"The Flying Ute" 56th FG P-47 Razorback

Sometimes I run across photographs of original aircraft and vehicles that I just have to build.  This was the case when stumbled on this photograph of a P-47 with nose art honoring the University of Utah.
 This P-47 began its service with the 56th Fighter Group, 62nd Fighter Squadron flown by Captain Jack Brown of Salt Lake City Utah. At some point the aircraft carried two names; “Windy” and “The Flying Ute”.  Records are spotty and some are even contradictory but it seems that Captain Brown had three kills in this P-47.  Eventually it was retired to a training squadron where it finished it’s days.
The Kit
I chose the Tamiya P-47D in 1/72nd scale as the canvas for the project.  It’s a fantastic kit and hands down the best P-47 in 1/72 scale out there.  The engine and cockpit are easily as good as or better than most aftermarket resin sets.  The fit is engineered perfectly and construction is ridiculously simple. 

I built the kit stock box since no aftermarket parts were really necessary.  I painted and masked the designation code “UN-J” with vinyl masks I had custom made.  I also painted and masked the white cowl and tail stripes.
I painted the underside with Tamiya XF-19 Sky Gray and the dorsal side with XF-62 Olive Drab.  I post shaded both sides with the base colors lightened with white or buff paint.
I planned on making a custom decal for the nose art so I also masked off a white background in the outline of the design.  This is because on an inkjet printer it is very difficult to get deep opaque colors.  If I were to put the decal on a dark background it would have been very dark and muted.
Since I was lacking the computer software (not to mention the skills) to make a digital copy of the nose art, I opted to go old-school and do it the somewhat old fashioned way.  I created the decal design by printing a copy of a photograph of the nose art on regular printer paper in black and white.  I then traced the outline of the design onto another sheet of paper.  Then using plain old Crayola crayons and colored pencils, I colored in the design matching the original color as closely as possible.   Once this was done it was a simple matter to scan the decal, reduce it in size and print it on Testors decal paper.
 I gave the whole aircraft a good coat of Future to ensure a good surface for the deacls to stick to and laid on the custom decal and the national markings.  Unfortunately I didn’t have the correct numbers for the serial number on the tail.  I’ll claim artistic license there.

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