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 affects of approaching the speed of sound during dives.
One P-38 in particular recently became famous not because of its war exploits, but because of how it survived over time. This P-38F was one of six Lightnings and two B-17s that were forced to land on a glacier in Greenland during deteriorating weather conditions on a ferry flight to England. Buried under 262 feet of snow and ice, this particular aircraft has been the only one located to date and was recovered and returned to the United States in the early 1990s. Today, the aircraft dubbed 'Glacier Girl' has been carefully restored to flying condition and is operating out of Middlesboro, KY.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and is presented on eight parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. Surface detailing is scribed and nicely done. A set of rubber tires are provided in addition to the styrene wheels and tires in the kit should you prefer that building option.
The kit comes with an array of external armament including bombs, rockets, and external fuel tanks. The instructions stop short of covering the armament since this release is dedicated to the 'Glacier Girl'.
The kit even includes the folding boarding ladder.
Markings are provided for two aircraft:
P-38F, 41-7630, 'Glacier Girl'
P-38F, 41-29129, 339 FS/347 FG, 'Oriole'