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P-38 Lightning Review Part 2,Hasegawa 1/48th

Ever since Tamiya announced the that they were going to do a P-38 earlier this year, it was like wow and ever since that we have been impatiently waiting for it to hit the shelves. With one numb nut know it all swearing they will not do an early F/G it would be either a J or L. His reasoning, it would be offensive to Japanese modelers as it is one of the versions that shot down Admiral Yamamoto’s Betty in 1943. Just like Swastikas are offensive in Europe, yet though illegal some modelers still display them at home with the swastikas. Yo and behold Tamiya does an early F/G variant and even one of the schemes is of one of the P-38’s that participated in that operation. Go figure. Don’t assume. You know who you are. It has been one of the most anticipated models a lot of us have hoped for.

Since 1993 we have had Hasegawa produce the P-38J in 48th scale followed soon with Academy’s Lightning. Finally to fill a gap from Aurora’s P-38 and the mid 60’s Monogram Lightning. And then later Hobby Boss’s P-38. The issues that has plagued the Hasegawa , Academy and Monogram are just building them. Difficult, fussy, labor intensive. But the shape is accurate. The Hobby Boss which I have not seen so I will say what has been said has shape issues. There are very well done build ups of these but not a bunch. 100 Mustangs, 75 T-bolts, 50 P-40’s, maybe 10 Lightnings. Like Brett Green mentioned because of the reviews by others he has never attempted to build any of them. Thats amazing. The Tam P-38 will change all that.

Now lets see what is in the box of the Hasegawa P-38J. Virginia Mae, kit #JT1

Hasegawas typical light grey plastic. In bags decal sheet at the bottom of the box. And the paint scheme color graphic for Virginia Mae. And by the way, remember that neat addition of the chrome mirror decals in the Tamiya kit for the landing gear. Hasegawa also supplies this feature as well. Interesting.

Sprue A like Tamiya starts with the upper wing and center pod. Already a bit of a difference in layout. The rear decking is a separate part. The flying surfaces are molded into the wings so cuttlng will be needed if you wish to pose them. The forward section of the wings are also molded. The panel lines are fine and well done. Typical crisp details of Hasegawa, on smooth grey plastic.


Sprue B, is the lower center pod and inner wing section, again similar to the Tam”s layout, but Hase has the nose gear bay molded into the pod, the Id lamps also are in the pod. Details are ok with in the bay.

The lower wing outer panels are set out board of the tail booms. The wing tips are not separate.

The tail booms. Very much a different lay out compared to Tamiya. Though do have the main gear bays as separate multiple parts. But the side scoops and tail rudder are molded into the tail boom, Tamiya these are separate parts.

The Tamiya kit already has builders raving in how well done and easy to assemble the kit is. I am sure the engineers had at their think tank several Hasegawa, Academy and the others when they sat down and decided they wanted to pursue a P-38. Like the F-14 a very complicated air frame not only in plastic but the real Tomcat was a maintenance nightmare. Yet they produced an excellent model of the A and D. Now taking the Lightning and engineering it to make a complex air frame like the Tom and make it simple to build and yet maintain a high standard of detail quality and for the Super detailers a museum piece and for the beginners despite the price a model they can handle and fun to build and so they want to do another. But don’t throw away those Hase, Academy and any of the others. They are not bad kits, still excellent in their way. Just not easy to build. Not here to bash them, they are still viable and make excellent models. It’s hobby, I like the challenge, I will build this Hase kit and hopefully it will be just as fun to build as the Tam kit. though not as easy and I look forward to that.

