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TimT

New Lightning! Tamiya's P-38G

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Hi

The P-38 belongs since my youth to my favourite planes, but we all known that no perfect kit was on the market till Tamiya has released this super duper high engineering kit, so she will come on my Must-Have-List. Your build will be my inspiration and i need to follow your thread, its a joy how you do it.

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Tim, are you planning on using the kit-supplied decals or do you have aftermarket decals of Miss Virginia? I’m kind of curious how the Tamiya decals work. Do they blend in nicely, or will the decalfilm stay visible...

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1 hour ago, Erik B said:

Tim, are you planning on using the kit-supplied decals or do you have aftermarket decals of Miss Virginia? I’m kind of curious how the Tamiya decals work. Do they blend in nicely, or will the decalfilm stay visible...

I hear that the decals work OK on this one - not too thick, and all the images I've seen don't have any obvious silvering. I'll keep you updated as this goes; so far I've only applied three - the IP, the placard on the steering column, and the guns, and they all did what they're supposed to. 

 

Thanks for having a look, Harry - I'm sure I'll make more mistakes so perhaps you don't have to! I've always found other build logs helpful to avoid pitfalls, but this kit really can't be blamed - if anything doesn't align or fit, it's got to be something I've done. But so far so good for the most part.

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I didn't find too much on P-38 wheel wells, certainly not period photos where the colours are really clear. photos: ww2aircraft.net

This is a museum bird:

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And the nose gear well with cover. No idea if that would be on a P-38G too:

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What I did conclude from looking at photos was that the early P-38's up until the F had aluminium (painted) u/c-legs but that from somewhere during production of the P-38G they seem to be finished in grey.

 

P-38G-1-LO Lightning, serial 42-12723, alu nosewheel leg. Photos from Wikimedia

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P-38G Lightning 42-13437 “The Golden Eagle”(P-38G-10-LO), pilot: Capt Billie Beardsley of the 51st Fighter Group 449th FS Twin Tailed Dragons (photos from worldwarphotos.info). Observe no undernose antenna, block tread nose wheel, diamond tread main wheels.

Either the aluminium paint is VERY dirty or the gear is finished in Neutral Grey:

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P-38G Lightning s/n 42-13173 “Sweet Pea” (P-38G-10-LO) of the 97th FS 82nd Fighter Group. Note the diamond-tread nosewheel. I remember having read somewhere that P-38F's and G's were not normally seen with this thread, that they became more common after the introduction of the P-38J. Maybe so, I don't know the date this photo was taken, so maybe it was an old -G still soldiering on in '44 or so...

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Tim, I hope you are okay with these photos in your build log. If you find them intrusive, let me know and I'll remove them / my post.

 

Cheers,

Erik.

Edited by ErikB
photo credits added

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Tim, to show you how spot on you are with your cockpit, here some pics from the NASM P-38J-10-LO. Reading the aircraft's history is very interesting BTW, it was a prototype for a two seat variant. When it was returned to being a single-seater, it was upgraded to P-38J-25-LO level. I don't know what that precisely entails, but hey, for the record!

 

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Cheers,

Erik.

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Hi Tim, 

 

Great work so far! Keep it up :)

 

You probably saw Chris Wauchop's P38. If not, definitely take a look. Amazing stuff. That's his most recent build. 

 

Enjoy the build! 

 

Best, 

Nikola

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Sorry to see that tail damage, Tim.  Hope it doesn't rob you of momentum!

 

Great photos, Erik!  Thanks for sharing them.

 

I'm finishing mine straight OOTB but I'm using PVA on the nose/guns, transparencies, and wheels.  If I feel the urge to upgrade to Master guns or Ultracast block tread wheels later I can do that without breaking a welded seam.

 

I found it interesting Tamiya left out the nose antenna mast.  Also a bit disappointed in the choice to represent the holes in the barrel jackets with a decal, seems chintzy given the quality of the rest of the kit.  Nevertheless, we'll give it fair trial.

 

EDITED TO ADD:

 

Someone above asked about the decals.  They seem a bit thinner and more responsive to decal solvents than the normal Tamiya transfers, but still not at a Cartograf level.  That being said, they'll go over matte finish paint without silvering if you mash down on them with a cotton bud or such like.  It's still safer to apply them over gloss and not mash down on them at all.  Follow the normal Tamiya decal protocols: use hot water, apply strong solvent (Solvaset or Mr. Mark Softer) after decal is in final position.

