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1/48 Trumpeter T-38A Talon Jet Trainer: Gem of a Kit

I always loved the T-38 but had never built this ride as a 1/48 Kit. When a good customer of mine asked if I could build one for him in standard trainer scheme I jumped at the chance. I researched the two competing kits of this bird which was the Trumpeter Moldings and the Wolf-pack version. Based on analysis of the various reviews I went with the Trumpeter for overall level of detail, ease of build, and accuracy. I am very happy that I made that choice b/c this model is a “Gem”! This is also the 1st Trumpeter 1/48 Jet I had built and was not sure what to expect. I could not believe how well this kit just fell together. The overall fits are perfect and it is engineered so well. No filler was needed. The level of detail OOB got the job done with no extra add-on’s needed. So it is also a fantastic value. I assembled the basic kit it in no time and was then challenged with how to finish her. As a matter of personal taste I just dont like clean, factory new aircraft. Also for me weathering is so much fun. So i had some tough choices due to the following aspects of the real T-38’s. I have never seen a really dirty, worn T-38 from the training command. Plus my customer wanted an all white version. So what to do with a clean, all white finish, in a model yet still make it look real. I think plain shinny models with mono-tone colors just look toy-like and I cant live with that. So, for the purist out there I apologize b/c I just needed to do something to bring this finish to life. So when studying pictures of the real aircraft despite being all white, and mostly clean, they still had some character to them, and definitely do not look like shinny toys. There are subtle panel lines, reflections, shadows, and other things difficult to capture in small scale. So long story short, I had to use some darker panel line wash work, and dark pre-shades at the panel lines. Forgive me but I needed to put a little grime on her, but nothing compared to what I would usually do. I was happy with my outcome b/c I think it now has some character, some wear, and the mono-tone white looks more interesting then just white yet still resembles a fairly well-kept, clean bird. I hope you agree to some extent. I welcome comments, and hope you enjoy. BTW my customer loved it so that is really what is most important.

17 additional images. Click to enlarge.


9 responses to 1/48 Trumpeter T-38A Talon Jet Trainer: Gem of a Kit

  1. This is a real beauty, Paul!

  2. Excellent build….very nice job indeed.

  3. That’s really nice Paul, turned out exceptionally well. Glad to hear it went together without any hiccups as I haven’t heard many nice things about Trumpeter aircraft kits. Was the ladder included in the parts? It’s a nice touch.

  4. No apologies needed! Artistic license is always allowed in our hobby, and I agree completely that monochromatic schemes needs some artistic help to make them look non-toy-like! This one’s a beauty. My dad flew these for 3 years as an IP, and you captured the look very well.

  5. Very well executed. Details are excellent.

  6. That’s very nice and from what I have seen being around some 1:1’s back 30 years ago, it looks very realistic. I have the kit in the stash and your inspirational model inspires me to get it out. I have the decals to do a Thunderbirds T-38 (saw them several times back in the day, I like the show they did with these better than the F-16s).

    As usual, excellent work, Paul.

  7. Looking at the pictures it’s no surprise that your customer was pleased, good job.

  8. That’s a cool build! The paint work and panel lining are very subtle to give a great finish.

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