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P-38 Lightning Quarantine Build

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#1
So, I went to the Dollar Tree on Sunday to pick up some cleaning products (because amazingly enough, they HAD stuff on the shelves), I picked up 15 sheets of FB.

My plan was to rebuild my Sea Duck, but then I looked at the P-38 and realized it was about the same size, and I needed something to do during this quarantine. So, I started looking into what it would take.

I've got plenty of FB to scratch build it, but I noticed that it requires some plywood for the spars, and I can't really 3D print those out. Getting 3/32 plywood is impossible right now due to the local hobby shops being closed, but I'm still thinking about building this sucker. I HAVE been able to find 1/8 masonite at the local Home Depot, and was thinking I might try using that - anyone else use it, or have you gone specifically to the hobby shops and bought the specific thickness plywood?
 

The Hangar

Well-known member
#2
So, I went to the Dollar Tree on Sunday to pick up some cleaning products (because amazingly enough, they HAD stuff on the shelves), I picked up 15 sheets of FB.

My plan was to rebuild my Sea Duck, but then I looked at the P-38 and realized it was about the same size, and I needed something to do during this quarantine. So, I started looking into what it would take.

I've got plenty of FB to scratch build it, but I noticed that it requires some plywood for the spars, and I can't really 3D print those out. Getting 3/32 plywood is impossible right now due to the local hobby shops being closed, but I'm still thinking about building this sucker. I HAVE been able to find 1/8 masonite at the local Home Depot, and was thinking I might try using that - anyone else use it, or have you gone specifically to the hobby shops and bought the specific thickness plywood?
I just used basswood for the spars. I should finish up my P-38 - it's been sitting for several months now waiting for me to finish it...
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#3
I just used basswood for the spars. I should finish up my P-38 - it's been sitting for several months now waiting for me to finish it...
Basswood isn't going to hold up for it - it's nowhere near as rigid. I've got a piece of 1/16" plywood and a piece of 1/16" basswood, and the basswood has significantly more flex than the plywood for the same force. If it's for a spar for stiffness, it's definitely not going to hold up to any sort of load, especially if it ends up being a belly lander.
 

The Hangar

Well-known member
#4
Basswood isn't going to hold up for it - it's nowhere near as rigid. I've got a piece of 1/16" plywood and a piece of 1/16" basswood, and the basswood has significantly more flex than the plywood for the same force. If it's for a spar for stiffness, it's definitely not going to hold up to any sort of load, especially if it ends up being a belly lander.
Yeah, it’s not ideal but I figured since most of the ft models have just foam spars the basswood would be ok, especially since my P-38 will be flown gently and mostly be a decoration.
 

SlingShot

Maneuvering With Purpose
#5
So, I went to the Dollar Tree on Sunday to pick up some cleaning products (because amazingly enough, they HAD stuff on the shelves), I picked up 15 sheets of FB.

My plan was to rebuild my Sea Duck, but then I looked at the P-38 and realized it was about the same size, and I needed something to do during this quarantine. So, I started looking into what it would take.

I've got plenty of FB to scratch build it, but I noticed that it requires some plywood for the spars, and I can't really 3D print those out. Getting 3/32 plywood is impossible right now due to the local hobby shops being closed, but I'm still thinking about building this sucker. I HAVE been able to find 1/8 masonite at the local Home Depot, and was thinking I might try using that - anyone else use it, or have you gone specifically to the hobby shops and bought the specific thickness plywood?
I haven't built the P-38, but I've used cut down, 5 gal. paint stirrers on my B-25's. Plenty strong. I also used a large size craft stick as a joiner.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#6
I haven't built the P-38, but I've used cut down, 5 gal. paint stirrers on my B-25's. Plenty strong. I also used a large size craft stick as a joiner.
I may try that...I'm also thinking of getting a sheet of masonite and cutting my own out, but I'll be limited due to my lack of power tools (apartments frown on the use of a band saw, jigsaw, etc. LOL).

