Jump to content
JayW

1/18 Scale P-38 Lightning

Recommended Posts

Hello folks - this will be my first topic in the forums on LSP, although I have submitted a few articles over the years.  I intend to document progress on my "re-build" of a 21st Century Toys P-38 Lightning.  Now I spent the better part of two years doing a similar effort on a 21st CT P-51 Mustang "Miss Velma", and I published a 4-part article on Miss V on LSP.  When I finally finishsed that project I swore I would never attempt anything like that again.  Soooo, what happens but my local hobby shop comes up with literally dozens of 21st CT aircraft from an estate sale or something like that last month, and are selling them for the $60 to $80 range, which as some of you may know, is very cheap.  On E-bay they go for double that.  And I score a P-38, a F4U, and a P-47.

 

I am going to try to make the P-38 project a little less of an effort than Miss V.  For the P-51 I had a couple of CD's of engineering drawings to tempt me to modify everything possible, some of it really unnecessary.  For the P-38 I have some excellent "ordinate" drawings which have taught me alot, and then various other resources like walk-around books, etc, and my old 1/32 Trumpeter P-38 which I think is a great model.  So I will hopefully not have to take two years for this one.

 

One thing I have not figured out is where to put this monster once done.  It's really big.

 

Anyway - first up is the main landing gear and the wheel wells.  I will show pictures very shortly on some early progress.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Holly Cow ! This will be great ! Welcome to the best forum around ............Harv  :popcorn:  :post1:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So what does a 21st Century Toys (21CT) P-38 look like out of the box? Let's see if I can post pictures for the firsttime on this site....

 

003_zps64324c8b.jpg

 

002_zps66f2e912.jpg

 

001_zps603d859f.jpg

 

It has alot of potential, but it is severely lacking in many respects. Shape is pretty good with some exceptions, some of which I will address, some I will not. For instance the engine cowlings "chin" sticks out a little too much and I am not going to do anything with that. The landing gear are not surprisingly a joke. Being as landing gear are some of my all time favorite projects, I will start with them. Next post you will see some progress on the tires and wheels, if I get the picture posting right.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I took the big Lightning apart:

 

015_zpsb8c38939.jpg

 

It is held together mostly by screws, but also it is bonded/glued together.  Surprisingly, it came apart a little more easily than the P-51 which was literally unsafe to get apart (risk of maiming oneself with the required heavy tools to pry the fuslage and wings apart).

 

Importantly, I decided to take the plunge into small part machining in support of this project.  I would need to create new wheels and tires on a lathe: 

 

002_zps7a45cf8d.jpg

 

This is a Unimat SL1000 mini-lathe/mill/drill press/grinder and jack of all trades.  It is several decades old, I got it from E-bay for about $400 and spent another $300 or so on accessories.  I am learning the hard way how to use it but I am getting better.  It's alot of fun I tell y'all.  I recommend it if you like to scratch build.

 

For the main tires, which in real life are 36 inches diameter by about 13.5 or 14 inches wide, I needed a 3 inch diameter material of some kind.  I looked around on the web and found a site by Paul Budzik of FineScale Modellers fame, where among other fabulous projects I found a wonderfull 1/32 P-38 where he described turning wheels on a lathe out of acrylic.  So I was off to the races.  I modelled up tires with a block pattern tread on the computer, ordered me some clear acylic 3.00 inch diameter rod (expensive!), and practised on a 3 inch round dowel. 

 

Here is a shot of the raw material and  the first saw cut:

 

001_zps98d23006.jpg

 

And a pic of a wood prototype effort:

 

077_zps6932749f.jpg

 

And here we go with the real thing - start with a starter hole after chucking:

 

003_zps78865d9b.jpg

 

Turn a nice perpendicular surface:

 

004_zpscef7361c.jpg

 

Bore the ID and tidy up the OD:

 

005_zpsc7ca095e.jpg

 

And you get a simple doughnut with correct OD, ID and width:

 

007_zps4eadbf41.jpg

 

Next post I will show how I chamfer the sides several times to approximate the sidewall curvature, and then circumferential grooves.  Stay tuned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well that's not at all an ambitious project... said no one who is reading this thread!