 

I've only made a total hash of one small stencil out of the hundred or so included on the sheet, and no I won't tell you where.  😔

Edited by Jackson Duvalier

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First off, thanks to Erik for that trove of incredible images - a resource I'm going to be consulting throughout this build. I wish I had those cockpit shots earlier on! That's a generous amount of research, so thanks again.

 

Tamiya sent me a replacement boom pretty quickly, so I've made some progress. Here it is:

 

p38w

 

The left boom wheel well in progress.

 

p38v

 

The oil cooler innards painted. The left filter is visible through the front openings, so I dry-brushed it Titanium Gold, although the right one isn't, so I left it Neutral Grey. 

 

p38x

 

The radiator screen is a decal for the front and back, which is fine given how deep inside the cover it sits.

 

p382

 

Oil cooler and radiator covers installed, all engineered to fit seamlessly along panel lines. With paint and a little cleaning, there really will be no visible difference between the panel lines cast in the plastic and seams where parts attach.  

 

p38z

 

And with that - the booms are done, and can be attached;

 

p383

 

p385 p384

 

Now it looks like a Lightning! With its giant wingspan, it's such an unlikely looking fighter; it's hard to imagine the P-38 banking sharply in a dogfight with a Zero, but the design was obviously solid given its record. Plus it looks amazing!

 

Quicker than I thought, painting this thing can start soon.

 

Thanks for looking, and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Some progress on the cockpit. 

 

p38_10

 

The radio with a couple of extra placards and some fiddly masking to get it painted.

 

p38_9

 

The seat, with added Eduard harness. I tried to custom build my own, but I couldn't get a satisfying solution. With all the small and highly visible detail, I didn't want to compromise on this one. The result when it all comes together is pretty gratifying.

 

p38_7

 

p38_6

 

p38_5

 

p38_8 p38_11

 

As always, thanks for looking!

 

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1 hour ago, Back in the Saddle said:

This is coming together beautifully

Thanks, Matt! Much appreciated.

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Looks like you followed Chris Wauchop's lead with the armour painted a dullish dark green, which I also did.  My seat got a coat of "Bronze Green" to mix it up a little further.  She's looking good!

 

It really surprised me how fast this big complicated thing goes together once the cockpit and wheel bay subassemblies are taken care of.

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14 minutes ago, Jackson Duvalier said:

Looks like you followed Chris Wauchop's lead with the armour painted a dullish dark green, which I also did.  My seat got a coat of "Bronze Green" to mix it up a little further.  She's looking good!

 

It really surprised me how fast this big complicated thing goes together once the cockpit and wheel bay subassemblies are taken care of.

Yes - Chris Wauchop's build is a real inspiration (https://chriswauchop.com/2019/09/18/tamiya-1-48-p-38g-lightning/), and certainly one of the reasons I committed to the kit. 

 

And yes, it's encouraging that after a fairly slow and painstaking set of subassemblies, this thing suddenly becomes a plane. Now I'm looking forward to the next stage; painting this will be where the fun really starts. 

 

Thanks for your comments, Jackson. Share some pics of yours!

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I'm terribly lazy with the camera, no other excuse.  I've stepped back from it the past week, as life was occurring all around me.  Took a fresh look after seeing your post and I've got some builders remorse now that I've lost momentum-- the kit decals are comprehensive... and thick.  I can usually get those heavy-duty Tamiya stickers to disappear after application using the hot water/hot solvent/a good varnishing-or-three method.  Not this time.  The carrier film is still prominent to my eye, especially all those lovingly applied stencils. Might be that I used Tamiya clear flat rather than the Vallejo I normally use? 

 

The red fuel filler stencils were especially difficult to apply in each of six individual places they go, as the optical qualities of carrier film over setting solution over air gap deprived me of any visual reference to center them, so some of them are obviously wonky.  Be extra careful with those!

 

So I'm a bit glum over it all.  Nevertheless I'll be getting on with it now that work and home life have settled down.  Next challenge is the exhaust stains.

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Between all the other things that get between me and this model, I managed to build and insert the gunsight - some more fiddly masking (not all of it successful).

 

p38_13

 

I also masked the canopies: the kit comes with printed templates for this, which helps a lot. Then I buttoned the whole thing up. I've opted for a closed canopy on this one; there's plenty of faux glass to see the cockpit, plus I want the lines of the plane intact. 

 

p38_14

 

p38_15

 

At this point, after wiping it down with alcohol, I was ready to apply primer. I went with Tamiya Super Fine grey, which has worked well for me in the past.

 

p38_19

 

I sprayed the underside with Neutral Grey in a fairly even coat, which I modified with a slightly darker shade. Straight from the jar, I think XF-53 is too dark for what I want to do, but it's a good starting place. I'm foregoing pre-shading in favor of layering as I go, working between dark and light as necessary.

