Tamiya 61120 Lockheed P-38F/G Lightning 1:48 Scale
The P-38 Lightning started life as the Lockheed Model 22, the inspiration of a young engineer by the name of Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, who would later become Lockheed’s chief engineer. The Army issued a 1935 requirement for an interceptor aircraft that could fly over 360 mph at 20,000 feet, fly at full throttle for over an hour, carry twice the armament of current aircraft, and still operate from relatively short runways. Johnson’s XP-38 had a top speed of 417 mph at 20,000 feet, a range of almost 1,400 miles, and could climb to 20,000 feet in an impressive (for that time) 4.5 minutes. The P-38 would grow and improve through operational experience. The Luftwaffe dubbed the aircraft “The Fork-Tailed Devil” due to their encounters with the Lightning. The Lightning was so fast that compressibility flaps had to be added to late model Lightnings to counter the adverse effects of approaching the speed of sound during dives.
The new reality of our hobby industry is secrecy, and for good reason. A decade or so ago, several kit manufacturers announced upcoming projects which meant that they were developing tooling and kits would follow some six or more months later. This was not only used to gauge how the market would react to such a kit subject, but to let other kit manufacturers know as it was still a courtesy not to step on one-another’s projects. As kit manufacturers from China came online, they’d view such a kit announcement as an opportunity and strive to get their kit to market first. Unfortunately, some of these quick-response projects involved little or no time for any research and while those kits would indeed arrive on store shelves first, they were awful enough to keep buyers away from the quality release originally announced. While western kit manufacturers began to keep their kit release plans quiet, we began to see different Chinese companies racing one another to market while we grabbed the popcorn and watched.