What's the best P-38 kit out there? - RC Groups
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May 17, 2001, 03:02 AM
Flying slowly along..

What's the best P-38 kit out there?

After much thought, I've decided to go ahead and get a P-38 kit. I'm curious as to the best kit available. Hopefully by the time I get it done, I'll have the skills to fly it.
I've flown a lot of slow fly stuff (hence the name) and currently am mastering flying a Zagi, which after about 10 flights is becoming very easy to fly.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts---Rob
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May 17, 2001, 12:14 PM
Flying electric since 1986
Mark Wolf's Avatar
The Hobby Lobby kit is very nice.
May 17, 2001, 12:46 PM
Registered User
Jim Ryan's Avatar
The answer depends on what you want. There's a big jump from my squint scale P-38 plans pack to the very nice molded glass kits like the JR Modell kit (from Czech Republic).

If you want a pretty accurate scale representation, the JR Modell kit is well designed and high quality (pod, nacelles and wing center section molded in one piece and plug-in built-up outer wing panels).

If you want a built-up model that looks sort of like a P-38 and is very easy to fly, my plans pack is pretty easy to build and fly.

May 17, 2001, 02:03 PM
Serenity Now!
jbrundt's Avatar

I just finished a P-38 from HL. It's a very nice kit but a bit on the pricey side. You can see details of it on my web site at http://www.geocities.com/jbrundt/p38.html You really can't classify the kit as an ARF. If you want a good looking model you'll have to do some work.

As for flying I was very impressed with the way it flew. I bungee launched mine and it was not a problem. At 43oz it was a bit safer than trying to hand launch it. I did however have an electrical power problem that caused a crash on the first flight. The plane flew fine for about 3 minutes then I lost ALL power (even to the servos). I used the JETI 35 and HL is checking it out for me now to see where the problem might be. I am flying the P-38 using 6V motors, spinning 6x4 Graupner props on an 8 cell 1250SCR battery pack. one of the things I am definitely changing are the motor connectors. I had used a Tamiya type but I realize now I should have gone with APP or Sermos connectors right from the start. An expensive lesson to be sure. (I undereastimated the current draw of those motors/props on that battery)

I will say that flight performance was very, very good. I had opted for a 1250SCR pack to try and lighten the weight a little more than using the 1700SCR pack HL reccomends. I will suggest that before you try to fly the HL/JR P-38 you get some experience flying a higher performance plane than slowflyers or Zagi's. The wing loading is right around 20 oz/sq ft. While this is not bad, for a small plane like this it means a little faster landing and stall speed then you are used to. The manuevers of this P-38 are very scale like so don't expect a hot, aerobatic ship.

I also have the plans and cores pack of Jim Ryan's P-38. This is a very simple building kit and has the advantage of a lighter wing loading. However, as Jim said, he sacrificed some scale fidelity to acheive the desired performance. You'll probably have a little more work with Jim's kit but of course how much effort and scale looks you want will be one of your determining factors. I have compared Jim's airfoil to the JR one and they are very, very close. With Jim's being slightly thinner. So I would assume both would fly the same relatively IF their AUW were equal.

I'm rebuilding mine. The damage was pretty bad but I was able to reconstruct it. I have been keeping the weight down as well. The plane will fly again. I'm waiting from word from HL on the ESC then she'll be ready to take to the air. The stick time I did have went a long way to easing any doubts or trepidations I might have had about it's flight performance. I'd be glad to answer any questions you might have about the JR kit. Just let me know.

good luck with your decision,

May 17, 2001, 02:09 PM
Registered User
J Bergsmith's Avatar
I have been reading your story on the P-38, sorry to hear about the mishap. But if you were using the tamiya type connectors that could have been your problem. I was wondering if the speed control worked after the crash? I just had a similar problem with sermos connectors, it did not cause the plane to crash because I had a seperate receiver battery. Go with Astro-flight connectors!!!!!!!
May 17, 2001, 03:21 PM
Serenity Now!
jbrundt's Avatar
Originally posted by J Bergsmith:
I just had a similar problem with sermos connectors, it did not cause the plane to crash because I had a seperate receiver battery. Go with Astro-flight connectors!!!!!!!
I went with the Sermos since that's what the concensus seemd to be. Are you saying now that this is a mistake?

