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TimT

New Lightning! Tamiya's P-38G

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p38e

 

My first WIP, and I’m stepping in the ring with this, Tamiya's brand new P-38G Lightning. Inside the beautifully designed box you get a sumptuous kit without a fussy mix of materials - just plastic, all of it crisply moulded and finely detailed.

 

I don’t think I would’ve chosen to build a P-38 without all the superlatives being thrown at Tamiya’s new tooling. However, it’s a fascinating subject, and part of the fun of building kits is the research it can lead you to. I’m going for the P-38G, Rex Barber’s legendary ride in Operation Vengeance, one of the longest interception missions in WWII. It seems to be widely accepted that he was the one who shot down Admiral Yamamoto’s Betty, although the controversy surrounding this is worth reading about (https://modelairplanemaker.com/2019/08/09/tamiyas-1-48-p-38-lightning-and-significance-of-miss-virginia/). 

 

Not only is it a compelling story, but the plane itself offers so many opportunities for weathering - a fun part of building Pacific theatre subjects (I sound as though I’m talking from experience, although I only have a Corsair under my belt so far). I'm hoping to get close to the beaten look of Barber's plane, complete with its lattice of marks left from the packing tape it was shipped in.

 

Zotz P-38 Miss virginia  (8)

 

 

I'll be building this OOB, apart from an Eduard seatbelt that might arrive one day (how about it, 1001modelkits?). The cockpit has a wealth of detail, and slips together with the kind of fit for which Tamiya are rightfully celebrated - ie. perfect.

 

 

p38b

 

p38c

 

I've heard that a more authentic colour for the interior would be closer to RAF Interior Green, but this is art and not life, and I wanted the punch of the yellowish green called out in the instructions. 

 

p38a

 

All the details were painted by hand. I gave the IP decal blobs of gloss coat over the dial faces - a nice pop against the Nato black of the panel. 

 

p38o

 

The tub sits in the fuselage snuggly; every part of the build reminds you of the level of engineering in this kit. I just hope I can do it justice. 

 

Thanks for your time!

Edited by TimT

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Nice start. Just love the P-38. Have Academy's and Hobby Boss's in the stash and now I'm going to have to get Tamiya's.

Will watch with interest.

Keep up the good work.

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Thanks for the response, Martian! 

Thanks Red! Totally recommend this kit if you're a P-38 fan. 

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Excellent start! I have this kit and it is stunning how well everything fits. I can't wait till Tamiya releases a J/L.

Incidentally, is the cannon in you picture bare metal? It kind of looks like it to me, but I suppose it could be a trick of the light.

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Good work so far, Tim!  I'm decalling mine now.  What a fun build, eh?  😄  I'm glad you're documenting your build as I couldn't be bothered, too much fun with assembly and painting to interrupt for photography.

 

I have two major bits of advice, which may sound as if they contradict each other: don't overthink your test fitting as it all but falls together, but on the other hand don't get too carried away sticking bits together too fast.  I created a few issues I needn't have dealt with by assuming I needed to flood certain joints with cement to ensure a good bond, and others by moving too quickly (which became a major temptation once I discovered how well the bits went together).  Get a perfect fit on mating surfaces and a wee drop of your favorite extra thin cement along the join ought to do it.  I like to add cement from the inside of joins if possible, and it usually was on this beastie.

 

Minor bit of advice: apparently some recent Tamiya kits have unfortunate reaction to lacquer paints.  I usually spray Tamiya and Gunze colours cut with lacquer thinner and this didn't bother the plastic one bit.  Unfortunately the Alclad aluminium I applied inside the main gear doors went a bit pebbly as I applied too much too fast.  Not the end of the world but I had to walk away from the bench for a mo.  Just a heads up.

 

Be glad you didn't order your seat harness from Roll Models (who were until recently located down the road from you in Eden Prairie)-- great selection and prices but slow boat from Mozambique delivery.  I think I'm going to cobble something up from etched buckles and paper, the seat can be installed last if you hold off on cementing down the transparencies.

 

Your mention of RAF cockpit green is the first I've heard of this, I understand some earlier p-38 marks may have had olive drab in the 'pit.  I think your interior green looks just as smashing as mine!