Now by the way I’m the other guy that Tom mentioned earlier with his lame attempt to justify his incorrect statement of the assassination of Yamamoto. Being in the Navy, i took the opportunity to attend the Naval War College, one of the courses I took was the study of the UCMJ ,military law and the military laws of other nations being that I would be stepping foot on foreign soil in my career. US doctrine is unique to what other nations do when at war and how to conduct ourselves when involved in conflict. One is that all combatants are fair game, the primary objective is to win and achieve total victory with minimum of casualties and collateral damage to civilians and property. Fair game is to cut the head off of the snake, that means generals, admirals and senior field officers. To deny the enemy the use of command and control. It don’t matter what historians say in books, no matter how good and accurate that book may be. The bottom line denying the enemy their leaders is part of the plan, and that plan is to destroy their ability and will to fight, which means take out their leaders when the opportunity presents itself. You think Yamamoto was the only one on our list to target and eliminate, it was the whole Japanese military hierarchy. Same doctrine with Nazi Germany starting with Hitler. They were all targets. It is war, war that has been conducted for centuries, take out the leader and break their will to fight. At war everyone is fair game except civilians. The head of state is commander and chief, he is fair game. Trust me the Germans and Japanese had their own plans for us and the British command. They did try to take out Churchill. Monty, Bradley, Eisenhower all targets and i don’t believe Patton was an accident. When the word assassinate is used in the time of war it is an incorrect statement period. When historians use it. it’s their opinion. They are just men who do not know the law or ignorant of the law. To this very day as it was in WWII, in how we prosecute a target was to make sure that no civilians or property be harmed. Or to minimize the collateral damage at best. Even Spec Ops, those teams go in go out, Did the Germans do that, no, the Japanese, no, the Russians, No, Communist China, no, they all fight without any conditions, it’s all out kill and destroy, everyone is fair game. Only the US and the Commonwealth (the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) conduct military operations as set forth by the Geneva Convention. But we have had our own bad apples.

Fly Navy

44 additional images. Click to enlarge.


24 responses to P-38 Lightning Review Part 2,Hasegawa 1/48th

  1. Thanks, Chuck: your excellent review is appreciated. Your political commentary on war is spot-on, and reflects how real-world thinking…thanks.

  2. Great review, sir. Your tempting me to do a P-38, though it’d be a 1/72. All fair in love and war….?

    • You got it…………….. Targets of opportunity or as they are called today, a High Value Target. Not an assassination. Please read my explanation below.

    • Hi Robert, Hasegawa 72nd P-38’s are excellent little gems. War is not fair, todays warfare is not so defined when your enemy is wearing civilian garb not a distinctive uniform. Now you identify any potential targets when your on patrol based on the age of who you are approaching or coming towards you. I don’t envy the boys on the ground in today’s environment

  3. Thanks for posting this review. It looks like the older Hasegawa kit is a decent one as far as the quality of the parts. I have read on another website where a person built up a jig to ensure alignment was spot on during his build of this kit. Apparently this is a common issue with this (and other manufacturer’s) versions of the Lightning, but now the Tamiya is available this problem has been cured.

    Finally !!!! Someone who actually understands what I was trying to explain last night before I was “muted”……………….. Granted I probably said a few things in anger, but there has been a problem brewing between Tom C and I for a while now. It isn’t his first rodeo with causing turmoil and that’s where the term “Cleavered” was coined. I can join that honorable club now can’t I ???

    How can a person be considered an assassin if they can’t be brought up on charges of Murder ?? Simple…………….. They acted under orders and made a justified killing of another that was the member of an enemy state during a time of War.

    The difference between John Wikles Booth and Rex Barber is huge. If Booth would have survived his encounter inside the burning barn with Union Soldiers, he would have been brought forward with charges of Capitol Murder against the Head of a State, namely President Abraham Lincoln. Booth Assassinated Lincoln………………. plain and simple. It happened in peacetime and Lincoln was not a member of an armed service. Both men involved were civilians.

    Fast forward to 1943 and Rex Barber killed Admiral Yamamoto. The Admiral was flying in a marked Japanese aircraft, he was wearing a Japanese Navy uniform, and he was a member of the Japanese Navy. He was killed , (planned as it may be) in a military action involving combatants from nations that were in a state of declared War with each other.

    Therefor it was not an “Assassination” as incorrectly stated by Max Hastings or anyone for that matter. Will Barber ever be considered for Murder charges or Lamphier placed on attempted murder charges ??? Absolutely not………. Will the ground crews who serviced the P-38’s that were part of the hunter group of P-38’s be brought up on charges of conspiracy to commit murder ???? Nope……. not happening either. In stead they were given Medals !!!!

