View Full Version : P-38 from scratch ??

04-13-2006, 08:04 AM
Hello, my first post I would like to say hello to everyone. I am new to RC but I like a challange so I would like to start off with a foam p-38 with a wing span of 18 to 20 inches. I have the makings of a hotwire cutter that will cut a 30 inch span. I have several pieces of styrofoam sheets that are 24x48x2. I am looking for info on the techniques of working with foam. Any sugestions?? Will just carving it out of soild foam make it to heavy? Should I hollow it out, does it need skin? ect....


Don Sims
04-13-2006, 12:12 PM
Hey Richard, welcome to WF!

04-13-2006, 01:03 PM
Hey Richard, Welcome!!! The P-38 is one of mine and my sons favorite planes. We took him to Middlesboro Ky last year to the Lost Squadron museum to see the Glacier Girl P-38, It was really cool.

When I get a little better at flying we are going to build one as well.

Good luck on your build. Post Pics:)

Bill G
04-17-2006, 05:59 AM
How about an FW-189? Not exactly a P-38, but same basic twin boom structure. Its a German WWII observation plane.
One way to scratch build planes if to use a conglomeration of available foam parts, and some scratch building. All that considering that the purchase parts are often heavily reworked.
I just ordered a GWS replacement wing for a C-47 Skytrain (DC-3). The wing's almost identical. I also ordered the tail feathers for a GWS A-10. A bit of reshaping will be done to the rudders. The boom frames are made from cardboard rocket tubes, slit in half. They are glued back together, with formers inside. No pics yet, since they look like hell, until they are balsa sheeted, sanded, and shaped a bit. The center pilot compartment will be cobbled together from GWS ME109 canopies, maybe some hand formed clear plastic, and whatever.
Just some bizzare scratch building ideas. I sent a note expaining the parts use when I orderer the parts, so they didn't think I'm nuts. (Still may)
Here's some examples of scratch builds using some recyclyed parts, and hand shaped foam cores. The Meteor uses a recycled GWS P-51 wing core and elevator. The Arado fuse core has the rear half of an FSC Leonardo fused into it, and a reworked purchase foam plate wing also. A pic of the FW189 I just started is in there too.
Sctatch build are fun. Kits bore the hell out of me anymore.

Old Man
04-19-2006, 03:01 AM
Hippo at foamfly.com is selling a killer little cartoonish P-38 on his website. I have seen the videos of it flying and it look sweet.

04-19-2006, 03:18 AM
I have made the power supply for the hotwire. I have seen a lot of people use a light dimmer for the control, I have found a low voltage dimmer that is hooked up to a 28 volt 4 amp transformer. I will be building the bow this week. I would like to build my own wings and fuse.

04-19-2006, 03:21 AM
Dang, that Meteor looks cool. :)

Bill G
04-19-2006, 03:53 AM
Dang, that Meteor looks cool. :)
Thanks. I guess the point is to show what you can make out of a bunch of junk. I started as an all balsa only purist type. Now I'm shaping foam cores from refrigerator packaging, and my new favorite is using cardboard rocket tubes for core fabbing.

04-19-2006, 06:21 AM
very nice work. I have serious doubts about my ability to make anything so clean. So I am going for just really fast flier so you would see the ugly leaking out :)

Bill G
04-20-2006, 03:53 AM
very nice work. I have serious doubts about my ability to make anything so clean. So I am going for just really fast flier so you would see the ugly leaking out :)

That's the advantage of putting together custom planes from reworked parts. You have the part mostly made for you, so it looks pretty good. Once I got into foam core wings, I stopped building so many built ups. You can usually find a replacement wing that is very close to what you want to build. Just got my stuff in today, and this GWS C-47 wing looks real close to the wing on the FW189, which it is being used for in a scratch build.

Bill G
04-23-2006, 05:21 AM
I forgot about the micro DWE (slowfly.com) micro P-38 foamie, I saw a while ago on their website. Flew well on the video too.

04-24-2006, 06:21 AM
Bill could you explaine the rocket tube. It looks like you cut a buch of holes in it, what tool did you use?

Bill G
04-25-2006, 12:20 AM
Bill could you explaine the rocket tube. It looks like you cut a buch of holes in it, what tool did you use?

I first slit the tubes and re-glue, to create the fuse profile. Depending on how you cut the tube, you can get it to form a tapered curve shape, as well as just a plain straight taper. On the Mig, I cut out tapered "V" shaped slices from the tube sections. When reglued at the seam, it creates a tapered curve fuselage shape, like the full scale plane.
The oval holes are simply a ton of holes cut out with an exacto knife, for lightening. The small round holes can were cut out to remove a small amount of additional weight. Around the small holes, you can see the webb intersection is now approximately a uniform thickness. From a structural standpoint, the small round holes do not decrease the strength, so may as well remove the weight. The oval holes are longer than high, since the balsa sheeting is stronger with the grain, which runs the length of the fuse.
The cardboard with sheeting is quite strong, even after removing some of the material from it. The Mig21 in the pic was sheeted with CA, where I gradually applied lines of CA, and wrapped the sheeting around. I'm working on another plane now, where I may use spray contact cement.

On P-38s, I saw an ad today in AMA monthly, which had a P38 for $130. The company name was RC Nitro. Never heard of them. The plane looked nice, although I couldn't tell what it was made from. Looked better than cheap bead foam, from what I could tell, looking at the pic. Caught my attention, and would like to find out more. A lot less than the $200 Hobby Lobby P38 depron foamie.