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Cockpit looks great, 

I'm a great fan of highly detailed kits that just fall together.

 

This one looks a treat, great detail out of the box and your clean paintwork and finishing has really done it justice. 

 

Looking forward to see how this develops.

 

Just out of interest, where are you lot keeping these larger models? I'd love to tackle some larger planes like the P38 and mossie but don't really have anywhere to put them afterwards 😄

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Cockpit looks great! 

 

I'm in the process of finishing up my Eduard special edition pacific lightning which is based on the Academy kit.  Whole raft of firsts for me, first time working with photo etch and resin, first time painting with an airbrush and first time trying any form of weathering so the mistakes are there to see but I'm still happy with it and what I'm learning. Tamiya's P-38 arrived for the stash the other day so following these builds with interest. 

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8 hours ago, Nachtwulf said:

Excellent start! I have this kit and it is stunning how well everything fits. I can't wait till Tamiya releases a J/L.

Incidentally, is the cannon in you picture bare metal? It kind of looks like it to me, but I suppose it could be a trick of the light.

Thanks! Although I'm not sure about the cannons. Trick of the light?

5 hours ago, Jackson Duvalier said:

Good work so far, Tim!  I'm decalling mine now.  What a fun build, eh?  😄  I'm glad you're documenting your build as I couldn't be bothered, too much fun with assembly and painting to interrupt for photography.

 

I have two major bits of advice, which may sound as if they contradict each other: don't overthink your test fitting as it all but falls together, but on the other hand don't get too carried away sticking bits together too fast.  I created a few issues I needn't have dealt with by assuming I needed to flood certain joints with cement to ensure a good bond, and others by moving too quickly (which became a major temptation once I discovered how well the bits went together).  Get a perfect fit on mating surfaces and a wee drop of your favorite extra thin cement along the join ought to do it.  I like to add cement from the inside of joins if possible, and it usually was on this beastie.

 

Minor bit of advice: apparently some recent Tamiya kits have unfortunate reaction to lacquer paints.  I usually spray Tamiya and Gunze colours cut with lacquer thinner and this didn't bother the plastic one bit.  Unfortunately the Alclad aluminium I applied inside the main gear doors went a bit pebbly as I applied too much too fast.  Not the end of the world but I had to walk away from the bench for a mo.  Just a heads up.

 

Be glad you didn't order your seat harness from Roll Models (who were until recently located down the road from you in Eden Prairie)-- great selection and prices but slow boat from Mozambique delivery.  I think I'm going to cobble something up from etched buckles and paper, the seat can be installed last if you hold off on cementing down the transparencies.

 

Your mention of RAF cockpit green is the first I've heard of this, I understand some earlier p-38 marks may have had olive drab in the 'pit.  I think your interior green looks just as smashing as mine!

Thanks for the words of wisdom, Jackson. It is tempting to plough through this build, but I thought documenting it would slow me down enough to appreciate the process. I'm sticking to Tamiya paints throughout, so hopefully will avoid any plastic reactions. As far the cockpit colour goes, this is where I got my info: https://imodeler.com/2019/10/information-for-those-building-the-tamiya-p-38/

5 hours ago, Squibby said:

Cockpit looks great, 

I'm a great fan of highly detailed kits that just fall together.

 

This one looks a treat, great detail out of the box and your clean paintwork and finishing has really done it justice. 

 

Looking forward to see how this develops.

 

Just out of interest, where are you lot keeping these larger models? I'd love to tackle some larger planes like the P38 and mossie but don't really have anywhere to put them afterwards 😄

 

1 hour ago, Lonners said:

Cockpit looks great! 

 

I'm in the process of finishing up my Eduard special edition pacific lightning which is based on the Academy kit.  Whole raft of firsts for me, first time working with photo etch and resin, first time painting with an airbrush and first time trying any form of weathering so the mistakes are there to see but I'm still happy with it and what I'm learning. Tamiya's P-38 arrived for the stash the other day so following these builds with interest. 

Thanks Squibby and Lonners. As far as storage goes for finished models...it's currently any available horizontal surface. This one might have to fly to my office - it really is quite large.

