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1/24 Scratchbuilt P-38L A retrospective to the present

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Seriously gorgeous work! And very inspiring. I love the look of the finished pieces - that beaten appearance which even using foil is not emulated anywhere near as well. Love it!

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G'day Everyone,

I thought it had been awhile since an update but was somewhat surprised to see how long ago.


As one can gather it is a slow process, work, looking after the property,the garden and of course its summer with heaps of produce to harvest etc.


First of all many thanks for the kind comments it is much appreciated.

If I recall correctly I had attached the rear empennage and drilled out the holes for the zillions of tiny rivets. It took a while to get back to that for a whole heap of reasons mostly indecision. With such a complex model it has taken a lot of thought as to when to attach the various elements to the model in order that they do not get damaged with subsequent work or alternatively have been left too late and thus are a pain in A*** to attach.

In the meantime I tackled the exterior of the fuselage and covered the areas, that can be plated before  it is attached the wings. As with the rest of the panelling on this model a great deal of time was spent researching the actual panel placement and shape.

I started at the nose and fairings for the armament a painful and very slow process requiring multiple annealing and also destroying several pieces in the process.

The pic below shows the first part of the the process 



At this stage the nose undercarriage was affixed at this stage and tucked into the well, so that I could plate over the access and location holes. I had left this area unfinished until now as there were two pieces of rod that needed to be threaded across the fuselage as on the original

The next pic shows the area in question before sealing off.



After the area was sealed and smoothed to the fuselage contour the rest of the fuselage could be plated and detailed



At this point there was no delaying the simulated screws on the nacelles any longer.

Actually it was not as bad as thought and only took about eight hours. Drilling the holes was the worst and I managed to go through a number of 0.45 mm bits.

The heads of the rivets were 0.6mm which in 1/24 scale equates to a full size bolt of slightly larger than 14mm  which was very close to what I had measured on the actual aircraft.

The next pic is of half way through the process.



Lastly I made the wing landing light lens, cover plate and transparency so i could prime the leading edge as per the original. The lamp reflector is bit of  highly polished litho, with a bulb of turned perspex and the glass from vacformed PEG. Sorry about Cr***y pic but I do not have a macro.




After the leading edges are primed I can attach the fuselage to the wing section.


Thankyou again to those who commented and hopefully it will not be so long before next post.


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G'Day folks,

First of all many thanks for the kind comments, they're very much appreciated.

Its been a long while since the last posting (a lot of work with travel commitments) but some more progress, albeit rather glacial. This time attaching the fuselage to the wing assembly and finishing the plating on the lower fuselage.

Due to the way the fuselage is split by the wings I decided to do the entire canopy as a separate section and attach at a later date - next post hopefully.

The fuselage was glued and pinned to the wing cutout as shown in the pic. The dark coloured dots are where pins were inserted and glued into the wing rib for added support. The fuselage is quite heavy and if picked up or held toward the nose there is considerable leverage on any joint with the wing.



Once set the model could be inverted and the underside covered with lithoplate. This again took some time due to several discards and also corroborating with photos the correct disposition of skin panels. The next image shows the final result as well as the holes for the identification lights which will be glazed at a later date. 



At this stage a master pattern and subsequent mould was built for the canopy structure and then a resin copy cast from epoxy polished and used to form the final canopy from clear sheet.

A pattern was also made for the cockpit area so that the fuselage and canopy would form a snug fit.

These two stages are illustrated in the next two photos.


This pic shows the polished resin canopy in the foreground and a second pattern placed on the fuselage to obtain correct fuselage canopy profile and plan view.

Why was this not incorporated in the first pattern i hear people ask? Good question and the only answer is that it was not thought through properly - i.e. stupidity.

The next photo is of a plan view of the same area.



Once the area has been fared into the fuselage the canopy will be able to be cut out and in to sections so that the area aft of the mainspar can be affixed to the wing uppersurface after the radio boxes etc have been built and placed on their racks.

Hopefully it will be not so long until the next post when some more fuselage progress including canopy can be shown..

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G'day folks,

First of all many thanks for the comments and kind words and messages they're much appreciated.

In looking at this thread it is almost six months since i last posted my apologies. One has so little time for modelling and gets so involved in the process that I forget to take pictures and post updates thinking I'll do that tomorrow. There's been a lot of tomorrows and also explains some of the hit an d miss photographic efforts!


Since that last update work has continued on the cockpit and canopy.

Detailing the cockpit was somewhat tedious and took many hours. Despite the many references it was surprisingly difficult to get the exact layout and content right due to the many changes which occurred in the P-38 construction program. This is as good as I could get but I'm prepared to admit that there maybe some errors or omissions.


The scale instrument panel was constructed from Al sheet after being traced directly from Leroy Weber's drawing and copied onto a piece of paper to create a PDF which was then enlarged 12 fold to make a base over which the instruments could be drafted. Hopefully this pic conveys what I mean.


This 'stencil' was placed underneath drafting paper onto which the instruments were drawn. Some detail was omitted in order to get a better scale effect. I have found that reducing instruments down to 1/24scale using real life dimensions renders the final effect a little disappointing. Others may disagree.



The resulting diagram was then made into a PDF and colours reversed using Microsoft Paint.

The panel was then assembled  as a three layer sandwich of the Aluminium panel, clear transparency and Instruments was created

The following is the result which due to the poor photograph probably does not do it justice.


Control boxes were constructed from plasticard or metal whilst the toggle switches were individually turned on a lathe from thin Al rod.

The following three views show the left, front and right hand sides of the cockpit. Note the seat is not fitted yet as this will go in after the rear canopy is installed. Nor are the actual throttle controls as they would likely be damaged during subsequent work on the canopy. Cockpit placards were from Airscale. Fortunately due to the construction of the P-38 this work could be done on the cockpit tub ex the actual aircraft. Apologies for poor i-phone images but its the best I've got.







Once the cockpit tub was more or less completed it was glued into the fuselage and work commenced on the seat

This was constructed from brass sheet folded with a base inserted as per the following two pics. In the first pic shows the main seat component without the brass base which was soldered into place. 


The white plastic piece is the armour for the seat pan there is a base and back armour plate.

Once this was assembled a thin piece of stretched sprue was attached to the edge of the seat to simulate the knurled edge of the original which you can hopefully see in the next pic.


The seat was then painted and set aside for completion later with seat belts and buckles etc. Still undecided about material for belts.


The next and most demanding task was the canopy.

Using the polished master two types of material were used, thin 1mm acrylic sheet and 1mm PETG. The former was heated in an oil bath and then press formed with the male mould and produced the following. This is a messy process and was done outside on the BBQ. I also might add that it took a number of pressings to get exactly what I wanted. The picture below shows the original pattern polished master and resultant clear piece. Different size is due to distance from camera lens.


A rotary razor saw was used to separate the pieces taking extreme care due to the rather brittle nature of the material. Only the rear section will be used on the model as i need this to be reasonably strong in order to form the lithoplate over the rear fuselage structure.

Canopy frames were constructed from brass channel and then glued into place for the windscreen onto which will be attached the individual panes from PETG sheet. The rear section is somewhat more complex and I milled a 1mm wide x 0.5mm strip off the the front edge of the acrylic section into which the brass frame was pinned using pins cut from 0.4mm brass rod.



The next phase is detailing the radio compartment and then the rear canopy can be attached.

If you have got this far many thanks for looking and I'll endeavour to be a bit more regular in postings.

Cheers Kevin

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