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LOCKHEED P-38J “LIGHTNING”. A giant 1/4 scale scratch built model

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LOCKHEED P-38J “LIGHTNING”. A giant 1/4 scale scratch built model

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Old 01-30-2019, 11:48 AM
  #76  
fbielsa
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Finishing and painting

The model has been coated with 0,8818 oz (25 g) of fiberglass, which improves its structural strength and softens imperfections.

Fortunately, we should not worry about getting a "mirror" finishing of the surface, since, according to the sources consulted, the P-38 showed quite irregularity in the coating panels, the result of manual shaping and use. So, with a few water sanding passes the surface will be ready for treatment.

The last layer of resin is applied somewhat more generously in order to allow the carving of its surface with a calibrated ceramic cutter, simulating the joints of the panels.



A cheap device used to easily cut cellophane seals without damaging the containers, which can be purchased in stationery stores. This is the carving tool to make the joints panels.

Just to draw with a hard pencil the lines through which the joints of the panel pass, to lean on a ruler and to slide the cutter over them, "biting" a few tenths of the layer of resin. The result is good enough.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:51 AM
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The P-38 had a natural aluminum paneling with some parts of steel, so getting this finish is not easy. We must avoid the attractive "shiny silver" finish that, in my opinion, leaves an unrealistic metallic surface (unless we want to reproduce the flashing P-38 of the sponsored Red Bull, of course).

Due to my inexperience with the use of coatings type Flite-Metal® or Aero-Foil®, I opted for the use of automotive metallic paint and can, thus, reproduce the flush rivets "almost like real" (those applied on those metallic coatings seem to be slightly low relief, which is not correct for this model).

The multiple access covers are made from very thin self-adhesive printer film, applied after the first layer of primer, which is previously sanded to reveal and correct imperfections. Two additional primer layers have been applied and painted with metallic Besa-Val 6021® satin "white aluminum" system (RAL 9006), which provides a very strong natural aluminum finish, especially if we shade it with sandpaper of 2000 grain.

Thanks to my friend Alberto Barrios, I could do the painting personally on a professional paint booth. A great chance at my fingertips.



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Old 02-27-2019, 02:42 AM
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Hi everybody:

I apologize I had forgotten to insert this pair of pics of the fully primed model, before transporting to the painting booth.

The primer (Valentine Valtodo®) has been applied entirely by roller, with three intermediate sanding.


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Old 03-11-2019, 09:10 AM
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The simulation of flush rivets was a meticulous challenge. They were made with brass tube of different diameter, like a punch, with very sharp edge and coupled to the tip of a 15W electronic soldering iron.



A slight press and the heat literally fuses the paint, leaving the rivet ring slightly marked without relief.





The central groove, in the fastener type, is achieved with the fine hot tip of a precision screwdriver applied inside the marked ring.





With a no trembled pulse and a large dose of patience to simulate more than 65,000 rivets that the model carries, a very realistic result is obtained; in fact, it is not possible to appreciate them if we go further than 10 ft but they are clearly visible at a closer distance.



With the reference close to me all the time
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Old 03-27-2019, 02:47 AM
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The reproduced model is a P-38J-25-LO (44-23624) (485th FS/370th FG) that was based in Florennes (Belgium) on September 1944, flown by then captain Paul J. Sabo during the Allied invasion of Normandy. Being a 25-LO, she was one of the 210 "J" that had recovery flaps and landing light on the leading edge of the left wing, so, externally, it was indistinguishable from the P-38 L.



I have chosen it for its colorful decoration and particular nose’s pin-up, that frivolously reflects the triumphalist feeling of Operation Overlord: a label "Les vin, les femmes et les chansons" (wine, women and songs) heading to "Betty", a suggestive young lady in a happy and carefree attitude. An “appetizing” challenge to reproduce.




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Old 04-09-2019, 09:04 AM
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I have reproduced the marking of the nose according to documentation that shows four recognized enemy victories and one doubtful (later reports show a greater amount of victories).




The colour of nacelle’s fillet and outboard superchargers air intake is controversial and not possible to clarify in this model; may be the same red one (RAL 3020 ) or blue (RAL 5002) of the prop spinner, even some people reproduce it in black, which does not seem correct. I decided on red, judging by the opinion of many and the colour tests of the contemporary snapshots.



Hard to know the fillet color


Look at the marking of the superchargers air intake

The antiglare painting over the gondola and fuselages is Olive Drab" (RAL 6022), which is the more often described by most erudites, although it is not uncommon to find references in black. The badges and bigger inscriptions have been painted using hand-cut vinyl stencils, while the nose art and little inscriptions have been made by printing on decal paper and subsequent transferring.



Hand made drawing files


The superchargers and their fairings have been decorated in Metal Color Vallejo® metallic acrylics (77712, 77721 and 77723). For the interior of cockpit and landing gear, I used matte acrylic "interior green" ANA 611 (FS 34151).
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Old 04-22-2019, 08:22 AM
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Anecdotally, I was lucky enough to contact an experienced static modeler, Luca Pennacchietti, who, providentially, sold a set of laser-printed decals with the precise inscriptions for this peculiar model, but yes, for static models 1/18!

Once explained my project, he was enthusiastic and did not mind to give me the computer file of his property to maximize and print to the desired size, with the only condition of sending him some pics of the final result.

When I received it, the file not only contained the set of inscriptions and badges of the plane with the detail of its location, but the USAAF font type and the pin-up drawing of the suggestive Betty, of course.




Due to the low resolution of this one, I had to redraw completely to correct the scale factor imperfections; I also had to supplement several inscriptions by consulting the bibliography, but his initial assignment was very helpful. Thanks, Luca!



Redrawing Betty!
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Old 05-13-2019, 08:14 AM
  #83  
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The model has been aged and weathered by highlighting the joints of the panels with 2H and 4H pencils, diffusing surfaces with graphite powder and dry brush techniques, here and there, coating the whole surface with a final layer of transparent matte polyurethane varnish to soften the marking and the brightness of the decals.








Contrary my usual procedure, for the maiden flight I have only enabled the pilot, his seat and the upper cover of the instrument panel, conditioning the execution of the laborious cockpit to check the correct operation of all systems, flight and landing. If everything turns out to be as expected, doing the instrumentation later will be plain sailing. I apologize for this concession but, when is a model ever finished?
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Old 05-16-2019, 04:51 PM
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Outstanding Work!!!!
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