I don't think i've ever heard of someone claim that landing gear was a favorite project, and am looking forward to seeing where the legs and the rest of this take you. :popcorn:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Peterpools

Surely is going to be an over the top project

Looking forward to following with great interest.

Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To misquote Spike Milligan : "after finishing my last 1:18 build, I swore I would never do one again. This is it!"

 

How incredible! I just finished reading your miss Velma thread ( again!) and the next post I see, you're tearing into the P38! Between yourself and Ironwing, you chaps are entirely responsible (!) for me chopping up the 21c 1:18 spitfire Mk 1a, to rebuild her as a Mk IX...just don't ask me for pics etc, yet as I have yet to er, master the posting of photos etc.....currently awaiting delivery of two of the Bbi Me 109s which will get the same treatment....these 1:18 builds are addictive! Currently hunting for a reasonably priced P 51, P40, P 47 and....yep, a P38, so I am a confirmed follower...please keep your posts coming!

 

Duncan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Uh Duncan - you must have a large house!  Seriously, I am looking for suggestions WRT where to put such a monster as the 1/18 P-38.  Not hanging from the ceiling.  And yes, I agree this kind of building (or rebuilding) is very addictive.  I apologise for adversely affecting your life if what you say of Ironwing and myself is the case!  A well modified Spit would be a thing to see - hope you post on it. Just wait until Ironwing starts showing the world what he is doing on his own 21CT 1/18 P-51.  I know he posts progress over at the P-51 SIG, but not sure if he is doing same elsewhere like LSP. I am afraid Miss V will have to take a back seat!  The man is not of this earth.

BTW - I must make a correction.  The stock size of the acrylic material I am using for the main tires is 2 inch diameter, not 3 inch.  Last I checked 36/18 = 2.  Sorry for any confusion.  I will use 1.5 inch diameter for the nose wheel (a 27 inch tire).

Anybody ever worked with acrylic before?  It's plexiglass, and it's tough as nails.  Unlike polystyrene it doesn't melt under grinding/cutting/dremmeling/machining/turning.  It drills up perfect holes, and it's a dream on a lathe.  Great stuff although there may be other plastics out there that have great properties of their own.  I doubt regular glue works with it though, but putty seems to bond to it just fine, as well as 2-part epoxy.  Anybody have comments on acrylic?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To misquote Spike Milligan : "after finishing my last 1:18 build, I swore I would never do one again. This is it!"

How incredible! I just finished reading your miss Velma thread ( again!) and the next post I see, you're tearing into the P38! Between yourself and Ironwing, you chaps are entirely responsible (!) for me chopping up the 21c 1:18 spitfire Mk 1a, to rebuild her as a Mk IX...just don't ask me for pics etc, yet as I have yet to er, master the posting of photos etc.....currently awaiting delivery of two of the Bbi Me 109s which will get the same treatment....these 1:18 builds are addictive! Currently hunting for a reasonably priced P 51, P40, P 47 and....yep, a P38, so I am a confirmed follower...please keep your posts coming!

Duncan

Duncan

 

So, like...where are the pictures ? Welcome to the dark side. You're gonna love it. :)

I strongly suggest you look at David Glen's website. His 1/5 scale spit is beyond belief and he's working on another.

 

Cheers

 

Geoff

Edited by Ironwing

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Weld-on" Acrylic cement is what we use in the sign industry for gluing up acrylic/plexiglass components.  Comes in all sorts of thicknesses, and is usually applied with small bottles with hypodermic style needle caps of different sizes.  Though not sure of its compatability with styrene.  

Great stuff here, Geoff's Mustang is incredible, this should be great as well.  

Even the wood turning would be a worthy substitute, nicely done!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...