Book Review
Building Trumpeter P-38
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

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Building and Detailing the Trumpeter 1/32 Scale P-38 Lightning from Mike Ashey Publishing is the fourth manual in the Comprehensive Series Scale Model Aircraft Manual series. This manual features 48 pages and 261 sequenced color photos. It is printed in an A4 format. This publication series is unique in format, too, with pages pre-punched to fit into a binder; a cover and title page are included, as is a page of spine banners to identify the book.

Mike Ashey has been writing acclaimed modeling books since the late 1980s. Now he has entered the desktop publishing arena with his books and new titles. Let's examine why his books are so highly regarded.

Comprehensive Series Scale Model Aircraft Manual
Mr. Ashey's approach to publishing is unique and allows incorporation of a large gallery of sequenced color pictures. As such it is a great value. Each manual is printed on heavy stock glossy paper and designed to be stored in a customer supplied 3-ring "D" binder. Each manual is pre-punched for a 3-ring binder; it also comes with a front and back heavy cardstock cover to protect your manual, plus front, back and side cardstock inserts for the binder. The side insert has 3 different cutout sizes for 1.5, 2 and 3 inch "D" ring binders.

United States and Puerto Rico Purchases can be made using PAYPAL, personal checks or money orders.

For International Purchases see the website instructions before placing an order. Mike Ashey Publishing Comprehensive Series Scale Model Ship Manuals are also now available on eBay. EBay also has manuals which are in "bundle" packages.

Trumpeter's 1/32 P-38, Built and Detailed
As tilted, this manual shows in detail how to construct and detail this big model, from preparation to final sealing of the decals. Specific procedures beyond out-of-the-box assembly include:
    Adding interior reinforcement
    Adding weight for balance
    Airbrushing, drybrushing, weathering
    Backdating the aircraft version
    Demonstration of opening and detailing access panels
    Filling and contouring gaps between parts
    Improving the fit of control surfaces and flaps
    Photoetch enhancements
    Preparation and forming of photoetch parts
    Replacing substandard parts with plastic rod
    Substituting superior parts from other kits for more accurate in appearance and shape
    Use of plastic strips and super glue

Like the proceeding manuals the content consists of 6-2 photos per page. These demonstrate to excellent effect Mr. Ashey's techniques. He uses tape to test fit of all parts - even engine and cockpit assemblies! Eliminating ejector circle marks and excess plastic waste on various parts is demonstrated in several photos. The author also addresses reshaping parts. Superglue is copiously used in assembly. I am particularly impressed in his method of supergluing while the parts are taped. Also presented is the use of white glue to fill gaps. Fortifying areas for drilling is not new but it is interesting to see demonstrated. As is the use of plastic strips to fill gaps in lieu of putties and gap filling glues. Plastic card comes to the rescue of a gap between the fuselage and canopy.

It is interesting to see his use of steel wool to prepare the surface of parts in lieu of sandpaper.

Opening access panels is demonstrated, not only cutting the panels open, but thinning them for scale thickness, and shaping curved pieces, too.

Those unfamiliar with it will learn of the technique of tinting and shading colors for grater definition of detail. An amazing extra bit of realism is shown by Mike's masking canopy frames on the interior as well as the exterior.

Prepping and masking the aircraft for painting take some 12 pages, or about 36 images. The final page hosts two larger photos on each side, displaying the completed model in all it s glory.

Unlike other manuals, this one does not end with a page for notes. Two blank pages are included, perhaps to keep notes with. Finally, the manual is accompanied by Mike Ashey adverts to whet one's appetite for his other interesting subjects.

There are plenty. All are clear, crisp, clean and sharp high-quality images of each step. For the "how-to" portion, six images are used per page, with two bigger images displaying the finished model. I can describe the photos to you or you can judge them by the images in this review - a far less loquacious presentation.

Like his other manuals I have seen, Mike Ashey's Building and Detailing the Trumpeter 1/32 Scale P-38 Lightning is an impressive publication. Even if one has no interest in Trumpy's big Lightning, the tips, techniques, and ideas presented are valuable for any modeling genre. Yes, I continue to be enthusiastic about these manuals. The other four I have reviewed are equally as comprehensive, clearly written, and pleasingly arraigned as this manual. The captions narrate the images imparting the topic without eclipsing the photos. Photographic support is excellent.

I have no meaningful criticism of this product and happily recommend it.

Please remember to mention to Mike Ashey Publishing that you found this manual here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Comprehensive, clearly written, and pleasingly arraigned. Excellent photos.
Lows: De minimis.
Verdict: I am enthusiastic about these manuals. They are a good value and valuable for any modeling genre.
  Scale: 1:32
  Mfg. ID: Aircraft Manual 4
  PUBLISHED: Jan 26, 2019
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Mike Ashey Publishing!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


This is great, Fred, I have the kit in my stash with Jerry Rutman's backdate conversion to make the plane that shot down Yamamoto. This is a real "must have."
JAN 28, 2019 - 06:10 AM

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