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Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

Old 06-03-2004, 05:22 PM
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Metalmorphous
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Default Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

After looking a some of the beautiful aircraft I have seen on this forum and the amount of talent some of you have, I just thought I would share a project that I have been working on at my shop for about 4 months.
I'm going to Aluminum plate the Yellow P-38 with a process that my company calls seamless micro plating. This is not the stick on aluminum or a foil but a real aluminum plating. We have tested our process out on another P-38 last year with great results and now were doing another one. I'm not here to sell anything, I just would like to show some of you what we have been up to and to here your opioions. I have already asked some dumb questions that Twin-man answered and appreciate the help.

Enjoy the pictures
Ron Randall
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Old 06-03-2004, 05:27 PM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

Here are some pictures of the build.
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Old 06-03-2004, 05:33 PM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

Here are a few more of the build process, now remember that my skills in model building are some what limited compare to what I have seen on this form
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Old 06-03-2004, 09:13 PM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I have made most of the mistakes that can be made with twin engine planes. Just want others to avoid them. Absolutely no such thing as dumb question in these forums. Part of this hobby is sharing and talking about.....ok and some times.....uh stretching the truth.
Looking good.
Good Luck,
Twinman
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Old 06-04-2004, 01:22 AM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

Nice Cobra
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Old 06-04-2004, 07:44 AM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

Here is the VQ model we finished last year, this was our test mule and we used it for displaying our product, Our Yellow P-38 will be getting the same paint scheme but will have a lot more detail.

Kmot thats a customers cobra that we not only did the paint work on but aslo aluminum plated the underside of the his hood and trunk, we have 3 in the shop this week.

Twin-man I hope you really mean it when you say there are no dumb questions because I have another one, I have the aluminum spinners that I purchased from Yellow aircraft, I have no problem figuring that I have to cut the holes in the spinner for the props but how do you attach the spinner to the back-plate, I assume I have to drill and tap the back-plate, is this correct?

Ron
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Old 06-04-2004, 08:13 AM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

Go to the local hardware store. You will find allen screws that have a large tapered head, perhaps 1/4 inch diameter on the head. I forget the size of the threads. 6/32? Yes, you are correct in that the cones bolt to the back plates. I used three blade props, so I attached the cone to the back plate with six of these allen screw head bolts. You will also need what is called a bottom tap and a normal tap, to tap the holes due to short hole depth that does not go all the way through.
These fit flush and so do not stick up. Be careful when making the tapered holes in the cone. You only want the tapered hole deep enough for the head to mount flush or stick up a little bit. Too deep and the hole could crack. This mounting method is strong enough for use of a large starter if you desire.
Good Luck,
Twinman
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Old 06-04-2004, 08:20 AM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

Man, that is one sweet looking P-38 there. Have you flown it? How does the aluminum plating affect the radio? And how on earth do you aluminum plate wood? Keep the pictures coming, this is pretty interesting.
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Old 06-04-2004, 08:53 AM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

WOW[X(][X(], very impresive and unique.
Joe
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Old 06-04-2004, 12:56 PM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

You said you're not here to sell it, but are you going to do so some day? I'm sure there are a ton of warbird fans out there that would love to be able to get this. Mustangs, Thunderbolts, Lightnings, Superfortresses, are all in need of a great product like this.

Kerry
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Old 06-04-2004, 01:25 PM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

Looks fantastic!
How much weight does it add?
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Old 06-04-2004, 04:15 PM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

Thanks again twin-man, I'm sure I will have about another 100 questions I will need answer before I complete this bird

Kerry and the others, We sold the VQ before anyone had a chance to fly her, like I said it was just a test mule for our plating process, we needed a project that would demonstrate the the versitility of our seamless micro Aluminum process, thats when I came up with the idea to plate a model (and my favorite may I add) The plating added a total of 11oz... Much less than we expected and because of how we apply the plating there is no interferance with radio equiment. I cant go into too much detail on the process but I can say that the metal is heated but cooled before it damages the subsufaces, that the tricky part. We have it now that we can plate a styrofoam cup with very little distortion. The fiberglass, wood and plastics are no problem at all, we plate the cobra hoods all the time. Let me also say that unfortuneitly its not an inexspesive process, most would be better off with the other aluminum products.
Again I appretate the help and interest in our project and enjoy the pictures.
Ron
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Old 06-04-2004, 11:04 PM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

ORIGINAL: Metalmorphous

Here is the VQ model we finished last year, this was our test mule and we used it for displaying our product, Our Yellow P-38 will be getting the same paint scheme but will have a lot more detail.

Kmot thats a customers cobra that we not only did the paint work on but aslo aluminum plated the underside of the his hood and trunk, we have 3 in the shop this week.

Twin-man I hope you really mean it when you say there are no dumb questions because I have another one, I have the aluminum spinners that I purchased from Yellow aircraft, I have no problem figuring that I have to cut the holes in the spinner for the props but how do you attach the spinner to the back-plate, I assume I have to drill and tap the back-plate, is this correct?

Ron
Ron:

My 2 cents re spinners for the Yellow: Tru-Turn now sells 4-1/2" scale P-38 spinners designed specifically for the Yellow. A little pricey, yes, but nice, and much easier to get on and off than those doggone "backplate screws." I have one set of both for the Yellow, and I always use the Tru-Turns. "Backplate screws" on this (and other warbirds) always seem a little "off," too, not enough to shake the engine, but just enough to drive me nuts.

