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Tamiya 1/48 P-38 conversion

5 replies
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  • Member since
    December 2002
Tamiya 1/48 P-38 conversion
Posted by 7474 on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 12:39 AM

I bought the Tamiya 1/48 P-38H and not knowing what airplane I wanted to model, I was looking at photos of the Red Bull's P-38 and in it's previous life as Lefty Gardner's "White Lightning" racer. Red Bull says it's a -J but after asking around, it's basically a converted -L. I want to build my P-38 as a hybrid with one half being "White Lightning" and the other half as the Red Bulls. 

Has anyone converted the Tamiya kit into an -L version? Can it be done? Or should I go and buy one of the Academy, Hobby Boss or Hasegawa options? Which option should I go with? 

  • Member since
    November 2003
  • From: Naples, FL
Posted by tempestjohnny on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 4:49 AM
It would be a tough conversion. Many changes were made between the H and the J


  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Northern California
Posted by jeaton01 on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 11:14 AM

I think that would be a bad idea, use another kit in case the build goes sideways.  Different supercharger intakes, different front and lower cowls, different intercooler shape on the booms, landing light changes, probably a different windscreen.  Dive flaps on the L, but that's an easy change.


To see build logs for my models:


  • Member since
    December 2002
Posted by 7474 on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 5:15 PM
Thanks for the replies. I’ll get the Academy or Hasegawa kit.
  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: Washington State
Posted by leemitcheltree on Monday, January 11, 2021 7:19 PM

Sorry mate.....the Tamiya P-38H is the bee's knees. The Academy or Hasegawa J or L are seriously problematic, and stunningly difficult to build. Panel lines, twist in the tail feathers, sad cockpits, poor wheels.....having built both (but not yet the Tamiya - that's in the stash)....I'd rather give the Academy and Hasegawa kits away for free...and choose a different livery that suits the Tamiya offering.
Sorry mate....that's just the real deal. I prefer to choose kits that don't do my head in.

Cheers, LeeTree
Remember, Safety Fast!!!

  • Member since
    January 2015
Posted by GreenStyrene48 on Monday, January 11, 2021 9:41 PM

Remember White Lightning/Red Bull P-38 is not stock. It does have the early P-38 engine cowlings but it is otherwise a J. Except that it had no turbos in either scheme.

The best bet might be to kitbash the cowlings from an Academy E/F onto the rest of an Academy J.  Looks like the wings are the same so the parts should line up. 

You'd still have to remove the turbos from White Lightning and make a simple exhaust. For Red Bull, you'd have to build up a large scoop on top of the cowlings and still address the exhaust.

Hasegawa looks like an option too. It appears to be the same wing top for both the F and J kits so you could cut the booms somewhere under the wing and attach the F cowlings to the rest of the J airframe.  Probably doesn't have the J/L dive brakes either. 


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