    The Admiral was killed in a military action by military members of the opposing Countries. It was a justified shooting at this point and not Assassination as claimed by Max Hastings AND Tom Cleaver.

    Both men are authors, and both men are incorrect. If anyone agrees with them, they are wrong for the reasons I stated above. The proof is that no charges of Murder have ever been considered against Rex Barber OR Thomas Lanphier or anyone involved in the planning OR execution of Admiral Yamamoto. If the Japanese had won the War things would have been different since history is always written by the victor.

    Sorry to get off track, your kit review is very good. Thanks for posting it.

  4. Chuck, I like this review and its conclusion: In war by the book, i.e. declared war, there is no such thing as an assassination. Neither will a court-martial be imposed to a soldier firing on an armed and dangerous opponent in such setting, in contrast to civil situations and in case of war crimes. Other than that, I found this Yamamoto story always very intriguing. Down below the intelligence was the cracking of the IJN naval code. The IJN meticulously planned visits by the high command over (ciphered) radio transmission. It was quite a feat to crack the IJN code and ciphers have always intrigued me. So I bumped into the story still as a kid still.

    Other than that, Yamamoto was a US scholar for a while and knew what risk his country (through the warmongering Tojo cabinet to be precise) took when it prepared for Pearl Harbor. Yamamoto had first hand experience with America’s industrial might – having seen it with his own eyes – and realized a quick and decisive victory and subsequent peace agreement with his former Alma Mater was all what separated Japan from total annihilation in a protracted conflict. He choose to serve his country in uniform, tacitly accepting the risk of being killed in armed conflict. In the end, his fear about the war’s direction became reality, although he did not live to see it because he had been P38-ed prior to the onset of the final battles toward the Japanese homeland.

    A very nice review! Thanks for posting!

    • Michel, spot on, you actually added to what I was actually going to also state, but you did that for me thank you. The fact Yamamoto spent time made friends, well liked here. And revered in his homeland. The attack on Pearl Harbor was not the result he wanted to achieve, many things went wrong as the tides of war will do, everything was planned and to be coordinated with the ambassadors in Washington, but it didn’t happen. A missed opportunity with the carriers not being in port. How lucky is that for us. Still it was a wake up call for us and were in trouble, thank God that the Japanese couldn’t follow up with an invasion right after. Giving us time to spool up and start catching up with ships and equipment and training.

  5. Maybe we could give the assassination angle a rest and focus on the modeling and move away from the politics? Just a though.

    ” With one numb nut know it all swearing they will not do an early F/G it would be either a J or L. His reasoning, it would be offensive to Japanese modelers as it is one of the versions that shot down Admiral Yamamoto’s Betty in 1943. Just like Swastikas are offensive in Europe, yet though illegal some modelers still…”

    I put that theory up on the board. I’ve been called a lot worse and have eaten lots of crow before, but blame is for small children and your higher power to decide. I work with kids and a basic tenet is to move away from name calling. It promotes constructive positive conversations. We can all agree that Yamamoto’s passing was controversial on many levels. Let’s play the ball and not the man. How about sticking with modeling for a change.

    • Good points Stephen. I’m done with what I wanted to say and I agree that we should get back to the models.

      My original intent was not to offend. Then I got fired up and the gloves came off. Sorry. But everything I mentioned was based on facts and not just an opinion. Enough said so I’ll shut up now.

      This is a very good kit review. I have some of the Hasegawa P-38’s, a few Monogram kits, and yet more Academy versions awaiting in the build pile. I have been wanting to build up “YIPPEE” in all red / orange for quite some time. Another 38 I have been wanting to build up is Scat that was flown by Robin Olds. I have a set of decals that are specific for various P-38’s as flown by him.

      This excitement (and occasional controversy), is going to fuel my urges to build up a few 38’s in the very near future. I am way overdue for a Lightning build. The last time I made one I was still a teenager. It was the 1/32 scale Revell kit and this is the box top of the very kit I built last.

      The only other P-38 I ever constructed was this one. The ancient Aurora kit. Here too is an example of my old kits box art.

