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Greg Fabian
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Lightning White 33

January 13, 2021 · in Aviation · · 14 · 2.7K

Here's my take on 's scale Lightning model. The kit gives you the choice of building either Miss Virginia (P-38 G) or White 33 (P-38F). Despite the historical significance of Miss Virginia and the mission to shoot-down Admiral Yamamoto, I chose White 33 because there's something about a well executed shark mouth on a fighter that appeals to me.

I can't say enough about the Tamiya kit that hasn't been said before. The only advice I have is to put some tape around the steel balls used to balance the model on its nose wheel, otherwise they'll rattle around a bit when handling the model.

There's a lot of detail in the wheel wells and in the cockpit, complete with radio sets on a shelf behind the pilot. I took my time (nearly two months) to complete the model, and I still need to add the radio wires.

Beyond the model, the P-38 itself is quite a bird. I learned a lot about the technology behind the ship while doing my research. It's kind of fun to think that the Lightning and my VW are both turbocharged, except Lockheed managed to do it without computers. One fun fact about the P-38 that I read many times was how quiet it was. I experienced that myself during a flyby on the National Mall, a video of which you can watch here:

Reader reactions:
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9 additional images. Click to enlarge.

14 responses

  1. Fantastic looking Lightning, Greg.
    I'm currently building the exact same kit and also in the White 33 scheme.
    I do like your OD and the interior a lot.
    Well done.

  2. Nice clean Lightning. Those shark mouths do look nice - don't see that often on the 38.

  3. Greg, @gwfabian
    I like how your Lightning looks... You did a very nice job with it. I have had the great fortune to have been around a full sized 1 to 1 scale P-38 as it received a "freshening up" style restoration / repaint. This took almost two years...

    It is a surprisingly big airplane, but what is the most unexpected thing is just what you mentioned. These planes are ultra quiet, especially for a WW2 aircraft with a pair of V-12's on it. The turbocharger does a good job of muffling down the noise from the exhaust. I have a video of it starting up as they did some on ground propeller pitch testing, and engine run ups prior to it's maiden flight. I also have a ton of photos showing the plane in various stages of repair.

    I have two of these new tool 1/48 Tamiya P-38's slated to build that will be a part of the build I'm doing for the "Operation Vengeance" Yamamoto intercept mission. I'm building both Barber's plane and Lamphier's P-38. Plus I have a Tamiya G4M Betty and several A6M Zero's that are also part of this project. It will all be in 1/48 scale. It has been temporarily stopped, until I can make more time to concentrate on just this multiple kit build alone. The Betty bomber and several of the Zero's have been started.

    I like your 38 build a lot...It looks great ! I picked up a book on the restoration of Glacier Girl, and how they removed her from under the ice. What I found very interesting, is just how much "Yellow Zinc Chromate", Olive Drab, Black and clear anodized aluminum colors they used on the various parts of the cockpit.

    I also pressed the "liked" button.

    • Thank you.

      I found a couple of videos on Youtube of White 33 and an interview with one of the pilots that flew her. Apparently this ship was rescued from a scrap heap of P-38's left behind in Malaysia when the war ended and then brought back to life, shark teeth and all.

      Good luck on your builds!

  4. Very , very nice Greg. I did one in the other markings a little while ago & I have another to do, but I'll probably look for other markings or perhaps do a RAAF photo recon version.

    • Thank you!

      I'd be tempted to do that, too. I think it might also be interesting to do one in a highly polished metal finish like the prototype that broke the record flying from coast to cost. The bright metal P-38s looked almost like spaceships. I wouldn't be surprised if they inspired some of the spacecraft we see in the Star Wars movies.

  5. Yeah, this kit is super nice. You have a great result. I particularly like your detail work in the cockpit.

  6. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    Altogether a fine model Greg.
    Clean and spotless looking work Greg. Very nice work on the cockpit.
    Good choice on the OD color.

  7. Echoing all above praises, let me also congratulate you, Greg, for this wonderful build of this wonderful kit!

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