 

p38_18

 

p38_17

 

p38_16

 

It's a bit patchwork at the moment, but the whole thing will be unified with more layers. I'll also use something other than an airbrush in the next stage to approximate the variety of stains, patches and wear and tear these birds sported. 

 

Thanks for looking!

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On 12/10/2019 at 9:05 PM, Thom216 said:

Nice modulations.

Ha! Thanks, Thom. Isn't that a Beach Boys song?

 

The underside continued with lots of stains, chips and other flavours of weathering. It looked horribly over-cooked at first, but I pushed it back with some thinned down layers of Neutral Grey.

 

p38_20

 

As noted with a few other builds of this plane, the original was shipped with packing tape over the panel lines to protect it from the elements;

 

 

p38-WRG-0016989

 

It was a distinctive aspect of the plane when in service too, and I wanted to emulate the pale grid left behind by the tape when it was removed. After covering the upper fuselage in a lightened mix of Olive Drab (with a hair of Deck Tan added), I mummified the panel lines and sprayed neat Olive Drab - plus some darker shades - to get the right contrast, which is pretty distinct in all the images I've seen.

 

p38_21 p38_22 P38_23

 

This'll be modified as layers build, but I'm happy enough with the effect so far. I also sprayed the wing roots silver, hairsprayed them and gradually chipped away the green to emulate the worn paint where the crew walked. Now I can probably remove the blue tac caterpillars and work some more weathering across the whole thing. 

 

Thanks for looking! I'm sure as the holidays commence, everyone will - including me - get to push their projects along when the opportunity arises. 

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Having messed up the guns supplied with the kit, I upgraded to Master barrels, executed flawlessly in brass. They are a small addition that makes a large difference to the feel of the P-38's bristling nose armament. I lopped off the plastic barrels from their mount and drilled holes that the metal versions could just about get a purchase on. 

 

p38_25

 

They really look the part when attached, and certainly an improvement on one of the few disappointing details of this kit. 

 

p38_24

 

 

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Nice to see you back at it, some incredible work going on since that tail damage got resolved.

I think you nailed those tape marks, and the weathering over the wing root looks great as well.

 

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3 hours ago, Squibby said:

Nice to see you back at it, some incredible work going on since that tail damage got resolved.

I think you nailed those tape marks, and the weathering over the wing root looks great as well.

 

Thanks, Squibby - much appreciated. I was thinking about repainting the wing roots; it just doesn't feel quite right yet - more worn down than chipped. I think I let the paint cure too long, and the hairspray beneath didn't break it up as I hoped. At least without camouflage, this is much easier to redo.

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Personally I wouldn't mess with it, it looks realistically worn down rather than having large discrete chunks of paint missing. In my opinion real paint chips are quite small and the usual stark chipping you see on models is way out of scale for most subjects.

I've tried for ages to get that worn chipped effect you achieved with a 'modelling' chipping solution. I might need to try hairspray since it seems to work quite nicely. 

 

Your choice though, it's looking great

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Thanks - that's very helpful feedback. I hadn't thought of it that way, and I might leave it as is. Cheers, Squibby!

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Hi Tim, following this with keen interest, such a beautiful airplane and a great build.  Always in awe of those who can paint cockpit details and not have it come out looking like a toddler did it.  And the tape marks are a really nice touch, what a great idea, very creative.  Keep up the amazing work! :)

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Thanks, Mik! Very encouraging - it's a real motivation to keep going with a shared build.  

 

One small update: I painted and test-fitted the supercharger - one of the P-38's iconic features. It was a combination of numerous metallic finishes and various coats of rusty colours, brushed, sponged and sprayed, and I'm pleased with the result so far.

 

p38_26

 

The giant pale exhaust trail will be added to later. 

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Both superchargers are now installed, and I've started adding the long exhaust trails down the twin booms. More will be added to these after the decals are on and the final stages of weathering has begun.

 

p38_27

 

 

I think I've gotten as far with the idea of taped-and-exposed panel lines as I can at this stage. Again, more chipping, staining and dripping will be added after the dozens of decals have been applied. 

 

p38_28

 

This is what I'm trying to approximate:

 

Zotz-P-38-Miss-virginia-3

 

After the hump of Christmas, I should have time to surgically remove all the masking from the wheel wells (hopefully without breaking the thin gear bay door struts), stick on the undercarriage and doors, clear coat the thing and stick on decals. Then it's getting close to the end, and I'll have to buy another one!

 

Thanks for looking, as always.

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