      My how things have changed. My Aurora 38 had raised lines where they wanted you to add the decals. I almost looked like a P-38. Almost. It had two engines and two booms.

      • Good on you Louis. I prefer to share in our common interests,show a little respect and in any creative process throwing out ideas that are clunkers with out having to feel guilt and shame is good thing. We learn from our mistakes and move forward in life.

        I’ve got that Revell P-38 in 1/32nd and its one of the better kits of its time. I have read several build articles and its a good foundation for a project. I believe someone has cast some resin goodies to back date that kit too.

      • Lets further lighten it up.The only P-38 I’ve done was the odd scale 1/96 Aurora, it resembled a ‘F’ though the box art shows the later mod. I don’t know how true this is but my mother during WWII was in the Civil Air Patrol, said she saw one at an airfield land on a moving flat bed. What was mom drinking at the time I don’t know, maybe I should do a dio of such. It was her favorite aircraft .

        2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

        • Robert, @roofrat

          That’s a very good idea !!!! that would be a neat little diorama…………..I can’t ever recall seeing one of these 1/96 scale Aurora P-38 kits before………….. but I have seen a real life full sized Piper Cub land on top of a truck that had been modified with a small landing strip that was built up on top of the cab and bed of the pickup truck. They matched the Piper’s airspeed to truck’s ground speed, and it was done right in front of us on the runway at an airshow I attended as a little boy. As far as Mom’s Lightning story………… on a flat bed. Interesting……………. very interesting. Your mom obviously had good taste !!!!

  6. Great review.
    I am working on my Tamiya p38 right now and its magnificent. Hands down one of the best kits period. I’ve also done the hashtags 38 some years ago and honestly don’t know why people said it was so hard. I enjoyed mine and it looks good.
    Last of all, I do not understand could take offence to a historically significant aeroplane mission, IE Yammomoto being shot down.
    It happened, it needed to happen at the time, and to reproduce that particular P38 is to my mind, a great choice. I welcome the scheme even though I’m actually doing an Aleutions scheme.
    People really need to calm down, and think a little before getting offended.
    Again, great review which I really enjoyed. 😀

  7. Chuck @uscusn, as everyone has stated above. Nice review and I look forward to the build and will be following with interest.

  8. Nice review, but the Right Reverend Villnueva might want to renew his understanding of the Seven Deadly Sins, particularly “Envy.”

    Thomas Aquinas said of Envy: “Envy according to the aspect of its object is contrary to charity, whence the soul derives its spiritual life… Charity rejoices in our neighbor’s good, while envy grieves over it.”

    And yes, I do “know it all.” It’s why and how I do what I do, and live in Encino rather than San Bernardino.

    • Really that your house is bigger than mine routine. Rather childish ain’t it? Coveting is in the 10 Commandments, I do not covet or envy anything or anyone. I am happy with what I have, what I have achieved and who I am, have no needs other that you quit this nonsense be civil and cut the c**p. For someone that says is superior you really act like a street hood.

  9. Max Hastings in his book “Retribution” used the term “assassination” with reference to the Yamamoto raid. Hastings is one of the top military historians in the world and that book is the best written that chronicals the last twelve months of the war in the Pacific from the point of view of ALL of the players. I doubt he’d appreciate anyone terming him a “politically-correct liberal.”
    Michael Peck wrote this in the National Interest:

    “Yamamoto’s assassination is still significant because it has been cited as a precedent for today’s drone strikes. To be clear, there is no doubt that assassinating Yamamoto was legal according to the laws of war. He was an enemy soldier in uniform, flying in an enemy military aircraft that was attacked by uniformed U.S. military personnel in marked military aircraft. This is nothing new. In 1942, British commandos unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate Rommel, and modern militaries devote great efforts to locating enemy headquarters to kill commanders and staffs.”

    “The U.S. military treated it as a purely military matter that didn’t need civilian approval. Admiral Nimitz authorized the interception, and the orders were passed down the military chain of command. There was no presidential decision nor Justice Department review. It’s hard to imagine that the killing of a top Al Qaeda leader, let alone a top Russian, Chinese or North Korean commander, would be treated so routinely.”

