Profile Photo
Tom Cleaver
861 articles

Review: Some observations regarding the Tamiya P-38

October 22, 2019 · in Reviews · · 13 ≡

First: it lives up to the hype. As someone who spent quite a bit of time around "Glacier Girl" when she was at Chino, has definitely done their research. Not clear whether they did this off GG or the "White 33" restoration that Westpac Restorations did. But they definitely referenced the real thing.

Second: there's more than just a P-38J/L they can do with this, from the way the kit is designed. With the separate gun bay doors, and the separate nose, they can do the F-4 and F-5, the "Droop Snoot" and the P-38M with this tooling, especially looking at which parts are on what sprues. Also, in their very detailed history page, every one of those are mentioned. You have to "read tea leaves" and "follow the bread crumbs" with Tamiya, but the cup of tea is still warm and the bread crumbs are fresh.

As complex as the kit is with the modular stuff done for the future releases (which Tamiya has never done before, a second indication that my predictions are possible), it still assembles like Tamiya. Follow the instructions and get a great result.

Fortunately, for everyone who doesn't want to do Rex Barber's airplane, there are quite a few early P-38s done by Kits World Decals, among others. In fact, I am going to finally do Jack Ilfrey's "Texas Terror" with this particular model.

So, overall, it's expensive (MSRP $80, and the best you can get from the internet stores, if you include in shipping, is around $73). But as they say in my other business, "every penny is up on the screen."

Reader reactions:
8  Awesome

13 responses

  1. Sounds outstanding, Tom. Thanks for the report!

  2. Fundekals is getting ready to do a set of decals for Tamiya P-38. They displayed some artists renditions at the recent Cincinnati, Ohio show. Stand by.

  3. Just picked this up at the LHS, they literally hadn't even unpacked it from their incoming shipment until 2 minutes before I checked out. Also paid well below retail, no shipping. Grabbed a few other kits while I was at it.

    Plucking through the box, I can only agree with you about how nicely the kit is engineered for optioned out for future variants, assuming fit and finish are all Tamiya standard. Definitely worth the money.

    Can't wait to build this one, but unfortunately too much on my plate. When the time comes, I know I won't be the only one, but I will be building White 147.

    Can't wait to see your build Tom! (Hope you don't mind me posting these pics)

    4 attached images. Click to enlarge.

    • You should have waited a year on the F-82. Modelsvit is bringing one out next year that will be very well-engineered and won't drive you nuts like that ferschlugginah Modelcraft kit.

      • Haha wish I would've known. It did come with an Eduard set and vacuform canopies. I opened it up to see enough that it is going to be a bit of a headache, but thought that it was the only or best F-82. You live and learn.

  4. There's one thing really nice: you don't have to cut away that sunshield nobody ever used. You just cut it up and use the forward center piece. I once asked Steve Hinton, who has more hours in a P-38 than anybody, why you never see photos of that sun screen deployed and he said it's because it's nearly impossible to see the instrument panel with it deployed. Two combat P-38 pilots said without the shade, you could just glance down and see what you needed to know. Look at the photos of Glacier Girl's cockpit (which I am using as painting guides, lots easier than trying to do Tamiya's mixtures without a visual guide) - no shade.

  5. I'm half way through mine at the moment. It's the best fitting kit I've ever done to date. Dream build. ?

  6. I wonder if a J version is in the “ pipeline”? I just realized the old decal sheet I have from the defunct Aeromaster decals is all about P-38 Js...

Leave a Reply