kit with the Little Chief scheme that was on the box. I do not plan to do mine with those markings. I just used their decals because it was easier.


After looking through many different books, and web pages, trying to decide on which P-47 to replicate. I finally decided on this P-47D-RE-22  HL-V Zombie from the 78th Fighter Group, 83rd Fighter Squadron Duxford England, S/N 225742.
I think the checkered nose, simplistic nose art, and white tail give this scheme nice appeal. My only problems with this particular plane, are that there is very little information, or documentation available for it. I've done a lot of research, to try and find out more about it, with little luck. In fact other, than this picture and a very poor b&w photo, this is all I have. Any competitive scale modeler will tell you that documentation is probably more important than the actual model and this is true if you plan to do serious competition with your model. Although I'm doing this more for myself rather than anything else, and no other marking I had come across, appealed to me more than this one.

The build begins: Stabs
After looking over the plans, and trying to decide where to start. I figured I would start with the stabs/elevator.
The first thing I notices on the plan is that the hinge locations are not to scale. If you look at the pic of the scale P-47, you will notice that there are two hinge covers that protrude through the leading edge of the elevator.

In order to achieve that effect, I will need to redraw the plan to accommodate balsa blocks in the scale locations. It may be a bit hard to see in the pic, but I had to redraw new hinge locations and where I plan to locate the balsa blocks. I'm hoping that if I follow the same hinge location throughout, that all will line up in the end.
Once I finished drawing the basic outline of the blocks, I began construction of the stab.

The stab is a fairly straight forward build. A leading edge, trailing edge, ribs, top and bottom spar. Nothing to tricky, other than having to redesign the hinging.
As you can see from the pics. I decided to use two hinges, per scale hinge location. I felt that it would give me that added support. I also changed the location of the ribs for the elevators. This way the hinge points and the eventual balsa elevator skin will all tie in together.

To accommodate for the spacing of the actual hinge point, I had to shorten the hinge block at the trailing edge of the stab.

Now that I have the basic frame of the stab and elevators, my next step is to create the overhang that is present on the full scale. If you notice in the picture above you will see that there is an elevator shroud that encloses the leading edge of the elevator. To recreate this, I decided to use some 1/64 ply at the trailing edge, to create a lip.
As you can see in the pics, the 1/64th ply overhangs by about a 1/8th".  I had to fool around a bit with the amount of overhang, and the angles at the leading edge of the elevator, to get them to work nicely. At first there was a little binding, but in the end, with a little adjusting, they seem to work nicely. I figured it would be easier to figure all these sort of things out, prior to sheeting the stabs and elevators. This way if it doesn't work out, it won't be as difficult to correct.
Now that all the parts seem to fit well, I decided to sheet the stabs and elevators. I purposely left one side of the elevators not sheeted, because I'm still not 100% sure on how I plan to join them. The plan calls for a "U" shaped piece of 1/4" wire, glued in through the leading edge of the elevators. I think this will be fine, but I will probably only use 3/16" wire. 1/4" is a bit of overkill in my opinion.  The other reason I've left it not sheeted is that I'm still debating on how I plan to actuate the elevators. I want a hidden elevator system, and I'm still debating with myself on how exactly I plan to do this. Hence why I want to be able to adjust things as I get to them. Especially in the tail, where space is at a premium.

Construction Page 1

Construction Page 2

Construction Page 3

Construction Page 4



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Last Updated 03/01/2007