So everyone knows what a P-47 is, right? The different variants used throughout its lifespan included both the razorback and bubble canopy versions. Seagull Models has had a 15cc (.60-.90 glow engine) sized ARF for several years now, and they’re no stranger to the ‘less modeled’ versions of aircraft. Case in point, Seagull manufactures the P-47G Razorback ARF, and has good sales numbers with it.
With the 2018 buyout of Hobbico, Horizon Hobby made some changes to what was available. Unfortunately, the buyout didn’t include the Top Flite Kits, only their ARF line. Duyen Luu, the CEO of Seagull Models reached out to me and asked me if I thought they should start manufacturing kit versions of the ARFs they were already producing. Of course, I told her that this would be a great idea!
Seagull started their new line of kits, labeled ‘Master Edition Kits’ with the 15cc P-47G. It was a relatively simple process, as the P-47G is an ARF that it currently being manufactured. A few tweaks to the layout of parts, and writing an instruction manual, and a new kit was born! Part one will cover the basic building of the airframe. Interested? If so, read on to find out how I built the new Seagull Models’ 15cc P-47G ‘Master Edition’ Kit!
Name: Seagull Models P-47G Master Edition Kit
Price: To Be Determined, but should be around $200.00
Wingspan: 63″ (1600 mm)
Length: 51.8″ (1315 mm)
Predicted Weight: 9.3-9.9 lbs (4.2-4.5 kg)
Engine: 15cc Gas (.60-.90 glow engine)
Radio Required: 6-9 Channel Transmitter and Receiver
Servos: 9 Standard (2 Aileron, 2 Flap, 2 Retracts, 1 Throttle, 1 Elevator, and 1 Rudder)
The P-47G Kit arrived in a box marked as an ARF, because the graphics hadn’t been completed by the time the factory sent me the pre-production sample. The parts that needed bagging were bagged, and there were also parts wrapped in paper. There were also several laser cut parts held together with rubber bands. All of the parts looked really nice, and the laser cutting on the banded pieces was smooth and nicely cut. I would imagine that the box layout of the production kits will look a little different than what you see in these photos.
The laser cutting on the sheet wood is excellent, and making the final cuts to remove parts was pretty easy. I only had trouble with one of the really thick sheets of ply. Most of the parts had their part number laser cut right into the part itself, but some pieces were just to small – they had their number located in close proximity, for easy identification.
The included hardware is of typical Seagull Models quality – almost all of their hardware is made in the factory, and is very usable! The first photo shows the square aluminum tube used as a building jig for the fuselage, and then later the wings. The painted pilot figure is a nice touch, and the fiberglass cowl comes primed white. LED wingtip lights, aluminum main gear retracts, and even a drop tank and bombs are included to help any modeler get a scale look with less effort.
Seagull has also included a set of full-sized plans. Unlike older kits, the plans are not used during the building process, other than as a resource for part location. I really liked the fact that they were full-size, which made it easy to find where parts were located and how they fit together.
An instrument panel decal is included, along with markings to reproduce ‘Snafu’. At this point, I’m not sure which color scheme I will do – time will tell!
Now here’s something you rarely see in a kit – a bottle of glue and a sanding bar! The included white glue sticks well, has a good thickness to it, and dries fairly clear. The sanding bar has a piece of 60-80 grit sand paper attached, so it’s really going to be useful for rough shaping parts!
Throughout this build, I will be referring to SLO-ZAP and ZAP-A-GAP. Both are obviously ZAP Adhesives, and great CAs to use for all your aircraft building needs. In addition to these products, a complete line of ZAP products are available at franktiano.com/zap-adhesive. Check out the link for the complete lineup!
In addition to the white glue included with the kit, I will also be using Titebond II Wood Glue – Some Bozo (me) forgot to put the cap on the white glue one night, and it dried out!
Let’s get building!
