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David Garcia
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Classic Revell 1/32 P-38J Rescue Kit

July 25, 2021 · in Aviation · · 28 · 2.4K

This kit was going into the dumpster and the hobby shop owner asked if I wanted it. It had been started with tube glue. The cockpit and nose guns were firmly glued in place. Yet I took this and another kit home. Having never built one before I was looking forward to seeing what I could do with it. Lots of filler was used and in the case of the nose gap I used a plastic card shim. With all sanding most of the raised detail was lost. So I re-scribed the kit and it was not that hard at all.

I knew I could not get a good natural metal finish with all the scratches on the plastic. So on went the OD and NG. The stripes were easy to do since the width in 1/32 was very close to a roll of Tamiya tape.
Painting the wings was easy, but the booms took a bit longer. The biggest problem was getting the stripes aligned. Decals were hard to find for this scale and I settled on a print scale set from one of favorite eBay dealers. The decals were very thin and folded over easily and I lost a couple.

I found a photo of the actual aircraft and I noticed the nose cap is a different tone in black and white photos. I could not get a definitive answer if they painted or just natural metal. The decals did not have the inboard letters on the rudder assembly so I cut out a mask and painted it on. It is out of box, or rather out of the dumpster. 🙂

Reader reactions:
19  Awesome

10 additional images. Click to enlarge.

28 responses

  1. Way to go! Saving a “not great” kit and putting this much work into it really paid off. Thanks for sharing.

  2. What a great save, David. @thevid
    The P38 turned out beautiful. in this scheme.
    How can people be so cruel to dump these kits.

    • Thank you John. I really like this model. It's out of my normal scale but I think Revell offered us some fantastic kits back in the late 1960s and 70s. The 1/32 P-40E and Wildcat are favorites of mine.

  3. Amazing save, David!
    Nothing better than grabbing an already badly started "classic" kit and coming up with such great result!

    • Yes indeed Spiros. The hobby shop owner bought a collection and was going through the boxes and threw out kits that were missing parts or just in bad shape.

  4. For dumpster diving I would say you did quite well. Nicely done David.

  5. If you take everything into its proper context the kit is accurate in shape and out line. Given its date of birth the kit has all of the basics to make a decent model. There are benefits to dumpster diving and good old fashion elbow grease or old school modeling. With more emphases on I made this vs it was molded or designed by a computer.
    I like it.

    Two thumbs up David.

    • Stephen,

      Absolutely! There is no need to compare this with current models. It is a product of its time, fifty years in fact, and I built it as the instructions indicated and it does look like a P-38.

  6. Nice save, looks great!

    • Thanks Robert! The other kit I saved was the Matchbox 1/32 Spitfire Mk 21 (I think that's the designation) and it was in worse shape than the P-38. I've built that one too.

  7. Another classic kit done well! Looks great, I mean I love the latest Tamiya kit (got the F-4B as soon as I could), but I really love the old school classic kits best! Well done!

  8. Great work on this Lightning !

  9. Excellent work David! Another great classic Revell kit! Thumbs up..

  10. Looks really good. I remember building this kit back in the day and painting it Testor's chrome silver because it was Richard Bong's ship. Yours looks way better that I remember mine looking.

    • Hi Greg,

      The only 1/32 Revell kit I built when it came out was the F4F-4 Wildcat. It was too complicated for me at the time. I would like to build another.

  11. Great save, David!

  12. Great save! A nice big P-38 must look nice on the shelf. I am sure when this build is displayed for others to view they will appreciate the work that went into it. Great job.

    • Hi Bob,
      Yeah I wish. My case is full. I keep all my new builds in plastic tubs now. It is a big model and is heavy due to the 10 lbs of lead in the cowlings. :).

      1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  13. Nice save! A lovey Lightning.

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