May 17, 2001, 04:03 PM
Registered User
J Bergsmith's Avatar
Jeff, did the speed control work on the bench after your P-38 crash?
May 17, 2001, 05:07 PM
Registered User
rcflyer11's Avatar
Originally posted by jbrundt:
I went with the Sermos since that's what the concensus seemd to be. Are you saying now that this is a mistake?
Absolutely not a mistake. I've been using Sermos for 14 years in applications drawing up to 34 amps.. never had a failure

May 17, 2001, 08:53 PM
Chief Turnip Inspector
I've built and am currently flyng Jim's P-38. I have to say that I love it. On the ground i tmay be a bit 'squint-scalish', but up in the air, it really looks and flies the part.

May 17, 2001, 09:11 PM
Registered User
Clayton's Avatar
What about the k&a kits? Once again, I am pushing the K&A fiberglass with sheeted wings kit that I think sells less than the Hobby Lobby's.

I think that I should get a free p-38 kit. This is the second time in two days I've pushed his kits.
May 18, 2001, 12:40 AM
Flying slowly along..
I checked the K&A kit price, I believe it was almost exactly the same as the Hobby Lobby kit (which I ordered today).

As for priming up to fly the thing, I think I'll run it on a buddy box set up first. I am lucky to live near Greg G, who flys 115mph hotliners, and have him to teach me.
I am stepping up the Zagi throws and was doing multiple loops, rolls and such nonsense tonight. I'll just keep plugging away at it. I'm going to hop up the zagi with a Turbo 450 motor to make it faster still.

Please don't get the wrong impression because I own a Zagi, It is a great next step plane for learning acrobatics. It's also nearly indestructable.

It'll take me a while to build the P-38 any way. I'm VERY sorry to hear of your crash. Thanks to all of you for your help---Rob
May 18, 2001, 01:17 AM
Registered User
My K&A P-38 is a slope soarer, but I keep looking at converting it with geared sp400s. It is very scale except for the enlarged ailerons. The light FG pod may need reinforcing to keep from collapsing on landing with the extra weight. The scale size means a fairly high wing loading and higher necessary air speeds.
May 20, 2001, 01:13 AM
Registered User
Ditto on RCflyers comments on Sermos.
They have been the standard for a million years. Very low resistance and almost no increase in resistance over thousands of insertions. My applications are all 32 -34a
Cobalt motor planes.
Deans Ultra Plugs seem good also and are a little smaller.

Good luck, Dave

May 20, 2001, 08:38 PM
Serenity Now!
jbrundt's Avatar
J Bergsmith:

I never did test the ESC on the bench after my crash. I sent it back to HL for them to check out. Just got it yesterday. They were able to duplicate the problem I had and noticed the Tamiya connector was extremely hot. The concensus is that the Tamiya connector was what overheated and lost the connection thereby causing the failure. HL sent me a replacement/repaired ESC w/Semos connectors installed. Those guys are top drawer in my book. Kudos to Jim martin, Mike Hines, L.A. Johnson and the rest of the team at HL. I'll be getting a Terry soon from them.

With regards to the merits of the HL, Ryan and K&A P-38's; I can only comment on what I've seen. I have not heard much about the K&A P-38 which is too bad because it looks nice as well. As with any warbird it will take a bit more skill on the pilot to fly it successfully. Just make sure your skill are up to the task. For a plane like the P-38 you certainly wouldn't want to transition to it from something like a Sky Scooter. And Rob, I in no way think any less because you fly a Zagi. I'm sure it's a great flying plane but bear in mind a flying wing has sufficiently different characteristics in the air than a traditional planform airplane. My only suggestion would be that you try to get some stick time on a conventional type plane. That will go a long way to helping your airwork.

And as a note on the sermos connectors; I've heard about a 50-50 split between those and Astroflight's and they are all good so I'll stick with the Sermos choice. You gotta fish or cut bait...

My P-38 will be back in the air this week (hopefully) now that I have everything I need and the repairs are completed. I'll fly in prime to make sure she's airworthy. It may be ugly but if all goes well there should not be any mishaps. Always time to paint and pretty her up later. Wish me luck.....

May 20, 2001, 09:52 PM
Registered User
J Bergsmith's Avatar
Good to hear you got good service from Hobby Lobby. Sermos are a better than the tamiya thats for sure. Hope your P-38 gets back up in the air!!!