 

This would seem the perfect kit if airbrushing and weathering are fairly new techniques to you. Lots of surface area, no camo, paint that faded and chipped - perfect. Have fun with your build, and share it here!

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6 hours ago, TimT said:

As far the cockpit colour goes, this is where I got my info: https://imodeler.com/2019/10/information-for-those-building-the-tamiya-p-38/

Huh.  That didn't turn up in my pre-construction info search, and it's an intriguing perspective.  Tom Cleaver is generally trustworthy IMO, and Glacier Girl is about as close to a time capsule on this topic as we're likely to get.  However, GG is an F model from the -1 production block built on a pre-war 1941 contract.  Miss Virginia was a G model from the -13 production block, built on a 1943 contract when the US had been fighting tooth and nail for a whole year.  There was plenty of time for the cockpit colour to have changed away from the RAF spec. 

 

I respect Mr. Cleaver's work, but I find it hard to completely trust flat all-inclusive statements like "You can match the colors listed above to these photos... These are the colors used on the P-38F/G. Most of what passes for “information” on early P-38s is bad guesses, at best."  The latter sentence, while sadly true enough, rather undermines the previous, especially considering the time gap between an early F and a mid-production G, given the fateful events and changes that had transpired in the meantime.  

 

That's my rationalization, anyway, so I won't be tearing my model apart to fix its supposed inaccuracies.  Besides, everybody (pounds table with fist) knows that if you're using Tamiya paints you have mix a bit of IJN Grey to the Cockpit Green to get a precisely accurate British cockpit green for aircraft built on a Wednesday after lunch on days when Mercury was in retrograde.

 

If I build an F model Lightning, I'll certainly take Glacier Girl as my prototype.

 

So how's your kit building experience going?

 

Edited by Jackson Duvalier

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The build is going great - thanks for asking! 

 

The next step is the front wheel well, the ceiling of which completes the cockpit floor. This is part of the wing spar which - along with the single-section fuselage and upper wings - ensures the correct dihedral. 

 

p38g

 

It was all painted and given a panel line wash, with some initial weathering, before assembling. I think there'll be plenty of gunge splattered up in there later.

 

p38j

p38n

 

The upper and lower halves of the fuselage can then be stuck together, with the ballbearing nose weight fitting snugly between. Pretty satisfying.

 

p38m

 

I've also dry-fitted the super-chargers and exhaust, but won't glue these down until the whole thing is painted.

 

p38k

 

It's a nicely layered set of parts, each slotting into the next precisely, and the whole thing meshing seamlessly with the nacelles - or it will when glued down!

 

p38l

 

Thanks for your time. 

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I find myself slightly regretting I didn't affix the ball bearings with a healthy dose of superglue.  They rattle around otherwise.

 

Off to apply a few more of the 600 or so decals.  You may well beat me to RFI status, since all I've done so far is assemble and paint everything and apply maybe 40 decals.  😉  Which, might I add, seem to be a step up in quality from Tamiya's normal standard.

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On 11/18/2019 at 7:42 PM, Jackson Duvalier said:

Huh.  That didn't turn up in my pre-construction info search, and it's an intriguing perspective.  Tom Cleaver is generally trustworthy IMO, and Glacier Girl is about as close to a time capsule on this topic as we're likely to get.  However, GG is an F model from the -1 production block built on a pre-war 1941 contract.  Miss Virginia was a G model from the -13 production block, built on a 1943 contract when the US had been fighting tooth and nail for a whole year.  There was plenty of time for the cockpit colour to have changed away from the RAF spec. 

 

I respect Mr. Cleaver's work, but I find it hard to completely trust flat all-inclusive statements like "You can match the colors listed above to these photos... These are the colors used on the P-38F/G. Most of what passes for “information” on early P-38s is bad guesses, at best."  The latter sentence, while sadly true enough, rather undermines the previous, especially considering the time gap between an early F and a mid-production G, given the fateful events and changes that had transpired in the meantime.  

 

That's my rationalization, anyway, so I won't be tearing my model apart to fix its supposed inaccuracies.  Besides, everybody (pounds table with fist) knows that if you're using Tamiya paints you have mix a bit of IJN Grey to the Cockpit Green to get a precisely accurate British cockpit green for aircraft built on a Wednesday after lunch on days when Mercury was in retrograde.

