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1/32 Trumpeter P-38L Lightning- "Kicked Up A Notch"

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I'd say it depends if you're going to weather the aircraft in any way. If the actual bird does not fly, it's probably in pristine condition with no weathering at all. If that's what you're after then no exhaust stains.

If, on the other hand, you're going to weather the panels, etc with a wash, then put some light exhaust stains...

Edited by clioguy
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Wow Chuck!!!!!! Thats all I can say right now. I am absolutely SPEECHLESS!!!!! I think you need to come up with a new title for all of your builds. I dont think that "Kicked Up Another Notch" qualifies any longer to describe your builds. I couldnt even think of what you need to call them except......watch as I turn this plastic kit into the real thing or something to that effect!!!!!!! I cannot wait to see how this beauty turns out. Waiting IMpatiently for your next update!!!!!!! You say your not a model god......yeah right........we're not worthy, we're not worthy!!!!!! :worship:

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I can't say anything that others haven't already said Chuck. Your skill, both with the plastic and the way you articulate the steps and thought processes you've gone through, is really beyond compare and I find I keep learning something new from all your builds. With that said, my vote would be for "some" exhaust stains. I feel the presence of some light weathering and exhaust staining are what would elevate this from "just another plastic toy model" to a "true to life" representation of the actual thing. I find it similar to A10loaders work with his Tomcat. What is that plane straight out of the package with no weathering? My answer is "just a toy". But when you look at everything he has done to it to add the detail and the weathering, that makes it more real and is the difference.

In the end whatever you choose is the right way because it's what you want and that's all that matters but you asked for opinions. I can't wait for the next chapter in this build.

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Can you please tell me something...

You mention that you mix Tamiya X-22 with lacquer thinner. Why did you use lacquer and not ordinary X-20A acrylic thinner?

Thank you in advance.

Sure, good question. Although the X-20 is made for the Tamiya acrylics and X-22 as a thinner, modelers found out years ago that the Tamiya lacquer thinner worked better, even though it is a "lacquer". It's a soft synthetic lacquer, so it is safe for plastic and it atomizes the paint finer out of the airbrush, creating a smoother finish. Some of my local modeling buddies use it all the time with all Tamiya acrylic paint and their paint jobs are always outstanding. It worked really well with the X-22, so now I'm a big fan of using the two together.

Thanks for all the votes on having exhaust stains or not. I asked the same question over at LSP and I'm getting mostly negatives for using staining and I have now decided not to. Once I got the "Marge" decals on, it really does look like the real deal (and not a toy), which isn't stained, so that's how I'm going to leave it.

Speaking of decals, I have good news and bad news while decaling. The Pyn-Up decals for Marge are SUPER thin, which means they will break apart if you try to rush them off the backing, which I did for one of the larger insignia ones. Fortunately I have a few sets of the Bombshell Decals for "Wicked "Women", which are a bit thicker and easier to use. With care, the remaining decals slid off the backing without breaking and they have no silvering whatsoever, WITHOUT using Microsol! Between the super smooth finish and the thinness of the decals, my fear of using Microsol on the sealed Chrome paint didn't matter for the most part. The only areas where I used Microsol were on panel lines and rivet detail, to sink the decal into the depressions. It worked very well with no staining, thanks to the X-22 clear coat. The other positive about the Pyn-up decals is that they really look accurate, just like "Marge".

Now the bad news. I always like the surface I'm working on when applying decals to be horizontal or flat. It's easier to position the decal if you aren't fighting gravity, so I often put the model with the wing between my knees when doing the side fuselage, etc. If you are careful, everything should work fine and I have never had a mishap, until now. I had all the decals on fine, but I decided to play with one and the model slipped between my knees, heading for the floor (shiny finish = very slippery!). Knee jerk reaction (literally) is to squeeze your knees together, which saved the model, but snapped off the front landing gear completely. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! :bandhead2: :bandhead2: :bandhead2: :bandhead2: Good thing my wife wasn't home, because the air was quite blue. #$@&!

