It was fast, heavily armed and extremely versatile. And many believe the Lockheed P-38 Lightning to be the finest American fighter of WWII. Its low-drag, aerodynamic shape and heavy weight enabled this twin-engine, twin-boomed aircraft to accelerate to high speeds faster than any previous warplane, making it a potent fighter and a superb fighter-bomber. Popular among fighter pilots, P-38s carried out the intercept mission that downed Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the Mediterranean, Luftwaffe pilots showed respect for the Lightning by calling it "der gabelschwanz teufel" (the forked-tail devil). The ultimate P-38 was flown by Dick Bong and Tommy McGuire, who were among the most successful American fighter pilots in history.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USAAF Lockheed P-38J Lightning interceptor dubbed "Putt Putt Maru", and piloted by Col. McDonald, who was attached to the 475th Fighter Group, then deployed to Clark Field, in the Phliippines, during March 1945.
Back Order! Ship Date: May 2015.
Wingspan: 8.75 inches
Length: 6.25 inches
Release Date: November 2011
Historical Account: "Satan's Angels" - In June 1943, MacDonald was stationed at New Guinea with the 348th Fighter Group. This assignment proved to be uneventful. He spent several months flying P-47's in escort patrols for transports in the Marilinan area. MacDonald was recruited by General George Kenney to join the 475th Fighter Group, which was the first all P-38 Lightning equipped Group in the Fifth Air Force. By May 14th, 1943, the 475th, nicknamed "Satan's Angels" became operational at Amberly Field, Australia. Its three squadrons, 431st "Hades," 432nd "Clover," and 433rd "Possum," spent three months preparing for combat, then headed out of Port Moresby, New Guinea. In August and September, the Group moved up to the advanced base at Dobodura on the north coast. Much closer to the action, combat missions no longer required the round trip over the lofty Owen Stanleys.
On October 15th, 1943, radar warnings informed controllers that a large force of enemy aircraft was moving towards Dobodura. MacDonald and fifty other P-38's rose to meet the Japanese aircraft. MacDonald raced ahead and pressed an attack on seven Val dive bombers. He quickly downed two Vals, and was concentrating on a third when he was hit hard by a Zero who slipped in behind him unnoticed. With loss of hydraulic pressure, MacDonald had to "belly in." Although he was not hurt, he had learned a valuable lesson. During the course of the battle, the 475th shot down 36 enemy aircraft without the loss of a single P-38!