Air Force One 1/48th scale AF1-0150 Lockheed P-38J Lightning USAAF ‘Pudgy IV’ 431st FS, 475th FG, Maj. Thomas McGuire. Buy now online at Flying Tigers.
The Lockheed P-38 Lightning is a World War II-era American piston-engined fighter aircraft. Developed for the United States Army Air Corps, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. Allied propaganda claimed it had been nicknamed the fork-tailed devil by the Luftwaffe and “two planes, one pilot” by the Japanese. The P-38 was used for interception, dive bombing, level bombing, ground attack, night fighting, photo reconnaissance, radar and visual pathfinding for bombers and evacuation missions, and extensively as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks under its wings.
The P-38 was used most successfully in the Pacific Theatre of Operations and the China-Burma-India Theatre of Operations as the aircraft of America’s top aces, Richard Bong (40 victories), Thomas McGuire (38 victories) and Charles H. MacDonald (27 victories). In the South West Pacific theatre, the P-38 was the primary long-range fighter of United States Army Air Forces until the appearance of large numbers of P-51D Mustangs toward the end of the war.
The P-38 was unusually quiet for a fighter, since the exhaust was muffled by the turbo-superchargers. It was extremely forgiving and could be mishandled in many ways but the rate of roll in the early versions was too low for it to excel as a dogfighter. The P-38 was the only American fighter aircraft in high-volume production throughout American involvement in the war, from Pearl Harbour to Victory over Japan Day. At the end of the war, orders for 1,887 more were cancelled.