A Christmas Present
Last year's Christmas went the usual way around here, with the standard "what would you like for Christmas" being asked by my wife. My normal response is pretty noncommittal, but this time around I had a plan! Tamiya's P-38F/G kit had been out for quite a while by then but I had yet to purchase one. A suggestion was made, which led my far better half to surprise me with not only the kit but a set of Eduard belts and their very own decal sheet to go with it. How lucky could I get!
Life got in the way of the project however, as so often happens to us, and it took until late September of this year for me to get around to starting the kit. The project was an easy one, however, particularly since I was dealing with a kit that very nearly built itself, and it was completed and on the display shelf in less than three weeks. A great many highly competent modelers have already built and commented on the kit and there's very little to be added to their remarks by me, although a couple of very minor things were done to the model along the way that are worth mentioning.
Tamiya's instructions have us start out with the cockpit, which is gorgeous in and of itself. I did make a couple of minor enhancements in there, however; the instrument panel shroud was omitted to mimic that general practice on P-38s used in the 5th Air Force while backs were added to the instruments at the same time, although very little can be seen of them on the completed model, and a set of Eduard steel belts and harnesses were used on the seat. More could've been done but I didn't do it, and I'm pretty happy with the way things turned out in there.
The rest of the model pretty much flew together which left a lot of time for the fun part of modeling, for me at least, which was the painting and finishing. The scheme chosen was for an airplane from the 80th FS/8th FG operating out of Dobodura during the Fall of 1943. Most of the paintwork was done using Mr Color, but the faded OD on the upper surfaces came from an ancient bottle of ModelMaster Faded Olive Drab worked alongside Mr Color's version of the color, while the markings came from two different sources. The Tamiya kit provided the national insignia and a tiny bit of stenciling, and the airplane's personal markings from from the several-year-old Kagero Pacific Lightnings Volume I. (The Eduard decal sheet that was given to me with the kit contain the same markings, but I much prefer the flesh tones and overall appearance of the Kagero decals so those were the ones used.)
All weathering was accomplished by utilization of an airbrush and a silver pencil with absolutely zero use of any of the modern weathering products presently available to the modeler, and a set of QuickBoost gun barrels finished things off.
Tamiya definitely captured the look of the F and G-model P-38s and almost anyone can get a super model right out of the box. I've seen a number of these kits completed and they all look great, a definite tribute to the folks at the big "T". Now, if we can only get them to kit a J/L variant to go with it!
Thanks for looking!
3 additional images. Click to enlarge.