Tamiya P-38G Lightning, 1/48. 'Miss Virginia'
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My first of the Operation Vengeance trio in 1/48 was this Lightning, an amazing kit and probably the best engineered model I've made to date. There isn't a lot of negatives to say about this kit, in fact whilst I completed this model in September last year I'll go ahead and list the negatives I can remember right now:
- The gun barrels for the 50cals are modeled as a round tubes without detail, you're meant to add decals to provide the details. You'll want to go ahead and pick up some brass replacements like I did.
- It doesn't come with a wheels up option, like 99% of 1/48 scale kits these days.
Aside from that the kit is damn near perfect, it goes together like people say modern Tamiya kits do which is to say 'it almost builds itself'. It's truely an amazing build and I highly recommend it, the attention to detail (beyond the aforementioned guns) is incredible and the fit is so good that the only filler I needed was in areas where I had cut too much off of the plastic when removing from the sprue.
When the P-38 was transported via boat and truck it would have it's canopy covered, and the panel lines would be taped over to protect from the elements, this sometimes resulted in a noticeable difference in the paint of the aircraft with the paint being slightly faded in the areas not protected by the tape, if you look up images of P-38s particularly those in the pacific you may see this effect. 'Miss Virginia'was one such aircraft with this based on photographs found of it, to accomplish this effect I sprayed the panels slightly lighter and I taped off every panel line on the sides and upper areas before painting the tape darker, producing an overspray either side of the tape that looked darker. Needless to say, it was a pain and took a lot of time, but it did help create a more interesting looking model. The olive drab was mixed with white, khaki, and desert yellow to spray randomly different colour panels. This was the second or third time I really painted a model with variations this way and hadn't quite got the technique down, but it looks okay.
Does any build go smoothly? Yes sometimes. But not this time! At the time my go to clear coat to end a model was Vallejo Satin Acrylic Resin, but at a quite high cost to volume I decided to buy a big bottle of Vallejo Satin Polyurethane, I tell you this now knowing my mistake as at the time I didn't realise they were different. Long story short, I recommend the Acrylic Resin clear coat, but the Polyurethane caused a lot of issues. The clear coat didn't look very good and very quickly began to flake off not unlike when you get PVA glue on your hand and peel it off, along with it some stencils were taken off and for whatever reason the carrier film around the decals became incredibly obvious. Learning my mistake, I bought a bottle of the tiny resin Satin and fixed it but for some reason the decals were never fixed, thankfully I used montex masks for the main markings of this kit. The paint in subsequent layers would always be quite rough and have a weird texture to it, which is actually why I'm posting this today as I decided to take some new photos after giving this kit a quick swipe with a polishing stick which has helped remove those imperfections.
All in all I thoroughly recommend this build, and it sits alongside my other models to complete a lovely trio of Operation Vengeance models. The kit was a joy to build at every step, though as stated the painting issues at the end did throw a spanner in the works but that can't be put down to a fault of the kit. I highly recommend anyone with an interest in WWII aviation to add this or the P-38H rebox to their stash, just don't forget some brass barrels to add the final touch to this model.
4 additional images. Click to enlarge.