    “Yamamoto’s death was significant on the symbolic level. But in military terms, he was just another casualty of war.”

    • Give it a rest……………. I was willing to let this go but “Mr. Know it all” just can’t stop……….. I even made an apology hoping this would end.

      You’re really good at making friends aren’t you ??? What happened to the “Mute” button ??? I tried using it and apparently it has no effect on you does it ???

      I’ll bet that you have never even talked to Max Hastings, but you act like you’re the best of buddies. I have purchased one of his books on the Korean War. It is very good. After getting to know what kind of person you really are, I’ll never buy anything or watch anything that you are associated with on purpose now.

      You are very knowledgeable on some subjects, I’ll give you credit for that. However you are not an expert on everything as you claim.

      People are getting tired of all this bickering. Please stop. Cease fire. You stop and I will too. Lets agree to disagree and call it quits. Lets act like adults for a change and get back to the joys of modelling.

      Quit picking on people and faulting them for minor errors or omissions they might have done on their builds. If you really must do this type of thing, why don’t you become a quality inspector at a condom factory ???? That would suit you fine……… See how they fit on your head…………. You would probably need an extra large because your head is swollen from your superiority complex.

      You bring nothing to this website that is new. Everything you post is second hand two day old information that can be seen first over at Modeling Madness. Other than that all you do is criticize others, and you are very adept with copy and paste. Almost without exception every article you have written is simply a repeat performance of what you said over at MM.

      It is especially a low blow to try and shame someone about where they live.

      Are you sure that you even have the correct City ????? You might want to check your facts…………….. but typically you write fiction. So this is not necessary is it ??? Simply everyone is expected to go along with what Tom Cleaver has said and all is good……………. Wrong answer. If you said the sky was blue, I would go outside to make sure that nightfall has not happened yet.

      Yet when someone fires back you get all defensive. You can dish it out but you can’t take it.

      Again I ask you to please stop this nonsense. It is not productive and is bringing down the friendly atmosphere that usually exists here on IModeller. This is the only website that I have ever registered on or posted any of my work. I have no intentions of leaving. I might get banned, but I’m not going by free will. I truly enjoy this website, and I have made some very good friends here.

      I like it here as does everyone else. But you Sir are a poison apple and will contaminate the entire lot if allowed.

      Discussion is one thing and criticism is another. You excel in the latter. The number of people who have had a nasty encounter with you is unusually high. Many of us have become full fledged members of the “Cleavered Club”. At first I made an exception for you because of your alleged mental illness. Now I believe its simply an excuse for you to act like a j**k and get away with it.

      Again, please stop. It’s getting old and everyone else is getting tired of this nonsense as am I.

      LET IT GO !!!!!

      • You were the one who started it Louis. Since you happen to think the same as I do – LET IT GO! – how about we start over and this time when we have arguments where we stick to facts? (facts are faxcts – opinions, as they say, are like that other orifice everyone has) It’s really a lot more fun that way, the last time I checked, and if we have to keep this up, I’m going to miss your good work and educational research.

        Please note I deleted the post about last night’s hassle this afternoon.

        Post here that you unmute me and I will unmute you. I notice you still list me as a “friend,” as I do you. Why don’t we pay attention to that?

        • In a nutshell I originally posted that Yamamoto was not assassinated and that he was justifiably killed in an engagement between the military forces of two countries who were at war with each other as the reason why I thought that he was not assassinated. I went on to state that he was wearing a military uniform, flying in a marked Japanese Navy aircraft and also a member of the Japanese Navy.

          I also posted that my beliefs on your choice of colors as RAF colors were wrong when you built your P-38.

          These are my opinions and I still stand by them based on facts. So Yamamoto was not killed under these circumstances ????? If so I would really like to see where you found your information at. Otherwise the entire cadre of American personnel who were involved in Operation Vengeance could have been brought up on charges of either murder, attempted murder or conspiracy to commit murder if indeed the man was assassinated as you wrote.

