1/144 MiniHobby Models P-38 Lightning

Gallery Article by S K Loh on Apr 18 2020



I was fortunate to be able to get hold of this 1/144 kit from the local hobby shop after I read about recently released Tamiya 1/48 P-38F/G kit that featured that famed P-38G flown by 1Lt Rex Barber in the secret mission, codenamed Operation Vengeance, to assassinate Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. It took place on 18 April 1943 over Bougainville, Solomon Islands.

This kit is actually a P-38J variant. It's the next best thing that I could get, bearing in mind of significant amount of modifications necessary to build it as a P-38G. 

The kit is a very basic kit. The first step is the cutting and filing away the J variant engine nacelle and scratchbuilt a G-version. I made many references to pictures online. This was followed by quite a lot of effort in sanding and filling the seams and joints for a nice fit. There was no cockpit. So I had it cut out and added a reasonable looking cockpit with a pilot figure to go for a in-flight display. 

The following enhancements were added to enhance its look:-

  • The super chargers were given a definitive look through scribing and scratchbuilt parts.

  • Added scrtachbuilt mass balance/anti-flutter to the rear horizontal stabilator.

  • Used plastic strips to build up the area where the canopy fits and sand down the canopy for a better outline

  • Drill out the gun ports on the nose and added the guns using strips.

  • Rescribed the panel lines.

  • Added the antenna cables.

  • Gently twisted the propeller blades of one spinner so that the spinners spin with an outward rotation.

  • Used aluminium foil to create the bare metal finish on inboard side of the engine that served as the landing gear inspection mirror.

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A custom mix of Tamiya basic acrylics for uppersurface OD colour while the underside used MrHobby basic acyrlic colours for Natural Gray. I chose to have a greener shade for the OD instead of the browner shade. Two thin coats of Future were brushed on prior to application of decals, 

Decals were self made. Two coats of Tamiya Mark Fit were applied on the decals in between setting. Two thin coats of Future were then brushed on to seal in the decals.

Weathering was applied and panel lines were highlighted. A final coat of flat was airbrushed on for the finish.

Had my build mounted on a display base. I was satisfied with the outcome. Enjoy the photos. I must admit that they could have been better taken. 

S K Loh

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Photos and text by S K Loh