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Academy 1/48 scale P-38F "Glacier Girl"

Kit: No. 12208
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Academy, from Model Rectifier Corp., 732-225-2100,
Price: $25
Comments: Injection-molded, 149 parts (3 vinyl), decals
Pros: Overall good fit, fine exterior detail, good cockpit, well-printed decals
Cons: Some minor shape problems, main gear struts too long, flash on vinyl tires
One of the most noteworthy World War II warbirds flying today is the P-38 "Glacier Girl." It was salvaged from the Greenland icecap where it crash landed in 1942 and was, then, painstakingly rebuilt over a number of years.

Academy's P-38F "Glacier Girl" is a reissue of its P-38E kit (circa 1994) with new decals.

It's cleanly molded in light gray and clear plastic and features neat recessed surface detail. The kit comes with several alternate parts, allowing several early P-38 versions to be built, and a list of unused parts is provided.

The cockpit interior and wheel bays are sufficiently detailed, but the main gear bays didn't fit well in the booms. The main struts appear too long, and the resulting "sit" of the model is a bit tail high. There's a tiny diagram in the instructions to show that flashed-over holes need to be opened in the wing's bottom surface for the drop-tank pylon, landing lights, and the pivoting boarding ladder.

Building any P-38 model is a challenge when it comes to aligning the wings, booms, and tailplane, but this model went together pretty well. I had to use a little filler where the tops of the booms met the trailing edges of the wings behind the superchargers.

The canopy is molded in multiple parts and can be posed open, but the instructions only show the closed position. Most P-38F canopies had the top section hinged at the rear. If you want the rolldown side panels open, just leave them off.

I was a bit daunted by the noticeable molding seam found on each vinyl tire, but they came off easily with a coarse sanding stick.

After painting with Gunze Sangyo Aqueous Colors, I applied the decals. Markings are provided for "Glacier Girl" (naturally) and a Pacific-theater Lightning. They are well-printed and trouble-free when applied over a clear gloss coat.

Reference photos show the radiator housings in the booms are slightly long. There's no detail inside the radiators, so you can see through them. The profile and front ends of the oil-cooler inlets in the nose of each nacelle need refining, and the leading edges of the fuselage/wing fairings are too heavy.

I completed my P-38 in just 17 hours. A good-looking model can be made out of the box, and it's great to have markings for this remarkable restored warbird.

- Jim Zeske


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