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 an extraordinary 1:72 scale diecast replica of a Lockheed P-38 Lightning that was flown by Richard O. Loehnert of the 55th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group, then deployed to Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire in July 1944. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 8.75 inches
Length: 6.25 inches
Release Date: March 2007
Historical Account: "Forked-Tail Devil" - Assigned to the 55th FS from November 1943 to November 1944, Dick Loehnert flew 70 missions and 300 hours during his combat tour. A fair number of these flights were performed at the controls of this long-lived P-38, which bore one of the largest mission tallies ever seen on a USAAF fighter in the ETO. The P-38 completed 56 escort missions (top hat and cane), 16 top cover missions (umbrella), and 11 sweeps (broom), while the six locomotives beneath the canopy were for strafing credits and the two swastikas denoted two Bf 109s shot down by Loenhert on July 7th, 1944.