P-38 Stunt (oz10684)


P-38 Stunt - plan thumbnail image

About this Plan

P-38 Stunt. Control line semi-scale stunter design, using a single engine. P-38 by Bill Suarez from April 66 Model Airplane News. Wingspan 56 in, wing area 594 sq in. For 35 power.

Quote: "The Fork-Tailed Devil was an appropriate nickname not lightly applied by the Luftwaffe, to the P38 Lightning, as it placed fear in the hearts of German and Japanese pilots alike. It was said to be one of the war's brilliant fighters. Powerful, fast and heavily armed, it excelled at both high altitude combat and low-level strafing duties.

Today there is a definite trend toward scale-like and realistic looking stunt models. The reasons for this trend are obvious they not only give higher appearance points, plus the pride of flying a scale-like aircraft, but also leave a more favorable impression with the judges.

With these ideas in mind, I began looking for a good subject. I soon discovered that a large number of fighter planes had already been built as stunters. Others were not chosen because of general layout which would be too difficult to apply as a contest stunt model. Then I came upon the P38. It was what I was looking for, a sleek looking famous fighter, with a hike gear. The twin boom set-up is different enough to set the model apart from most of the other stunters flown today. Twin booms gave me some doubts. After seeing many other twin boom stunters fly, I was disappointed with their performance as I noticed the problem was in the control systems.

The type of control system shown here was arrived upon after much thought and experimentation. While it is a bit more work, I feel that it is the only system which will assure absolute control in a stunter of this configuration. Since the controls are the heart of any stunt ship, careful attention must be given to them. They must be absolutely bind free and must never have a spring action.

The P38 was completed in early spring and was brought to the local flying site for test flights. Final dimensions worked out to 55-1/2 in wingspan with 610 square inches projected area and a fuselage length of 38 in.

The first flight of the model proved very impressive. The controls gave a positive feel, the line tension was good, and the model had a tendency to groove in all maneuvers. In .fact it performed so well that I put it through the entire AMA pattern on the next flight. Landings were a breeze and pretty to watch. The procedure here is to dive the model slightly, as soon as the engine cuts, until it is a few inches off the ground. Then when the model flies on the downwind side, it will settle in with its nose slightly up. Finally the main gear touches and the nose rocks over into level position.

The top competition at the first contest were very impressed with the P38, but they too had doubts about twin boom stunters. But after my official flight, the word from them was that it was the best flying twin boom stunt model seen to-date.

The P38 has since proved itself a true contest performer and has flown under all types of conditions from dead calm to 25 mph winds.

One of the original intentions of the model was realism and the P-38 scores high here. The first model sported an Olive green top and sky blue underneath. With military markings and a full-house cockpit to gather those all important appearance points, it looks very impressive. The fact is that at many contests, I have been asked when scale would be flown off. But I assure you despite realistic looks, this is a wholehearted stunter designed to bring home the hardware, and not another 'semi-scale semi-stunter' so often seen.

One look at the plans will tell you that the wing in this model is original. My pet peeve is people who use wings from kitted models, design the fuselage, and not only attempt but succeed in receiving maximum originality points in AMA competition. This is unfair not only to the people who put the extra effort forward, but also to those who do not claim originality for the kitted designs.

Construction: Careful study of the plans will show that the construction for the most part, is straight forward. The first and most important item is selection of wood. Sig balsa was used throughout and is recommended. If this is not available, choose the best grade of wood you can get. Choose strength where necessary, but use the lightest wood where strength is not a must. Try to keep weight as low as possible throughout construction. Although the model will fly well at weights over 52 oz, naturally the best performance can be obtained at lighter weights.

Begin construction with the wing by shaping the ribs. This is accomplished by placing 10 rib blanks between templates of W-I and W-IIA and then carving and sanding them to contour. W-I and W-IIA are then reproduced in 1/16 balsa. Now duplicate W-4 and W-5 in 3/32 sheet. Note that W-IIA is omitted on the outboard wing. Pin down trailing edge to flat building board and glue ribs in place making sure that each one is straight. Now add leading edge, spars, trailing edge top plank and trailing edge cap. Glue wing tips in place adding W-12's to top and bottom..."

Direct submission to Outerzone.

Update 06/12/2018: Added full article scan, thanks to Pit.

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P-38 Stunt - completed model photo



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User comments

If anyone can send in the scanned article for this one, that would be great. I've just scraped some text through OCR off an ebay listing, but a full scan would be good.
SteveWMD - 06/12/2018
Many thanks to Pit for the article. Working on this now.
SteveWMD - 06/12/2018
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