The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a World War II American fighter aircraft built by Lockheed. Developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. Named "fork-tailed devil" (der Gabelschwanz-Teufel) by the Luftwaffe and "two planes, one pilot" (2飛行機、1パイロット Ni hikōki, ippairotto ) by the Japanese, the P-38 was used in a number of roles, including dive bombing, level bombing, ground-attack, night fighting, photo-reconnaissance 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 Theater of Operations and the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations as the mount of America's top aces, Richard Bong (40 victories) and Thomas McGuire (38 victories). In the South West Pacific theater, 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, the exhaust 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 slow for it to excel as a
dogfighter. The P-38 was the only American fighter aircraft in production throughout American involvement in the war, from Pearl Harbor to Victory over Japan Day.
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To built a P-38 in 1/144 (model-length 7cm) is no easy duty - especially to scratch a cockpit with opened canopy. The kit is that from ACADEMY and is not very well detailed, so there is many work to become an pleasant model. In the Squadron Signal-journal I found the foto of the P-38J of the 459th FS / 80th FG flown by Maj. W. Duke named "Twin Dragons" and I had to built it. In the diorama the ground-crew mounted the tree-tube rocket-launcher on the side of the Lightning.
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