Building the Fuselage Frame
I began working on the fuselage by removing the three firewall pieces from their sheet. There are two different part numbers – F0 and F0′, and there is a specific order to their arrangement.
F0′ was set on the bench first, and the included white glue was spread evenly over the surface as shown. The first F0 was then set on top of F0′, and had white glue evenly applied like the first piece. A second F0 was then placed on top of the first F0 to complete the three-layer firewall.
When someone asks you, “Are you sure you have enough clamps?”, the only reply I know is, “Why – do you know someone that has some for sale?” Seriously, when building with glues like the included white glue, you will need clamps – LOTS of them! I used a mixture of ratcheting bar clamps and spring clamps to keep the three pieces of the firewall in place while the white glue dried.
As you can see, there are lots of lightening holes and other pieces that had to be removed from the parts. Though it doesn’t look like a P-47 fuselage yet, you’re actually looking at the side pieces of the internal structure. S1′ and S2′ were glued to S1 and S2 respectively, and left to dry with clamps holding the parts together.
S2 was marked and a good bead of ZAP ‘SLO-ZAP’ Thick CA was applied. The firewall assembly was set in place and the thick CA was allowed to cure. F1 and F2 were slid into place, aligned with a speed square, and glued in place with SLO-ZAP thick CA. When the CA had cured, the S1 assembly was glued and clamped in place, again using SLO-ZAP thick CA. At this point, the entire assembly is sitting on a couple of rolls of 2″ wide tape, as F1 and F2 have curved edges.
A pair of F3 formers and one F4 were glued in place using SLO_ZAP. I found it was easier to know exactly where to apply the thick CA by temporarily installing the part and tracing its outline on to the framework.
The servo mounting holes had to be lengthened by approximately 1.5mm to fit the Hitec HS-485HB Standard Deluxe servos. A sharp #11 hobby knife blade made easy work of this modification. When I was satisfied with the fit, the servo and fuel tank (front) tray FS1 was slid into place in between the frame sides and glued with SLO-ZAP.
It still doesn’t look much like a P-47, but we’ll get there soon enough!
F5, F6, F7, a pair of F8 formers, and F9 were all glued in place with SLO-ZAP.
I made the same modification to the elevator and rudder servo mounting holes before installing FS2 (the rear servo tray) in place with SLO-ZAP. Formers F10 and F11 followed.
OK, here’s where things got a little vague in the manual. It says to install Formers F12 and F13, and I installed F13 incorrectly. Rather than looking at the pushrod guide tube holes for proper spacing, I cut the tab on the former. Of course, I didn’t realize at this point that I had made a mistake – that revelation will come later. So, for now, I will say check your parts, then double check the installation before applying glue!
The next former consisted of three parts glued together – it’s the tailwheel bracket mounting former. After applying white glue to the two F14′ and one F14, the were clamped and allowed to dry. After a quick test-fit, I installed the four blind nuts that will later secure the tailwheel bracket. A drop of ZAP-A-GAP CA+ on each of the blind nuts will keep them in place until the bracket can be attached. With the white glue dry and ZAP-A-Gap CA+ cured, the F14 assembly was glued in place with SLO-ZAP.
The last of the main formers to be installed is F15. It’s fairly small in size, but has a big job to do later on – do you see that line in it? That’s a cutting line for a rudder hinge. We’ll get to that later.
Here’s a quick view of what the fuselage looks like so far. It still doesn’t look much like a P-47, but I promise you it’ll start to look a lot better very soon! So far, all of the parts I have put together have been either lite ply or Seagull’s balsa ply. It’s a pretty light and rigid structure already!
Starting at the firewall, I pushed the squared aluminum jig tube into special holes in select formers. This jig will help to keep the fuselage frame solid, straight, and square over the next series of building steps. The jig also makes a nice handle if you need to move the fuselage around during building!
F16, was installed between F11 and F2. It was glued in place with SLO-ZAP and had many tabs and slots to keep it aligned perfectly. F16 will become the mount for the removable hatch.