Sincerely,

mt
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Old 06-05-2004, 12:10 PM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

MT I was hoping that there was a spinner made that would make this build a little easier, thanks for the info, I'm going to do a search on line and find who sells them and order a pair.

There was a special on the history chanel about the P-38, WOW!! seems the 38 was like a chain saw in the air, I cant imagine what it must of been like for a plane that was being chewed up by the 50s and 20mm. If you get a chance to see the special you wont be disappointed.

Kerry, let me clarify, Metal-morphous Inc. is my plating business. I have been working on this type of plating for 8 years. Most of our work comes from building architects, artist, sign companies and custom automobiles like the 427 cobras. Our pricing is based on not only the size and shape of the project but also the metal its to be plated with and the texture of the finish. The draw back of the process is that the project takes on all the characteristics of the metal, so the aluminum has to be polished on occasion or it will start to oxidize, some of our customers want this and others have us clearcoat the metal to prevent this. Like I stated before its not an inexpensive process and might be out of reach for the average model builder. If anyone still would like more info on a price you can call me at Metal-morphous anytime, my # is 203 294-1314, heck you can call just to shoot the bull about planes I have been into aviation in the form of full scale since 1977 and I cant remember when I fell in love with the 38. I have been contemplating building a model of the 38 that would be true to an original and that included it being Aluminum. I have seen the flight metal product and the look is very good but it still didn't have the look that I wanted on my 38 and its too soft to be handled in the fashion we need to use the model. That were the VQ came into play. After doing alot of testing and modifying the process I have come up with the exact look of the aluminum used to skin the P-38s of the 40s.

Back to the build
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Old 06-05-2004, 01:06 PM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

Ron, your building skills are looking awesome and your metalizing process is definitely state-of-thee-art!!

I know there are modelers out there who are 'bucks up' so you should be getting lots of customers in the future. Heck, a $15000 turbine model (lot's of them) out there; a $5000 warbird; what's a few hun more for a real aluminum skin?
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Old 06-05-2004, 01:10 PM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

MT pop back to this post on occasion, the fun part will be starting soon

Ron
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Old 06-05-2004, 02:53 PM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

Hi Ron,
Fantastic work!! I live in Rhode Island, any chance of me coming down for a visit?? I'm a fanatical Warbird builder and flyer. You can check out my latest, Martin Baker 5 on Rob Bailey's web site www. warbirdbuilder.com click on the " Spotlight On" link.
Let me know,
Thanks,
Fred
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Old 06-05-2004, 09:09 PM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

Ron:

www.tru-turn.com

Whether you order direct or through your LHS, make sure you tell them what make and size prop so they will cut the spinners for you "no extra charge." As with all Tru-Turn spinners, you'll need adaptors specific to your engines, which you can identify on the website, as well.

mt
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Old 06-06-2004, 01:54 PM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

Fred you have some beautiful warbirds on you web page. You can stop by anytime, call a few days in advance to just to make sure that I will be at our shop were the plane is being worked on, we have 2 buildings and they are in different locations.

Mt I order a pair from that wed site, thanks again, the price is not bad when you figure the time it will take to make the yellow spinner fit correctly.

Does anyone have a picture of the rivet detail on the flaps for the P38, the plans I have from yellow did not have any.


Ron
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Old 06-06-2004, 10:58 PM
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Default Flap Rivets

squadron/signal publication for the P-38 has sketchy line drawings for the "E" and "J".

I've got walk-around photo sets of Joltin' Josie and another replica that seem to show another single single row of rivets on the inboard and outboard edges of each flap which is not shown on the line drawings. (These rows run parallel to airstream)

Send me a PM with your email address and I'll try to scan and send, but I'm not sure how well the photos are gonna transmit.

mt
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Old 06-07-2004, 11:46 AM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

At this point I have applied the spot filler, sanded that and sprayed another med coat of the catalysed primer, another trial fit of wings, flaps, ect.. This coat of primer can not be broken so that the metal plating has a uniform subsurface to bond to. Its alot like chrome plating, if you ever had a set of headers plated you find that the chrome doesn't like to attach to the areas between the pipes, thats because the first process of nickel plating didn't encapsulate and that causes the chrome not to bond to these area. We have the same problem if we have different surface textures. So by priming the entire surface to be plated we get a constant plated surface.
Now it time to set up the plating equipment, because I want to keep the weight to a minimum, I have to recalibrate the equipment.
I will post more pictures of the pieces as they go through there morphousing
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Old 06-07-2004, 04:47 PM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

The whole plane is plated now and I only had time to work on a few parts.
The first picture of the rudder is how it looks after the plating process, we burnish the parts with steel wool to knock off the oxidation, this is what we call a stage 3 appearance.
The second picture is the ailerons after a light polish (stage 2), as you can see we add all the details AFTER the plating. We will do the paint work after all the fasteners, panel lines and rivets are applied. When we paint over the aluminum we have to treat it like a sheet of aluminum, that mean we have to use primers that are designed for aluminum, if we dont the paint will not stick, blows right off[X(]

Ron
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Old 06-07-2004, 07:43 PM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

Just amazing and quite fascinating!
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Old 06-07-2004, 08:11 PM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

WOW, can anyone say Top Gun? or Scale Masters? I can see this becoming a must for anyone who's serious about competing in a scale event. It's beyond words...
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Old 06-08-2004, 11:36 AM
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Default RE: Metal-Morphing a Yellow P-38

Mark T, thanks for the flap detail, now all I have to do is find the time to work on them

Here are some new pictures of my progress

Ron
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