Republic’s big Thunderbolt was best known for its ground attack and close support work.
So after the jump, a colorful example from the 9th Air Force.
It is ironic that a type designed to excel at high altitude would become best known for tank busting. Doubly so since early versions of the Thunderbolt were remarkably sluggish on the deck. But later aircraft of the “D” family had more powerful versions of the R-2800 engine adding water/methanol boost and massive “paddle blade” propellers made significant improvements. This is also an example of how later in the war incremental changes could be added to a type that would have surely generated a new letter type earlier in the war. “D” model Thunderbolts come with razorback or bubble canopies, different engines, different gun sights and at least three different propellers.
Late in the war, the 9th Air Force had converted almost entirely to the P-47. It was valued for its fire power, ability to carry heavy ordnance, and extreme durability. Unlike the long ranging 8th Air Force, the 9th would generate few aces or headlines.
This particular aircraft is from the 405th Fighter Group in 1945. The Army Air Force had stopped worrying about camouflage; it saved time, money and weight to leave the camo off. And yet well supplied and fully staffed bases in the rear found plenty of time to make their aircraft colorful!
This from the Hasegawa kit with Aeromaster decals. Both Hasagawa and Tamiya offer excellent kits of this aircraft in this scale. I prefer the Tamiya kit, but qualitative differences are slight enough I would say availability and price may be the main determinants.