 

If I build an F model Lightning, I'll certainly take Glacier Girl as my prototype.

 

So how's your kit building experience going?

 

It seems that according to technical orders the interior was finished in a colour that we as modellers would characterize as "interior green"... 

Nice progress! My hands are itching to start mine, too!!!

 

https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/hyperscale/early-f-g-p-38-color-questions-t510184.html 

 

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P-38F-1-LO Glacier Girl

 

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The P-38J-10-LO in NASM's Udvar-Hazy facility.

 

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spacer.png

 

 

Although a later version, this P-38J is unrestored and may provide a good insight in the original finish of OD/NG finished Lightnings.

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Thanks for the link to the Hyperscale discussion, Erik.  I feel much better about sticking with tinted zinc chromate and bronze-ish greens in the cockpit.

 

Are you done yet, Tim?   😁

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2 hours ago, Jackson Duvalier said:

Thanks for the link to the Hyperscale discussion, Erik.  I feel much better about sticking with tinted zinc chromate and bronze-ish greens in the cockpit.

 

Are you done yet, Tim?   😁

Ha! Not quite - heading into the weeds and the wheel wells.

 

Thanks for all those images, Erik - amazing, and very useful. Didn't get any good wheel well shots, by any chance?

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p38s

 

One of the wheel wells. The big ring at the end is the cup that the ballbearing boom weight will sit in. I made the walls quite grungy, but they'll be more spattered yet.

 

p38q

 

There's a good number of parts, and some quite small, but I managed to neither break nor lose them while painting - another small modeling victory.

 

p38u

 

Once in place, it all looks satisfyingly busy and layered. 

 

p38p

 

However, there's always some failed experiment or accident that throws things off. It feels early in the build for that, but I've just had two. One was certainly my fault: I thought I'd be clever by taking the solid jacket kit guns, apply the decal for the cooling holes then drill them out. But as I'm neither a brain surgeon nor a professional jeweler, I buggered it up completely. So, I got these instead:

 

p38t

 

Master brass barrels - easily an improvement, so my failed experiment became one of those blessings in disguise. But this isn't:

 

p38r

 

Not sure how it got mangled. Cat chewed it? Kids chewed it? I chewed it? Anyway, it's irreparable, so a replacement has been ordered. So much for OOB.

 

Thanks again for looking.

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1 hour ago, TimT said:

 

p38r

 

Not sure how it got mangled. Cat chewed it? Kids chewed it? I chewed it? Anyway, it's irreparable, so a replacement has been ordered. So much for OOB.

Looks like it fell and cracked. It doesn't happen often but it does happen. Looking good so far and cant wait till i can get one of these. 

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On 20/11/2019 at 19:18, TimT said:

Ha! Not quite - heading into the weeds and the wheel wells.

 

Thanks for all those images, Erik - amazing, and very useful. Didn't get any good wheel well shots, by any chance?

Not yet. Googling my b*tt off! 😇 Anyhow, there’s enough to be found, but if the findings / opinions are all up to date with the latest archeology / research, I don’t know...

 

https://forum.largescaleplanes.com/index.php?/topic/56661-p-38-wheel-well-color/#comment-686877

 

 

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Progressing nicely, shame about the tail damage. I can't really see the full extent of the damage but I'm thinking it may be salvageable through some bending and liberal filler application? 

 

Also really can't see what was wrong with the drilled out barrels. They looked fine in the photos.

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1 hour ago, Squibby said:

Progressing nicely, shame about the tail damage. I can't really see the full extent of the damage but I'm thinking it may be salvageable through some bending and liberal filler application? 

 

Also really can't see what was wrong with the drilled out barrels. They looked fine in the photos.

Perhaps someone with more patience and skills could save the tail, but it's crushed, twisted and split, so I took the shortcut and called Tamiya.

 

The photo of the guns was taken just before drilling commenced. It started OK, but as I went up the barrel it broke at the base, plus the holes were ragged with all the slips I made with the drill bit. It could work in theory, but it'll take a steadier hand than mine. 

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