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The P-38 Lightning – Airframe & Miniature #19 ISBN: 9781912932276 Valiant Wings Publishing The Lockheed P-38 Lightning started life before WWII, and was designed as a long-range fighter powered by twin Allinson V-12 engines that were mounted in booms either side of a pod-like cockpit nacelle. It entered service mid-1941, and was surprisingly fast, manoeuvrable and packed quite a punch with its nose mounted weaponry concentrated in a small area along the line of flight. Like many good aircraft, there were a plethora of variants that were considered for production, some of which were ugly, bordering on the visually gruesome, but many came to fruition during its long career throughout and after the war. Although the type was most successful in the Pacific Theatre of Operations (PTO), where it was responsible for taking out the Japanese tactician General Yamamoto, it also saw service in the European Theatre of Operation (ETO) where its power and speed was more closely matched by the opponents, but it was still a feared adversary. Although the aircraft suffered some aerodynamic issues during development, they were mostly resolved by the time it entered service, and in addition to the offensive operational airframes there were a number of reconnaissance variants created and operated, and a ‘Droopsnoot’ variant with a clear nose that actually was less droopy than the standard nose, so that’s weird. One of the Droopsnoot options even had a pair of machine guns mounted either side of the second crew member, which must have been really good for his hearing, but meant that it could at least defend itself on a reconnaissance mission if the enemy caught up with them. After WWII a number of Lightnings were converted for civilian use doing all kinds of tasks. The Book The book is perfect-bound with 256 pages on glossy paper, tons of photographs, diagrams and profiles, the modern pictures being in colour, while the contemporary content is predominantly black and white due to that being the predominant film format of the day, although there are some striking colour photos from the time. It is of course written by Richard A Franks, with profiles by Richard J Caruana, isometric drawings by Wojciech Sankowski, plus models by prolific modeller Steve A Evans. If you're familiar with the series, you'll know that the tome is broken down into the Airframe section that deals with the 1:1 real thing, and the miniature section that covers the scale models and has a number of builds, plus a host of photographic detail that will be of great help to the modeller. Airframe Chapters 1. P-38 Prototypes & Production Page 31 2. Photo-Reconnaissance, Night Fighters, Droop Snoots & Pathfinders Page 50 3. One-Offs & Projects Page 62 4. Camouflage & Markings and Colour Profiles Page 64 Miniature Chapters 5. Lockheed Lightning Kits 6. Building a Selection 7. Building a Collection 8. In Detail: The P-38 and F-4/F-5 Fuselage Engines, Cowlings, Propellers & Turbosuperchargers Oil, Fuel, Coolant & Hydraulic Systems Wings Boom & Tail Undercarriage Armament Electrical Equipment Appendices I. Lightning Kits II. Lightning Accessories & Masks III. Lightning Decals IV. Bibliography A concertina sheet of 1:48 Scale plans are held captive in the rear cover (equivalent to 8 pages printed on both sides). My sheet had fallen in half along the crease, although that may have happened since it arrived in my workshop. The scale plans are nicely thought out, and fold out sideways with the left-hand edge glued to the inside cover, and the isometric drawings by Wojciech Sankowski that pick out the differences between many variants and sub-variants are a dream for anyone like me that struggles to remember the details that separate the marks. As usual with the photographs in these titles, they're excellent for the most part, and as good as they can be for the occasional slightly grainy one that is all that remains of this or that variant. A few captions apologise for the quality, but I was unable to find much to fault with them. There is however, only so much that modern photo editing software can do to tease detail out of them. The builds by Steve A. Evans are all first-rate too, with A Hobby 2000 (Hasegawa plastic) kit of a P-38J and a resin Anigrand XP-58 Chain Lightning in 1:72 – A P-38J from Hasegawa and a P-38F/G from Tamiya in 1:48, all of which wouldn't look out of place on competition tables at the highest level. Conclusion This book brims with interesting and informative content, with something for everyone – the modeller, the aviation enthusiast or history buff. My personal favourite parts are the variant isometrics as previously mentioned, but there is so much else to enjoy throughout the book. There are some pig-ugly prototypes too, which even though they’re hideous still appeal. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of