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USAAF Lockheed P-38L Lightning Interceptor - Col. Charles McDonald, "Putt Putt Maru", 432nd Fighter Squadron "Clover", 475th Fighter Group, Philippines, 1945 (1:72 Scale)
USAAF Lockheed P-38L Lightning Interceptor - Col. Charles McDonald, "Putt Putt Maru", 432nd Fighter Squadron "Clover", 475th Fighter Group, Philippines, 1945

Corgi USAAF Lockheed P-38L Lightning Interceptor - Col. Charles McDonald, "Putt Putt Maru", 432nd Fighter Squadron "Clover", 475th Fighter Group, Philippines, 1945

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Product Code: AA36617

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Corgi AA36617 USAAF Lockheed P-38L Lightning Interceptor - Col. Charles McDonald, "Putt Putt Maru", 432nd Fighter Squadron "Clover", 475th Fighter Group, Philippines, 1945 (1:72 Scale) "If I were, to pick out the most valuable personal traits of a fighter pilot, aggressiveness would rate high on the list. Time and again, I have seen aggressive action, even from a disadvantageous position, completely rout a powerful Nip formation."
- Col. Charles McDonald

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.

After the war, a P-38L was experimentally fitted with armament of three .60 in (15.2 mm) machine guns. The .60 in (15.2 mm) caliber cartridge had been developed early in the war for an infantry anti-tank rifle, a type of weapon developed by a number of nations in the 1930s when tanks were lighter, but by 1942, armor was too tough for this caliber.

Another P-38L was modified after the war as a "super strafer", with eight .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in the nose and a pod under each wing with two .50 in (12.7 mm) guns, for a total of 12 machine guns. Nothing came of this conversion, either.

Pictured here is an extraordinary 1:72 scale diecast replica of a USAAF Lockheed P-38L Lightning interceptor that was piloted by Colonel Charles McDonald, and nicknamed "Putt Putt Maru", which was attached to the 432nd Fighter Squadron "Clover", 475th Fighter Group, then deployed to the Philippines during 1945. Now in stock!

Wingspan: 8-3/4-inches
Length: 6-1/4-inches

Release Date: September 2023

Historical Account: "Putt Putt Maru" - Having seen the introduction of advanced monoplane fighter designs in both the German and Japanese air forces, America was only too aware that their own Air Force was in need of upgrade as a matter of urgency. To this end, an official requirement was issued in February 1937 for the production of a new pursuit fighter, an aircraft which would have to possess performance which had never previously been seen, not only on an American aircraft, but anywhere else in the world. The Lockheed Aircraft Company were one of six companies determined to satisfy this demanding requirement and entrusted the design of this radical new aircraft to talented designer Clarence 'Kelly' Johnson, who was basically given a free rein during its development. Almost immediately, he determined that a single engined aircraft could not satisfy these demanding specifications and started work on a twin engined design, one which featured twin booms to house the engines and superchargers, with a centrally positioned nacelle for the cockpit and the fighter's heavy armament.

The new aircraft looked incredible and was a radical departure from any fighter aircraft design that had gone before it, with Lockheed being awarded a contract to produce a prototype example. The XP38 was a thing of beauty and after just a short 38 minute maiden flight, everyone at Lockheed knew they had a winner on their hands. In fact, officials were so impressed with the aircraft's performance that they immediately decided to make an attempt on the US Transcontinental speed record to highlight its potential, an attempt which saw the XP38 shatter the existing record by an impressive 23 minutes. Unfortunately, it appears that officials at the destination airport were not expecting the arrival of the strange new fighter and kept it holding so long that it actually ran out of fuel and had to make an emergency landing on a local golf course. Nevertheless, the aircraft had shown its potential and the US Army Air Force ordered sixty-six aircraft and America had their first 400 mph fighter.

The introduction of the P-38 Lightning was not without its problems, however, this was not surprising bearing in mind its performance and configuration were so radically different to anything which had gone before it. Almost constant development would see the Lightning develop into a devastatingly effective high altitude interceptor and with engines which both drove outwardly rotating propellers, also eventually proved to be an incredibly stable aircraft. Possessing impressive range and firepower, the Lightning would eventually be used to avenge the Pearl Harbor attack, when sixteen P-38s of the 339th Fighter Squadron intercepted a bomber carrying Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the mastermind of that infamous raid, and shot it down. The P-38 Lightning would go on to serve with distinction in both the Pacific and European theatres, one of the most capable and distinctive aircraft of the Second World War.

For US fighter pilot Charles Henry 'Mac' MacDonald, the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, left him with a determination to do his duty in ensuring this disastrous day for America would only result in their eventual victory. Joining the USAAF and gaining his wings in May 1939, he would first be assigned to the 55th Pursuit Group and then on to the 18th Pursuit Group at Wheeler Field, Hawaii in early 1941 and was still there at the time of the Japanese surprise attack, arguably the darkest day in American military history. His continued service would see him gaining ever more responsibility and new postings, first back home in the US to train new pilots, then on to the savage fighting of the Pacific War. By October 1943, he had attained the rank of Major and was posted as the Executive Officer of the 475th Fighter Group's 'Satan's Angels', flying P-38 Lightnings out of Dobodura, New Guinea, where his reputation as a fighter ace and effective leader of men would soon be forged. Often asking his men to fly dangerous long range missions in their Lightnings over vast expanses of ocean, MacDonald, would often be the first aircraft into the air, leading from the from and inspiring his pilots to make their mark on the war.

Eventually attaining the rank of Colonel, MacDonald became the Commanding Officer of the 475th Fighter Group and during this time, would welcome the arrival of a rather famous civilian advisor to the unit, long range aviator and US national hero Charles Lindbergh, who was cleared to fly with the unit. During his time in the Pacific, Lindbergh would help the 475th unlock the awesome potential of the P-38, using his knowledge of long range engine management to alter the power and fuel settings of their aircraft, modifications which extended the range of the Lightning by an incredible 100%. Now, 'Colonel Mac' and the pilots of the 475th could provide fighter cover for bombers attacking the Japanese oil refineries at Balikpapan in Borneo, with flight times of between twelve and fourteen hours needing to be flown. This raid was pivotal in turning the tide of the Pacific War and preparing American forces for the final push towards the Japanese home islands.

Colonel 'Mac' Macdonald would end the war with 27 aerial victories, with several others either damaged or probably destroyed, making him the third most successful fighter ace in the Pacific Theatre. All victories were scored using the Lockheed P-38 Lightning and whilst he would use several different machines, they were all named 'PUTT... PUTT... MARU'. It is not known for sure what this name refers to, but it is thought that it could be a reference to the Japanese supply barges the unit were often sent to destroy, vessels which were referred to as Marus, with their rather agricultural engines making a putt putt chugging sound. Whatever the case, if they were in the sights of a 475th Fighter Group P-38 Lightning, they were on borrowed time.

  • Diecast construction
  • Spinning propellers
  • Accurate markings and insignia
  • Interchangeable landing gear
  • Opening canopy
  • Comes with seated pilot figure
  • Comes with display stand

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