After cutting F2′ loose from the ply sheet, I traced its location onto F2. This gave me an idea as to where to apply the white glue. F2′ was then clamped in place until the glue had dried. The other four ‘sticks’ next to F2′ will get used next.
F27 was glued to the bottom side of F14 and F15, while the three F17 stringers were glued to slots in the top of formers F1 and F2.
I glued F26 to the bottom of each former From F1 through F13. It fit well! The two F18 Stringers were then glued in place on each lower side between F1 and F2.
SW1 and SW2 were glued in place with SLO-ZAP – SW1 on the right and SW2 on the left side of the frame. These will provide mounting switch locations for the receiver and ignition after the airframe has been built.
At this point, I was getting ready to install H7 – before I could do that, I needed to glue spacer F19′ and a blind nut to F19 using SLO-ZAP.
The F19 assembly was then glued to F12 and F11, and when the SLO-ZAP had cured, H7 was glued in place. The length of F19 and the slots in F16 do a great job of aligning H7 at the correct angle. SLO-ZAP was again used to glue H7 in place.
F32 (Balsa filler block mount) and a pair of F20 stringers were glued in place using SLO-ZAP.
A pair each of F21 and F23 became the curved section of the horizontal Stabilizer mount – The F23 ply parts were glues in place with SLO-ZAP, while the F21 thick balsa parts were glued using the included white glue and then clamped until the glue dried.
After removing the clamps, the excess balsa from both F21 parts was carved and sanded away until F21 was flush with F13, F15, and the rear sides of S1 and S2.
FW’ and F25′ were glued to each side of the fuselage with SLO-ZAP. The FW’ will later become the mounting surface for the wing panels.
A pair of F21 (wing attachment bolt doublers) were marked, glued and clamped in position. F25 and F24 were then glued in place using SLO-ZAP. F25 will require a decent amount of twisting to get the part to fit correctly, so a good soak with water will help soften the light ply to make it twist easily. F24 presented no issues and glued in easily.
A pair of H10 (hatch guides) were glued in place, which proved to be a bit of a challenge. with a tab on each end, I had to really flex the formers to get the H10 parts in place without breaking anything. In the end, they both went in place!
I cut the two longer pushrod guide tubes into 4 equal lengths of 36cm (just under 14.25 inches) and ’rounded’ one end of each tube. When I started trying to install the tubes, I realized that I had installed Former F13 backward. I grabbed a small piece of scrap ply, glued it in place on the left side of F13, and drilled holes in the proper location. Problem solved – but it’s easier to avoid from the beginning! The guide tubes were glued in place using the included white glue on each side of every former through which they passed.
One Last Job Before Sheeting…
I tried to deviate from the plans and instructions as little as I possibly could, but this was one area I found that needed a little help. It was an easy fix with some patience, and added very little weight. While doing some planning and looking at the layout of the sheets, I noticed that there was not much surface for the sheets to glue to at an edge. To remedy this situation, I cut thin scraps of balsa and glued them to each location that would have the edge of a sheet on it. This provided more surface area for the sheeting to adhere to the edge of a former. Yes, it took some time, and added a little weight, but I believe the strength of the fuselage will be of more benefit than a couple ounces of balsa…
OK, enjoy the view – it’s the last time you’ll see the fuselage with no sheeting installed!
Sheeting the Fuselage
As you can see, Seagull Models has taken the time to carefully laser cut all of the individual sheeting sections to shape. This will make sheeting much easier than trying to guess exactly where and how to cut! It looks like a lot, but the sheets go on pretty easily – just remember to use plenty of water to soak the areas that will need to be curved. believe me, there were a lot of curves on this beautiful looking fuselage!
The first two sheets to go on were SH3 and SH4. I used plenty of water to wet the balsa to form the top deck, and SLO-ZAP to glue it in place. A razor blade and a straight edge made trimming the edge of the sheeting easy, where the two sheets met at the top center of the decking.
