by Britt Vallot
I was looking for a Natural Metal Finish P-38 to build and couldn’t pass up the chance to do one of the highest scoring aces for the US – Richard Bong. Most modelers seem to select “Marge” (his wife) as the Lightning to build. I thought I’d select “Down Beat”, especially on account of his untimely demise doing something he clearly loved while serving his country.
The kit is from Academy and allows to be built in several different variants.
I tried a stressed skin technique which was the first time ever doing so. The Natural Metal Finish was painted with Alclads line of paint.
To “stress” the wings, I used a grinding stone on my rotary tool to gently carve into the plastic along where the ribbing would be to strengthen the plane. This was cleaned up with varying grit sanding sticks to bring back a more polished finish. The detail was brought out by a burnt sienna oil paint thinned out and touched up with a wash called The Detailer in a rust color and black.
The weathering on the wings along the cockpit was done with more of the same. The fuel spill that stains the wing walkway was modeled after Kagero’s Mini Colors #10 for Richard Bong’s P-38. Raw Umber oil paint was thinned down considerably and spread based on photos.
After-market parts used were an Aires cockpit, Quickboost oil coolers, superchargers, and .50 barrels. Air intakes and radiators on the booms were scratch-built.
Photos by Britt Vallot