After putting the model down and checking on the damage, I was pleasantly surprised, although still fairly upset. The gear leg broke off at the junction of a knuckle, right above the scissor link. Checking the kit instructions, this area is quite thin and other small parts for the scissor link are added to this area to fill in the gap. The break was almost a perfect cut horizontally and thankfully I did not glue the cross arms to the gear leg, fearing they might break during assembly. If they were glued as well, things would have been quite nasty.

"The fix" was surprisingly simple and effective. I drilled a small hole in the leg remaining attached to the model and glued in a steel pin. On the bottom part that broke off, I also drilled a hole, but slightly larger than the pin to allow for "wiggle room" alignment, since there's no way I could drill two perfectly matched holes top and bottom. Using more CA glue to fill the gap around the pin, I pushed the two parts together and held them in place until the CA glue set, being very careful to keep the alignment as straight as possible. It worked! With the break at the join to the upper gear leg, you really can't even see it, but after a little spray of more Alclad Aluminum, the damage isn't really detectable, even close up. I have also manged to bump this gear leg inadvertently a few times since I repaired it while attached the gear doors and it has remained intact, so I think it's fairly strong.

So I'm in the back stretch now and I don't have much more to do before I can call this build finally done. I hope to have some pics up this week, but if I can't, it will be early February before I do since I'll be on vacation for the last two weeks of January. I hope I do get them up soon, because I have to say this model- in spite of the many challenges- may be my best model ever if I do say so myself. :rolleyes:

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I never manage to build a kit without breaking it in the process.. but given some of the other problems you´ve had, melting nose etc, merely breaking off the nose gear sounds like it's almost nothing :-)

Great job so far. I agree with the no-stain decision. Since you´re putting so much effort in it being an authentic replica of this particular non-flying warbird, it should look the part. :-)

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I also used to place the models between my knees to apply the decals on the sides. And I always thought there must be a better way. I found a better way.

Go down to your local supermarket or liquor store and get a cardboard box of a suitable size. Place it on your work area face down (or whatever way works best) and cut a slot of the appropriate size and shape to allow the model's wing to slip through. Pad the surface with paper towels or the like. That way the model will be stable, won't slip and you have both hands free and no worries about dropping the model. You can also adjust the angle by using padding of some sort (towels, foam rubber etc) to "shim" the model.

I've used this on everything from a 1/144 model to a 1/48 model with great success. With the right size box it should work with any kind of model.

Your talent amazes me!!


Edited by Bob Beary
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January 15, 2016

I’m finally DONE!! After 14 months and hundreds of hours, this replica of “Marge” is finally finished. There is plenty of information on the ‘net about Richard Bong, America’s “Ace of Aces” with 40 confirmed combat air-to-air victories, so I won’t go into any detail about the pilot who flew this aircraft, other than to say that he flew several P-38’s that were all “J’s”. The P-38 at the Richard Bong Veterans Historical Center in Superior Wisconsin, is actually Serial # 44-53236 which is a P-38L, but it has the markings of P-38J Serial # 42-103993, which had the image of Major Bong’s girlfriend at the time, Marjorie Vattendahl, on the nose.

This is the first time I’ve built a model without any weathering of any kind, other than a little dust on the tire treads, which all aircraft have. This model tries to replicate Marge in the 2002 to 2009 time period when it was housed at the EAA Museum in Oshkosh WI, when this P-38 was a combination of both polished aluminum and painted aluminum. Since that time, Marge was moved to Richard Bong museum in Superior WI. and it was painted all aluminum, which I don’t find particularly interesting. Thankfully there are not many placards or stencils on Marge, so decals were minimal, but there are quite a few differences between the original Marge in WW-II, the P-38L as it looked in Oshkosh and what it looks like now in Superior. The Pyn-Up decals I used for instance, are for the WW-II P-38J, which have different font, etc., from the museums in Wisconsin.

I’ll put these pics up in the Display Case Forum, but to complete this thread for future reference, I’ll place them here first. Thank you everyone for your continued interest, advice and compliments. I really appreciate them all.













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Hi Chuck,

Absolutely uncontaminated and virginly clean build. :)/>

Seriously, looks great.

One more modeling maraphon and "how to" tutorial eventually came to the home stretch. :)/>

Nothing against, but how about brining some life to the build? Maybe some washing here and there? :rolleyes:/>

Cheers and happy modeling!


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