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Model Duplication

n by Rafi Ben-Shahar

Tamiya or Hasegawa? Click to enlarge

This month I have a little quiz for you. The photos in this article show two 1/48 models of the famous Republic P-47D Thunderbolt. Can you tell which kit used is the Tamiya and which is the Hasegawa?

My guess is that you will find the answer only after a close scrutiny of the photographs, which is exactly the point of my question. One may complain about the prominent model manufacturers' notorious habit of kitting only the top-selling popular subjects over and over again while similar products are already being sold by other companies.

Such is the story of the 1/48 Republic P-47D Thunderbolt that has been around for a while and has been taken to its extreme variations by Hasegawa. In 2003, Tamiya released the two versions of the P-47D in direct competition with the Hasegawa offerings, recently also adding the P-47M that has not been previously covered in the Hasegawa line.

Hasegawa or Tamiya? Click to enlarge

It took me a couple of years before I purchased the first P-47D Tamiya kit. I was happy with the Hasegawa kit in spite of its shortfalls and was intimidated by the initial high price of the Tamiya kit.

True to the traditional Tamiya quality, the kit surpasses Hasegawa's offerings, but only by a margin if you are a skilled modeller and can eliminate the engineering flaws in no time. Highlights of the Tamiya kit included the detailed cockpit, hollowed guns, accurate props, separate flaps and the ever good-looking, but not entirely realistic engraved panel lines. The only downfall is the sparsely detailed exhaust outlet area. Yet, from the outset, it is difficult to distinguish between the two kits.

Tamiya or Hasegawa? Click to enlarge

While the Tamiya kit is superior in quality, I could easily enhance the inferior areas of the Hasegawa kit with...  yeah, why not some spare parts from the Tamiya box, such as propeller, cockpit mirrors, ordnance, etc. ?

So, should you buy the Hasegawa or the Tamiya kit? I have an answer for you - if WWII aircraft modelling is your area of interest then buy and build them both. Constructing different kits of the same subject brings together different points of view to the same topic and enhances your perspective and ability to improve the final product.


Additional images, click to enlarge


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