Instead of following the manual word for word, I decided to get a couple of sheets installed on the left side of the fuselage. SH2 took some preparation (light sanding of the forward edge) to get laid on the frame correctly, as well as some water to wet a few curves. It took a while, but the results were definitely worth the time. I used a combination of SLO-ZAP and white glue to keep the sheeting in place. SH13 followed SH2, and was easy. It did take a lot of soaking and some work to get the sheeting to lay over F14 and F15 properly. My trusty clamps held SH13 in place while the SLO-ZAP cured.
SH1 and SH14 were glued in place on the right side, mirroring the left. The balsa sheeting was carved and sanded so it was flush with F32.
A pair of SH11 sheets closed up the front section of the fuselage. Now it’s really starting to look good!
OK, so we’ve finally made it to what I thought would be the hardest sheet to install correctly. As it turns out, I just had to have the patience to let the water do the hard work. Once SH7 had been fully soaked, it was flexible enough to bend around the complex curves fairly easily! With the left side done, I installed the right side with no issues, but I’m glad they’re done!!!
An SH12 sheet was installed on each side next, and required a little edge sanding for a perfect fit. This piece also must be soaked well to make the curves without cracking.
A SH6 was installed on each lower side of the wing mount, and also required a good soaking. These pieces will only fit properly in one spot, so test-fit them before applying any glue! Once installed, they look great!
SH5 went on the left side of the belly, and was again a compound curve. water is still your best friend to get these sheets to lay right and look good. Using the combination of SLO-ZAP and white glue is great for these curved areas!
After installing the remaining SH5, a pair of SH8 sheets were installed – Both of the SH8 sheets cracked on me, despite soaking them well. The areas that cracked were right on joint lines where two sheets had been joined, so it was understandable. A thin piece of scrap on the inside reinforced the cracks, and some ZAP-A-GAP CA+ took care of the rest. I will fill the cracks with filler prior to final sanding.
The balsa filler blocks, F30 and F31 were cut from their balsa sheet and test-fit. They didn’t appear to be quite wide enough, so I grabbed a couple pieces of scrap balsa to add in. This proved to be a good idea. The layers were glued in place with white glue, and held in place with blue painter’s tape while the glue dried.
With that, the sheeting was complete, and it was time to build the removable battery hatch!
Moving on to the hatch, I started by clamping the hatch floor to the fuselage with waxed paper under the areas to be glued. H2 and H3, along with their stringer were glued in place with SLO-ZAP.
H4, H5, and H6 followed, along with their stringer, and were glued in place with SLO-ZAP. With all of the edges sanded, I added small scrap strips to the hatch like I did for the fuselage sheeting.
Sheets SH9 and SH10 completed the sheeting for the hatch – both required a decent amount of wetting to get them to lay correctly. Any small imperfections and gaps will be filled prior to final sanding.
Lastly, a pair of H10′ were glued together and installed to each side of the rear of the hatch and a blind nut was installed. Also a small ‘L’ latch was installed at the front end of the hatch.
A bit of sanding, and it’s really looking like a P-47 – especially with the canopy sitting in place! Now, there’s still a bit more work to do on the fuselage, but I have to build the wings to proceed with the wing mounts on the fuselage.
Building the Wings
The first step in building the wings is to prepare the wing alignment jig. This jig is made by cutting the fuselage squared tube at 41 cm, thus separating the tube into two pieces. A pair of ply W31 angles make up the rest of the jig. The two W31 parts are glued together and then slid into the ends of the tube to make the completed jig. I laid the jig over the plans to make sure that the angle was correct, and it was.
W28 and W29 were glued together using white glue, and clamped together while the glue dried. This assembly will be the flap and aileron hinge mounting area, so glue the two parts together well!
