In honor of a group build being staged at the Unofficial Airfix Modeling Forum, in which at least 16 P-47 model kits are being built, I have fleshed out the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt page of the site. The page doesn’t yet contain every worthwhile photo that Dick and I have shot of P-47s, but it has at least some pics of each one we have photographed – 24 in all.
The first P-47 I ever saw was Ray Stutsman’s P-47G “Little Demon,” which in 1982 was not only the nicest Thunderbolt flying, but possibly the best-restored World War II fighter, at least in North America. It took the big prize at Oshkosh that year and really showed how attractive an accurately finished warbird could look. For several years it delighted enthusiasts in the U.S. midwest and adjacent parts of Canada, until it was sold to Texas where it never seemed to get out much. It later went to Britain where, 30 years later, it was rejuvenated to look better than ever, and was a crowd-pleaser at the Duxford airshows. In 2014 it was sold back to another Texan.
P-47s are wickedly brutish airplanes that have a great deal of presence despite being powered by the Pratt R-2800 engine which never sounds like it is working hard no matter what it is pulling. It helps that they were in use during a period of garish U.S.A.A.F. markings and had a vast amount of sheet metal surface to paint them on.