Something about the P-38…
July 11, 2014 in Aviation
The P-38 will always be a special airplane for me. I grew up in San Gabriel, CA from 1939 to 1947, all during WWII. Ages 1 to 8, a very formative time in a young person’s life and mind.
We had all kinds of warplanes flying over every day, on their way out to the San Gabriel mountains, for test flights. The P-38 became one of my favorites, if not my most favorite. Years later (1974, when the SR-71 set the New York to London record), at Farnborough in England, being able to meet Kelly Johnson was incredible. My brain turned to mush, and I never got to say and ask the things I should have. I did tell him I had enjoyed his aircraft designs for many years, and he laughed, and said “they either have too much wing or not enough!”
Then a few years later, in 1979, I attended the 40th Anniversary Symposium on the P-38, in Burbank, and got to meet Kelly again, still in awe! My previous employer, Chet Patterson, who flew the P-38 in combat in Europe, was also in attendance, and it was a far out evening, lasting until 1 AM at least. The next day famous Lockheed test pilot Tony LeVier flew a restored P-38 for us attendees at the Burbank airport, quite a treat.
Anyway, the P-38 has remained a favorite over all the years, though my interest in the RAF, and British aircraft, has taken up more of my attention as the years have gone by, and I learned more about what was going on outside of San Gabriel during those years of WWII. Somewhere I have a photo of me holding a card (paper) model of a P-38, in what looks like 1/18 scale (very big anyway), that my dad made for me, all those years ago in San Gabriel.
This is the old Revell 1/32 P-38J, done in the markings of Major Thomas McGuire, the second ranking fighter ace for the US in WWII (after Dick Bong, who also flew the P-38). He flew in the 475th Fighter Group in the Pacific Theatre of operations, and was killed in action there. McGuire AFB in New Jersey is named in his honor. I built this model quite a few years ago. This is not the easiest kit to build, and I guess part of the problem is the twin booms, and trying to get everything to line up right. This seems to be a problem with twin boom aircraft models. I seem to also remember the engine nacelles being a bit of a problem, getting the covers to fit properly. And of course it has many other deficiencies as well, as do all the Revell 1/32 kits of that era. However, they can still offer something to those that like a little challenge. And a little nostalgia.
7 additional images. Click to enlarge