With its first flight on January 27, 1939, the twin boom P-38 responded to a request from the United States Army Air Corps for a twin engine high altitude interceptor. Mostly used during World War 2 in the Pacific, where the two engines and range made in good for operating long flights over water, it was also used in other theater, including Europe where is was used as a long range escort aircraft for bombing missions. Other variants were used for reconnaissance, ground attack, night fighting and dive bombing. The versatile aircraft went on to serve the entire war, finally being retired in 1949 with the advent of jet fighters.
With its unique look it has long been sought after by modelers, and now Tamiya
has released a P-38F/G in 1/48 scale to much delight.
7 Plastic Sprues
1 Clear Plastic Sprue
1 Sheet of Canopy Masks
1 Sheet of Decals
3 Metal Balls (Weights)
Large Paint and Marking Scheme Sheet
Having always had an interest in the the P-38 Lightning, and not that great of an aircraft modeler as a lot of aircraft kits scare me, I was excited when Tamiya
announced this release. Tamiya
has always had a reputation of well engineered kits, and this one looks no different. Molded in grey plastic, an initial review of the sprues shows the typical great Tamiya
details. The panels line are finely engraved and there are some nice detail parts. It should also be known that the kit can built either the F or G variant, so the builder will have to watch the instructions for the right parts as you move through assembly. I did notice that it does look like all ejector marks will be hidden in construction, and I found no sink marks on my example.
Starting in the cockpit, the details to look nice. There are two instrument panels, one for the F and one for the G, with associated decals. And as usual for Tamiya
a decal included for the seat belts, but no raised details on the seat itself or photo-etched. I would like to see Tamiya
include photo-etched seat belts sometime. Instructions show the cockpit ‘tub’ assembled then attached to the upper fuselage/wing piece.
The same details carry on into the landing bay wheel bays. The front bay is built like a tub onto the wing support structure, while the two out bays are built as tubs to be installed between the boom halves. It does look from the instructions that the landing gear itself can be added later, for ease of painting. The struts themselves also look to be very well done.
Nicely included from Tamiya
for this kit is front weights to help keep the nose down when sitting on its wheels. Three separate metal balls are included, one for the nose, and one each for right behind the propeller in each boom. Tamiya
has molded in nice look cradles to hold the balls in place. This does mean there is no engine details nor gun bay details.
The kit does include two types of supercharger assemblies to keep in line with building either the F or G variant. As well as two different canopy assemblies, both of which can be built in the open or close position. As for the canopies, Tamiya
has included masks, which should make that whole process easier.
The instruction book is very typical Tamiya
, with assembly done over 19 pages. As well there are paint callouts for both Tamiya
bottle and spray paints. It should be noted that some paint callouts are a mix of colors with a ratio provided.
In this kit the painting and marking scheme is printed in color on a large fold out sheet, with markings for the two options shown on opposite sided. The two marking options provided, and it does look like they are based on the two different variants, although the painting and marking scheme are showing the same aircraft variant.
- White 147, 339 Fighter Sqn, 347 Fighter Grp, 13th Air Force, Operation Vengeance(attack on Admiral Yamamoto’s aircraft), Guadalcanal, April 1943
- White 33, 39 Fighter Sqn, 35 Figher Grp, 5th Air Force, Port Moresby, Late 1942
The decal do look nice, but this is normally where Tamiya
fall in a little short, I have had problems in the past with Tamiya
decals being a little thick and not willing to settle down correctly. I am not saying these may not be different, just past experience, including the some recently Tamiya
Out of the box this P-38F/G Lightning from Tamiya
looks pretty nice. The kit has the typical great looks we have come to expect from Tamiya
, nice engraved panel lines, some great looking details, and what looks to be a well engineered kit. Tamiya
has thrown in a few extras like canopy masks and nose weights, but is still lacking some photo-etched for details like seatbelts. The plan is to build this in the very near future, and I will share with you how it builds, but as of now I would highly recommend this kit.