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P-38G Lightning, "Babe" of the 48th FS, Tunisia 1943


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Evening all,

 

Here is my most recent completed build - the excellent 1/48 P-38G Lightning from Tamiya. This is a well known kit so I won't go into much detail about it, but suffice to say it is near perfect, and probably the best kit I've built. Tamiya have done an excellent job designing a kit which is easy to build, goes together well with no gaps, allows for strong location of landing gear/gear doors and has great detail. It's a shame that their decals are so thick. However, that is where Exito Decals come in with this:

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The set has been reviewed right here on Britmodeller already:

Without repeating what Mike has already said, the Exito decals are well printed (by Cartograf! so expect good things) and offer some unique albeit racy marking options. I chose the 3rd option, Lt. Edgar L. Yarberrys P-38G of the 48th FS as used in Tunisia in June 1943. This allowed me to use the nose art in the decal set, and play around with some interesting weathering options given the desert conditions.

Without further waffling, here's the build

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I think this is my best build so far (very few mistakes which is pretty good for me :D) and I'm tempted to get another P-38 already, though I may wait for the almost inevitable P-38J or L from Tamiya.

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I used Gunze/Mr Color C304 for the OD, and MRP Neutral Grey for the...er, netural grey. Is C304 the right shade? I don't know - it seems a close match to the spray can Tamiya recommend in their instructions, and to some reference photos of restored P-38s I've seen, but is probably a little light for the OD used, but hey, maybe the Tunisian sun has bleached it? Aside from these, I used MRP signal red, MRP black, Tamiya flat yellow, Tamiya LP-11 silver, MRP interior green and Tamiya Nato black for the rest of the build.

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To give a sense of random fading/weathering, I pre-shaded the model prior to the base colours, and then used Abteilung 502 oils for further panel to panel variation. I used a few different sepia, umber, grey and sand shades to add some random fading similar to what is visible in period photos.

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Panel lining was done with Ammo blue-grey wash (over an X-22 gloss coat), but a lot of areas with heavy traffic were redone with Abt. 502 Starship filth thinned with VMS universal weathering carrier (standard). The exhaust staining is heavily thinned MRP tan and this is the only part I am not too happy with as it looks a little too light, but I can't change it now so it stays!

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The Exito decals went down well, yet again reaffirming my faith in anything printed by Cartograf! Speaking of, Exito don't provide all the stencils, and I didn't fancy using the Tamiya decals (I used one in the cockpit and it took some work to conform to a slight curve) so I used some stencil decals from Fundekals, also printed by Cartograf which were also excellent. Although the real P-38 (and Tamiyas decal placement guide) have a lot of stencils marked out on the underside, I didn't apply all of them because I'm lazy and not all would be visible.

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The Tamiya kit requires the gun barrels to be added early in the build, but I would almost certainly snap them off, so I used a Quickboost set which allows the barrels to be added later. The Quickboost set is well detailed, fits well (unlike a lot of resin replacements) and means no snapped barrels, so given it's low price it's a win for me! Also visible here are the Eduard resin wheels which I used because the Tamiya main wheels are supplied in 2 halves and I would ruin the tread cleaning them up. As a plus, the Eduard ones are bulged nicely.

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The weathering was done with oils over an X-22 gloss coat, and once that was sealed, watercolour pencils from AK and Faber-Castell.

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The "Babe" in question...Lt. Yarberry had nice taste :D This was the only decal where the carrier film didn't disappear that well and is still a little visible but not the end of the world.

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The trademark chipping on the wing roots was done with Tamiya LP-11 silver and AK heavy chipping fluid. The toughness of the Gunze C304 lacquer meant a lot of work was needed to chip it, but that just meant I had more control of where I was chipping. I sprayed, chipped and resprayed the wings a couple of times trying to get this right. The same method was used to chip the nose and engine covers especially at the panel lines where the crew would handle them during maintenance. The leading edge paint chips were done with Humbrol masking fluid applied with a sponge over the LP-11. Also visible here are the HGW belts - my first attempt at using them, and whilst they look excellent, I am not sure the effort is worth it in 1/48 - at least HGW provide enough spare buckles!

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The staining on the props/cowls was done with oils and pencils. The turbos were painted with a mix of Tamiya dark iron, silver and JGSDF brown, and weathered with thinned MRP lacquers and oils.

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Another look at the nose art :D The landing gear and bays were all done with LP-11, which is a great silver paint; it sprays extremely well and is very tough once try - must be why it's always out of stock in the UK. The tyres are Tamiya Nato black, and the weathering is again Abt. 502 oils, Ammo washes and pencils.

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I added radio wiring with Plusmodel 0.2mm lead wire to add some detail to the radio bay. Also visible is a bit of the Quinta studio 3D cockpit decals. Again these were something I used for the first time and they look excellent (although a little grainy), but in the case of the P-38 so little is visible once built that they aren't worth it - if the kit you're building is more visible then go for it though! Also visible are some of the Fundekals stencils.

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Something I struggle with is shiny oleo cylinders. Silver paints don't give the necessary shine, buffing a small area is difficult and although it was shiny, the Uschi chrome polishing powder seemed to lose it's lustre quickly. So I used a Molotow chrome marker refill, applied with a brush and this gives a very shiny, smooth finish.