          Instead some were presented medals. This event had to be closely guarded as the US didn’t want to tip the Japanese into realizing that one of their codes were broken.

          That is the difference between an assassination and a justification for killing during a time of War between two Nations. This is what happens when people are at war. People die. We are taught “though shalt not kill” in the Bible, so this goes against our grain, especially when the event happened over 75 years ago and people are no longer here who experienced this.

          So then when a military sniper pulls his trigger and kills an enemy soldier using these same rules of engagement is he an assassin too ??? In peacetime it would be considered murder if something like that happened and it would be an assassination. The same thing is true if this was done to FDR, Hitler or Hirohito. They were all heads of state. This is another key ingredient that is needed for it to be considered a true assassination. The unfortunate victim has to be a head of state ie., the leader of a nation.

          What isn’t common knowledge is that there were assassination plans being made during the war to kill these leaders that I mentioned above.

          Yamamoto met none of this criteria, call it what you may. He was in fact as you quoted “another unfortunate casualty of war”. Nothing more and nothing less.

          I do understand how you can feel that he was assassinated. I get that as it was premeditated beyond any doubt. Just as you mentioned the Operation was called Vengeance for a reason. But it’s a justifiable killing and not an assassination for the reasons I just mentioned again.

          I still strongly feel this is true and that calling it anything else simply because someone else has is not correct, no matter how many times various authors (yourself included) have incorrectly done it.

          The choice of colors you used are your opinion. I don’t mind that one bit. I even mentioned that a person can paint their plane purple for all I care in my build log named Operation Vengeance.

          Everyone here is encouraged to express their opinions here are they not ???

          I also stated that my thoughts are thoughts and they are not irrefutably proven. To lead someone else down the wrong path by stating that the correct cockpit color is an RAF color in an early P-38 can’t be backed up with any facts is wrong.

          Why don’t you provide the sources for your information, and let the modeler decide what colors they want to use ?? This is a more appropriate thing to do rather than to say otherwise, and claim that you are correct when you might not be. You and I both know that this is an ever changing study involving the colors that were used on various aircraft.

          Can you provide proof of any sorts regarding this ??? Something other than what this person says, or what another one does ??? I hardly doubt that you can, and be able to look someone in the eye with confidence.

          Things like this are what bother me the most.

          In fact you yourself have repeatedly stated that if history is incorrectly mentioned, and not corrected, it too will soon be considered factual when indeed it’s not.

          So if you are really like that then we have more in common than you think. I want history to be preserved, and also presented properly.

          At the same time if I am wrong I’ll be the first to step up to the plate and admit that. I have done this before and I’ll definitely do it again the next time I am wrong about something.

          I don’t think that I have ever heard anything like this from you. Have you ever apologized for anything wrong that you did ???

          This is where we are different.

          As far as our friendship:
          I have not “un” friended you. I hope that we can make amends. I do enjoy reading your articles and as I have mentioned you are very knowledgeable.

          Another one of my beliefs is that this entire thing is petty, and that the other readers (and most likely the administration staff), are tired of hearing this one. What we were arguing about really doesn’t matter to most.

          This hobby is supposed to be a recreational thing and it has no room for a pair of grumpy old men.

          Let’s see how it goes. I will try to keep my opinion in check, if you don’t try to convince others that whatever you’re saying is gospel. We are both very strong willed men.

          This is a model forum and not a very good place for arguing. We can agree to disagree and move forward.

          I think that others will agree with this.

          In the same response I also complimented you on your work.

          You have been unmuted. Now the choice is yours.

  10. With the preface that laughter is the best medicine, I think both of you should follow the advice of the great comedian, George Carlin. Which was, “Calm down, have some Dip”. 😀😁
    Both of you are great and knowledgeable historians and modelers and have both said your peace. I think now is a good time to get back to modeling. 😀
    I think all of us can agree, as terrible as the old Aurora kits were, we all loved them and remember them fondly. The Aurora P38 kit is a great memory for me conversely the Aurora C119 kit still sends shivers of historical laughter through me to this day as it was such a H E DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS build. 🤓😀😳

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