I cut all the ribs from their light ply sheets, and got them ready. W2 (inner root rib) was squared to W27 (main spar), and then W3, W4, W7, W8, W9, W10, W11, and W12 were glued to the main spar with ZAP-A-GAP CA+.
After gluing the inner leading edge to the front of ribs W2 through W11, The alignment jig was clamped in place on the root rib and inner leading edge. The W28/29 assembly that was previously glued together was then scored and cracked (NOT COMPLETELY BROKEN) and glued to the rear of ribs W2 through W12. I did add a little extra glue to the crack to reinforce it.
W15 was glued in place, and the tip of W28/29 was sanded flush with W12. W13 was then glued in place in the ‘fork’, creating the wingtip.
W32 and W15′ completed the wingtip for now.
Half-ribs W5 and W6 were glued to W4 and W7 respectively and a pair of W21 retract mounts were glued together and installed in W5 and W6. I followed the instructions on the first wing, and installing the W21 parts was difficult. For the second wing, I installed W5, W6, and the two W21 simultaneously, which made installation a lot easier!
Apparently, I forgot to cap the white glue when I was done building the night before, so it had dried out enough to where it was no longer usable. I switched over to using Titebond II premium wood glue, because I had a full bottle on hand and it works really good on balsa and lite ply. A total of four W22 (two doubled up on each side) were glued on top of W21, followed by a W23 on top of each pair of W22. W19 (toward the leading edge) and W20 (toward the trailing edge) completed the retractable gear mounting blocks. The Titebond II glue and clamps made sure all parts stayed in place!
A pair of W34 and a nylon nut were assembled, glued, and clamped to the wing – This nut will keep the wing tight to the fuselage in conjunction with the wing bolt, so glue it WELL!
WS3, WS4, and two WS5 servo hatch mounting plates were glued to their respective locations on the bottom side of the wing.
A blind nut was installed in W18, and the assembly was glued to the outside (toward the wingtip) of W3.
W41 (trailing edge sheeting) was glued in place with Titebond II wood glue and clamped until the glue dried. Yes, I like using clamps – LOTS of clamps!
The wheel well laser cutout was removed from sheet W39, and ply frame W25 was glued to W39.
I once again deviated from the manual a bit at this point. The instructions say to install the lower front sheeting to the wing at this point, before installing the leading edge. This didn’t feel right to me, so I installed the ‘gun block’ balsa to the inner leading edge, followed by the rest of W44 (the leading edge). W44 had to be cut and glued to each side of the gun block, and was clamped in place until the glue had dried.
The gun block portion of the leading edge was carved and sanded to match the bevel of W44, and then the W39/W25 sheeting assembly was installed. I used a combination of SLO-ZAP and Titebond II wood glue, and sandwich bags full of play sand to hold the sheeting in place while the glues cured/dried. W30 is a lite ply bomb mount, and it was installed with wood glue.
Sheets W35 and W36 were installed over the flap and aileron hatch mounts with SLO-ZAP and wood glue.
W33 (Wing joiner tube stop) and W16 (Rib doubler) were installed on opposite sides of rib W4. the cardboard wing joiner tube sleeve was inserted through the holes in the ribs and all the way into W33. Wood glue was applied to all joints between the tube sleeve and the wood ribs. The tube sleeve was cut off flush with the outside of rib W2.
W38 (the top wing sheeting) was then glued to the top side of the wing and weighted with sand bags. Again, a combination of SLO-ZAP and wood glue were used for optimum sheeting adhesion.
Sheet W40 was added to the top side of the wing, thus completing the first wing half. I test-fit the aluminum joiner tube in the wing, and it fit very nicely! A portion of the joiner tube sleeve was cut to size and glued into the fuselage. In the bottom middle photo, you can see W1 and FW on the fuselage wing mount. FW will be glued to the wing mount area of the fuselage, and W1 is glued to W2 on the wing. The fore and aft wing locator pins are glued into the holes in the wing. With all parts glued in place, it made a good, solid fit between the wing and fuselage.