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Given how hard it is to see the underside of the centre section, I didn't concentrate weathering here, focusing instead on the more visible areas. I applied some sand oils behind the gear as if it was thrown up by the wheels. The rest of the grey underside was weathered with oils again.

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The staining is again oils and pencils.

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The decals settled in very well over the surface detail

 

That's it then - sorry for the rather large images, but I also upgraded my camera to the awesome Nikon D850 and whilst it's great the images are quite large! Anyway, thank you all for looking!

 

Cheers,

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Absolutely stunning P-38. I really like it.

 

18 minutes ago, theaa2000 said:

The trademark chipping on the wing roots was done with Tamiya LP-11 silver and AK heavy chipping fluid. The toughness of the Gunze C304 lacquer meant a lot of work was needed to chip it,

 

Regarding the chipping, what did you use on the Gunze C304 laquer to lift the paint to expose chipping? I'm assuming water wouldn't work, but I'm no expert at chipping?

 

Terry

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Congratulations on a truly outstanding build. Your photography is also excellent, providing the right amount of detail to compliment your commentary. Finally, thank you for outlining the various processes you used to get the finish you have achieved, that was very helpful.

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53 minutes ago, Terry1954 said:

Absolutely stunning P-38. I really like it.

 

 

Regarding the chipping, what did you use on the Gunze C304 laquer to lift the paint to expose chipping? I'm assuming water wouldn't work, but I'm no expert at chipping?

 

Terry

Thanks Terry! With the Gunze C304 over the AK heavy chipping fluid water + a stiff brush worked reasonably well actually. I wet the surface and gave it a few mins, then went at it with the brush and although I needed a bit of force, the C304 did come up quite nicely. I practised on a piece of styrene chipping Tamiya, Gunze and MRP paints and they all came up with water with varying degrees of effort.

24 minutes ago, ScaleModelHobbyist said:

Congratulations on a truly outstanding build. Your photography is also excellent, providing the right amount of detail to compliment your commentary. Finally, thank you for outlining the various processes you used to get the finish you have achieved, that was very helpful.

Thanks Rob! Really appreciate the feedback on the build & photos. Glad the descriptions were useful as well!

Just now, Bertie Psmith said:

That's a smashing paint job. Well done!

Thanks Bertie!

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11 hours ago, SAT69 said:

Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! What more can I say? Oh, Excellent!

Thank you, thank you thank you, oh, and thank you! :D 

10 hours ago, Scooby said:

Fabulous build!

Cheers Scooby

10 hours ago, Holzhamer said:

Very appealing P-38. Your OD fading is unlike any other I can recall seeing so far, and it looks convincing 

Thank you Holzhamer!

7 hours ago, George72 said:

Fantastic build! Congrats!!

Cheers George!

6 hours ago, kapam said:

Absolutely beautiful!

The weathering is really spot-on.

:clap2::clap2:

I would love Tamiya to issue a P-38 in 1/72.

Thank you Kapam!

1 hour ago, Josip said:

Your model turned out great, but as for me, paying 60e for this kit is just too much for me right now. 

Thanks Josip - I sympathise there. Kit prices have been going up for a while now. This kit is great but yeah it's pricey!

1 hour ago, djos said:

Beautiful model, great details. Weathering is so realistic.....

Regards Djordje

Thank you Djordje!

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Perfect P-38! Beautifully painted detailed & weathered. I do fancy that kit, I'm sure it would go together a lot easier than the Academy one I built.

 

Pete

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9 hours ago, Classic 315 said:

Beautifully done! The weathering is superb, really well judged. It sounds like a lovely kit too.

Thanks! It is indeed a great kit - highly recommended!

5 hours ago, kiseca said:

I'm still trying to get over how goofy a P-38 centre pod looks with no wings attached 😆

 

I love the build. It looks beautiful.

Thanks mate! Tbh it looks pretty goofy fully built with the gear down as well :D 

3 hours ago, Buzby061 said:

Perfect P-38! Beautifully painted detailed & weathered. I do fancy that kit, I'm sure it would go together a lot easier than the Academy one I built.

 

Pete

Cheers Pete. The kit is great and practically puts itself together.

3 hours ago, Ad-4N said:

Some of the best weathering I have seen in months.  Well done, my man!

Thank you!

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7 hours ago, Bobby No Mac said:

Very inspiring stuff, beautifully weathered 😎

Thanks Bobby!

4 hours ago, jefropas said:

Thats awesome work!! Definately will refer to this build when doing mine, thanks for the detailed descriptions!

 

Jeff

Cheers Jeff - glad the descriptions look helpful!

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Just in case anyone was interested in what the Quinta 3D decals looked like, here is a pick of the main dashboard before it was closed up

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As you can see, the detail is excellent (especially for 1/48) and is way better than what could be achieved with painting and decals alone. The relief is also better than what can be achieved with printed PE. Although not visible in this pic the dials have a clear layer over them and shine appropriately in the right light. Apparently the graininess seen in the photo can be fixed with a flat coat (and then a gloss coat over the dials) but I didn't know that so left it as is.

 

In the P-38 almost none of this is visible so it's probably not worth it for that, but the detail it makes possible means that if the cockpit/dashboard is visible these are a really tempting option.

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