Hobbymaster 1/48th scale HA8407 P-47D Thunderbolt 56th FG, CO. Col. David Schilling, “Hairless Joe” England June 1944. Buy online at Flying Tigers.
The Republic Aviation P-47 “Thunderbolt” entered service in May 1942 with the introduction of the P-47B. It had a “Razorback”, a high dorsal spine behind the side-ways opening canopy that reduced visibility. As improvements were made a “D” variant was produced with 12,602 being manufactured. The British developed a sliding bubble canopy for their Typhoon and this was adopted by the USAAF starting with the P-47D-5. With its ability to survive enemy fire along with impressive armament and bomb load the P-47 excelled at ground attack roles.
By the end of WWII Col. David Schilling was the third-ranking ace of the 56th FG “Zemke’s Wolf Pack” having flown 132 combat missions with 22.5 air victories and 10.5 ground victories. On December 23, 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge, David Schilling shot down 3 BF-109s and 2 FW-190s when USAAF aircraft encountered over 100 German aircraft. Schilling was promoted to CO of the 56th FG when Zemke was captured. The nose art on 42-26641 was a popular cartoon character of the time “Hairless Joe” from Al Capp’s “Dogpatch”.