At this point, I built the left wing half just as I did the right wing.
Building the Flaps and Ailerons
I cut all of the flap ribs from the ply sheets and gathered the balsa parts as well. The ribs were glued to WA15 with SLO-ZAP, and the balsa block was glued with wood glue. WA14, WA19, and WA18 were glued in place with wood glue and clamped until the glue dried. All of the flap parts are self explanitory and fit together very well!
The ailerons were built in the same manner as the flaps, except that I used blue painter’s tape to hold the beveled leading edge in place while the wood glue dried. Like the flaps, the aileron parts fit very well and went together easily.
Horizontal Stabilizer and Elevator Halves
I started the stabilizer by gluing the lite ply outer frame and ribs together with SLO-ZAP, and the lower sheeting was glued in place with wood glue. A pair of shaped balsa blocks (ST12) were glued to the top and bottom sides of the stabilizer tips. Spring clamps held them in place while the wood glue dried.
Moving on to the elevator halves, I noticed a small mistake in the instructions, plans, and parts count. There were only parts for one of the TS1′ per elevator half, but each half requires two parts. I sent a quick email to Seagull to notify them of what I found. I had a response within an hour that they had changed the laser cutting plan, the parts count, and the instructions to include a total of four pieces of TS1′. Now that’s what I call service! Because of Seagull’s location, I opted to cut out my own TS1′ extra parts rather than wait for delivery so I could move on with the build. The elevator ribs were glued to one of the ST15 sheets with SLO-ZAP.
I applied wood glue to the top side of the ribs and sheeting, and installed a second ST15. When the wood glue had dried, I removed the clamps and glued the beveled leading edge and rounded tip blocks in place.
The top stabilizer sheeting was glued in place with wood glue and weighted down until dry. The last photo shows the completed stabilizer and elevator halves prior to final shaping.
Vertical Stabilizer and Rudder
The vertical stabilizer was built according to the manual, using SLO-ZAP to glue it together. The parts all fit together very well!
I felt that there just wasn’t enough surface area for the rudder CA hinges to adhere to, so I added a few pieces of 3/32″ balsa scrap to the inside of the Fin’s trailing edge. Wood glue was applied to the ribs and outside frame of the fin, and the sheeting and shaped balsa blocks were applied. Though the structure looks complicated, it went together very easily!
When the glue had dried, I added T17, a pair of T18, and a pair of T16 curved balsa blocks.
The rudder was built in the same manner as the elevator halves, with the ribs and T13 glued to one of the sheet T20 with SLO-ZAP. When the thick CA had cured, the other T20 was glued in place with wood glue and held with clamps until the glue had dried, The rudder’s beveled leading edge, T21, was glued in place along with the curved balsa tip blocks.
Carving, Shaping, and Sanding
I know, I know, this step most likely took the longest of all. Believe me when I say, it’s not much fun to watch, so there’s no photos of the sanding process. Instead, check out the next section with all the final sanded parts, ready for covering!
I have a few more spots to fill yet and get sanded before the covering goes on, but all-in-all, she’s looking really nice! Part two will go over covering the Master Edition P-47G Kit from Seagull Models, so keep an eye out for that. I really enjoyed building the Razorback, and look forward to covering and final assembly as well! This is definitely not a beginner’s kit, but anyone that has a few building skills should be able to tackle this project and end up with a straight and true warbird!
One other note – There’s a couple of parts that will be added to the P-47 after covering, so if you see that I may have ‘missed’ something, I probably didn’t. It’s still coming in Part two or three of the review!
That’s all for now. From my shop to yours – Happy Landings! -GB
Seagull Models: seagullmodels.com
ZAP Adhesives: www.franktiano.com
SIG Manufacturing: sigmfg.com
VQ Warbirds: vqwarbirds.com
Titebond II Wood Glue: www.titebond.com