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Farewell comfort zone…Revell 1/32 P 38 ’Droop Snoot’ (44 posts)

  • Introduction.

    My first post here on iModeler and I’ve really enjoyed the relaxed and supportive attitude (and amazing skills) on show from the members. I’ve a real thing for 1/32 scale WW2 planes, and thought I’d share my latest attempt as I blow the comfort zone completely. Following the modeling equivalent of a full body massage by a team of expert Geisha (my last two kits were the tamiya/hasegawa 1/32 Mossie and Dora), I thought it was time to pay some dues and get down and dirty with a real old dog of a kit.

    First, bit of a tease (if anyone is actually reading…)

    This is a kit from the seventies and by all accounts is a bit of a horror. However, I have always loved the subject and the variation here is unusual. If anyone can name the plane from this initial attempt at a scratch build quadrant and the fledgeling cockpit (see photos) then I’ll know that my geek side has truly found its spiritual home with you guys.

    The yoke kind of gives it away, and if not then the cockpit will.

    More to follow…

    So the quadrant expands to the port side of the cockpit and lots more scratch building. At the moment I’m also working on the rest of the cockpit (the base kit is just devoid of any detail despite the size of it). My wife marvels at how a grown man can sit whittling away at tiny pieces of plastic, and I admit to feeling a bit unhinged at times. But it is fun…isn’t it? Really?

    Spent some of last night spraying the cockpit (this kit is just ghastly) as the Curtiss Helldivers shot king Kong off the Empire State building on TV. With a bottle of hobgoblin. Just great.

    5 attached images. Click to enlarge

    Tags: 1/32, old kits., WW2

  • Quite pleased with the port wall of the cockpit especially as there was no interior detail at all on this bird.

    1 attached image.

  • David, given the level of effort so far, I’m looking forward to seeing the finished model. First rate! It is easier to put detail where there is none, than to hack away at poorly done or incorrect stuff. Or judicious application of the dremel tool, hoping not to drill or burn thru the piece.

  • Hey Bernard.

    You are right, it’s definitely easier to have a blank canvas. The nose in this bird is a classic example. Considering the glass nose on this model there’s nothing inside to show but a really crude representation of a Norden sight. Well, it was the 70’s.

    I’ve tried to busy up the nose – in reality the navigator’s pit was cramped and crammed full of gear. Must have been hell on those long trips, but what a view! I’m opening the navigator’s access hatch also – just for a little more interest. My real interest in this model of the lightning is that there’s so many choices with paint schemes and in this scale you can really do a number on it.

    Painting is a way off, though…

    1 attached image.

  • David, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an interior view of the nose “compartment” in the droop snoot. Could the occupant sit? Or did they recruit from redundant ball turret gunners?
    I always thought the radar operator in the P-38M had it bad.
    Looks like you’ll be charting fresh trails
    A General in the CBI used one as his personal runabout. Supposedly, he had a thermos holder up in the nose, so I figure someone else did the driving.

  • The photos show just what the conditions were like in the nose section; not a huge amount of space! It’s hard to get the model accurate in this respect as there are slight dimensional changes that make it hard to reflect the real thing. However, I’m hoping the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts in this case.

    I think it’ll look great painted, sitting on it’s gear with the nose section’s access open.

    3 attached images. Click to enlarge

  • So, some dry fitting shows some resemblance to a P38 – but as you’ll see it’s going to take some work to make her walk the talk. In fact, I’ve seen one or two comparisons with this kit and original plans that are very favourable – the main reason i’m taking this kit on, despite the fit problems (pic 3) and lack of detail.

    Despite the moaning (or maybe because of it) I’m having a great time with this kit. So far…

    3 attached images. Click to enlarge

  • Great project David – all you need now is a very tiny Navigator. Excellent photos – looks like they were taken on the conversion line – that navigators position looks truly awful – they needed a medal just for getting into the damn thing! keep up the good work and I will look forward to the next installment.

  • Yes, think you’d need to be good with small spaces – and not very tall. But then, you think about five guys crammed into a Sherman, and it’d start to seem roomy.

    I’ve been trying to dry fit a little more, and you can see (in the first photo) that there’s hardly a parallel line on this model. The geometry is all over the place and it’s taken some serious beer time getting the angles even remotely bent into shape. The cockpit fits snuggly in, but there’s really ugly gaps between the pit walls and the fuselage (seen clearly in pic 2).

    Although the kit actually has a reasonable V12 Allison (port side only) I’m going to button it up in an effort to engage some time off the building phase – I think this kit owes me that – to get on to the painting. That is, after I’ve used up about a year’s of milliput…

    After a long wrestle, I was able to get some reasonable lines and some symmetry and glue it up, but god, it was a job.

    3 attached images. Click to enlarge

  • So, it’s been a while. But I’ve given this bird a spray of different shades of natural metal (photos tomorrow, I hope). I have really developed a love/hare relationship with this model; so much so that I’d started two other kits but struggling to ‘commit’ to them with the p38 in the dark recesses of what passes as my brain. I’m hoping that by writing a bit here it’ll make me follow through on all the time I’ve put into this thus far.

    Still enjoying the hobgoblin, though.

  • David, it looks like it’s coming together nicely. Particularly with what you had to work with. Revell and Hasegawa led the way with 32nd, other than some Japanese kits in odd scales of the same time.
    I believe that the original, older kits deserve to be built and seen as a history of the hobby, and appreciated for the trailblazers they were, rather than being shrugged off or judged by todays standards. None of the things we take for granted were available, back then. It’s amazing how far we’ve come as a hobby, no matter how the “experts” P and M.

  • Some great points there, Bernard. I remember with crystal clarity saving up for these vintage kits and the sheer joy of getting my hands on one. The (sometimes) beautiful art, studying the instructions, seeing an actual plane emerge from the piles of plastic. Magic in a box. Now, armed with hard won patience, an airbrush, and some skills in scratch building, it’s possible to recapture some of that innocent wonder and pay due homage to those pioneers- however primitive they seem now.

    I remember aged 10, saving for five months to buy a 1/24 P51D (airfix, “this is it”) that the guy in the shop kept aside for me. I bought the exact same model a year ago without even a thought for the money. Might even build it one day…

  • David, I remember the same thing, saving so I could get this kit or that. The box art of the time was (in retrospect) a mixed bag. Revells I thought was way above most of the other guys. Auroras WW I boxes were also interesting. Not particularly realistic, but striking.
    That wooden seat in the nose must have been a joy. Almost as much fun as the Pacific P-38 that had a fuel tank with the nose cut off, and a plastic cap on the end, to carry a photographer. On the shackle under the wing. He could recline, but I’d be worried about the toggle switch in the cockpit, myself.

  • After some loss of modelling mojo, I have given the 38 a lick of bare metal, attacked the nose with a saw, and busied up the access panel for the poor old navigator. Not exactly ‘anatomically correct’ – but I’m hoping by the end the whole effect will allow some wilfull suspension of disbelief.

    4 attached images. Click to enlarge

  • One of the pleasant surprises is how accurate the landing gear is; considering at the time this kit popped out of the moulds, James Hunt was world champion, the Ford Capri was ‘cool’, and inflation was running at 24%. And I was being told in school that in 2017 we’d all be driving flying cars and working a two day week.
    So, seeing some progress and waiting for some lead ballast to arrive from evil bay to try and avoid the tailsitter problem.

    5 attached images. Click to enlarge