This is a brief description of the "Thunderbirds" release of the Tamiya F-84G kit #61060, as kit #61077. The prior "American" release is reviewed elsewhere on this site. This kit was purchased at one of my local hobby shops.
There are four changes to the prior "American" release in this "Thunderbirds" release of the kit. They are the "Thunderbirds" decals, new box art, aluminum vacu-plating to simulate a "natural metal" finish, and instructions geared to the "Thunderbirds" livery. Otherwise, the kit is unchanged from the eariler releases. This means the errors present in the other releases are not corrected. Not that I expected them to be corrected, as even minor changes to the mold would be quite on the expensive side of Tamiya's accountants' ledgers. Nevertheless, I think the least Tamiya could have done was to correct the "extra" bracing straps on the canopy as that is a rather visible error. I also think that correction could have been made without incurring a prohibitive cash outlay.
As for the vacu-plating, there is -- if you'll pardon the time warp -- good news and bad news. The good news, is, the plating looks great -- in the package. However, based on my experience with (a) other plated kits, and (b) building the prior Tamiya kit, I'll be willing to bet the plating will suffer serious deterioration during assembly and glue application. But that's not all. There are three additional problems. First, how is one to remove the flash without creating areas to be re-metalized in some manner? Certainly, there is minimal flash, but what there is, particularly around the vertical tail, must be removed -- then painted to blend with the plating. Second, how is one to remove the seams, the most prominent of which is on the aft upper fuselage? Removing that seam alone will require a fair amount of "blend the paint" skills by the modeler. Finally, there are a number of sink marks in prominent places, for example on the upper surfaces of the wings and just under the canopy on both sides of the fuselage. They are visible enough that they will require filling, and filling these sink marks will ruin the surrounding plating.
The decals furnished are for 51-16720, 1953 season, and 51-16719, 1954 season. Although the decals are quite thick, they are right on the money for precision, both in color registration and in registration on the tightly-trimmed carriers. I am aware some modelers don't like Tamiya's decals as "they are too thick." On the other hand, the color and registration quality of the sheet in this kit is second to none, and, in my opinion, they are the high point of this kit. However, there is the Airways Graphics "Thunderbirds" sheet ... !
In summary, I think this kit will be a tough build straight from the box because of the plating. I'm a pretty experienced modeler, and I don't think I could make the kit look great without "ignoring" the plating by filling the seams and sink areas, then repainting it with a metalizer-type paint. If I'm going to have to do that, why pay the extra ten bucks premium for the plating? I'd just get the "regular" kit along with the Airways Graphics decals and ... well, you get the picture. And, whichever way you decide to build, remember to correct the canopy.
The box art and the decal sheet are shown below.
Box art, Tamiya 1/48th scale F-84G Thunderjet, kit #61077.
Decal sheet, Tamiya 1/48th scale F-84G Thunderjet, kit #61077.
The original release of Tamiya's F-84G is moderately priced at about $30.00. This plated version is priced at $40.00. Compared to the ProModeler Thunderjet kit at about $23.00, the original Tamiya release is somewhat high-priced. This kit is even more high-priced in comparision, and, in my opinion, the plating does nothing to "help" the kit. The original release is a much better buy, and, in the long run, probably easier to build. So, my recommendation is, if you want to build a "Thunderbirds" version of the Tamiya kit, buy the original release along with the Airways Graphics decals.