I'll figure something out...
 

Boberticus

Active member
#7
it looks like there is foam formers for the correct spar shape, and the spar never gets thinner than a half inch.

you could buy a strip of 1/2 inch aluminum from home depot, cut the center halfway through and bend it to the dihedral, like how @nerdnic designed his newer spars, then just glue them to the foam spar formers

you basically cut it halfway through where you want it to bend, then carefully flat bend it to desired shape. I've managed to fully close the gap and cut it again, then bent it more for a more dramatic angle too.

Their super strong and super light.

fudge i need to build this plane... in bright Red, with a big ole' YIPPEE in white on the nose... Cough
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#8
it looks like there is foam formers for the correct spar shape, and the spar never gets thinner than a half inch.

you could buy a strip of 1/2 inch aluminum from home depot, cut the center halfway through and bend it to the dihedral, like how @nerdnic designed his newer spars, then just glue them to the foam spar formers

you basically cut it halfway through where you want it to bend, then carefully flat bend it to desired shape. I've managed to fully close the gap and cut it again, then bent it more for a more dramatic angle too.

Their super strong and super light.

fudge i need to build this plane... in bright Red, with a big ole' YIPPEE in white on the nose... Cough
First time I saw this was on a rerun of the TV show Black Sheep Squadron (aka Baa Baa Black Sheep prior to its syndication). There was a hotshot ace that flew one and was flying recklessly around the Corsairs on an escort mission. I keep looking to see if I can find screenshots from it, but so far nothing. I'd love to do a P-38 in that livery, or maybe paint one up to look like a metallic silver with yellow and black air racing livery like some of the Mustangs I've seen.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#9
The build has started!

My dad had some 1/8” thick strips of hardwood (I think he said they were walnut, maybe oak?) that I was able to cut the wing spars from; as you can see, I’m in the process of cutting parts out for assembly. Can’t wait to build this sucker - gonna take apart the Sea Duck and use the electronics from it since my wife fell on it and wrecked the wing.
8254153A-85E5-44A2-B16C-879EFAEE22EA.jpeg
 

spdxdmn

Active member
#10
The build has started!

My dad had some 1/8” thick strips of hardwood (I think he said they were walnut, maybe oak?) that I was able to cut the wing spars from; as you can see, I’m in the process of cutting parts out for assembly. Can’t wait to build this sucker - gonna take apart the Sea Duck and use the electronics from it since my wife fell on it and wrecked the wing. View attachment 163860
That is some very heavy wood (relatively) to be using for spars.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#11
That is some very heavy wood (relatively) to be using for spars.
Well, since I can't get the 3/32" plywood that's required for the build due to hobby shops being closed and online retailers not having it available, I'm trying the walnut strips. I think the weight between the two is going to be negligible for the purpose I need it for.
 
#12
Perhaps some 1/8” thick hobby grade plywood available, usually, at Michael’s. 12x24 for around $6? I bought two sheets. Fortunately I have a bandsaw and am able to cut for the control horns, firewalls and spars. I’m concerned over Masonite as it’s not cross plied, or basswood for the same reason. This Michaels ply is only three layers, but seems very rigid.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#13
Perhaps some 1/8” thick hobby grade plywood available, usually, at Michael’s. 12x24 for around $6? I bought two sheets. Fortunately I have a bandsaw and am able to cut for the control horns, firewalls and spars. I’m concerned over Masonite as it’s not cross plied, or basswood for the same reason. This Michaels ply is only three layers, but seems very rigid.
Locally, Michael's didn't have any in that size, or else I would have gone that route. :(

At any rate, it's coming along fairly nicely. I had an issue with the nose cone fit that goes over the battery box; the nose is looser than what they originally expected; I fixed it, though by putting some neodymium magnets on the battery box wall and a used and broken blade on the nose; it holds pretty darned well now. The nose will still slide off, but only with a decent amount of force.