Modeler’s Guide to the P-38 Lightning

By Jay Sherlock

ISBN: 978-0-9851154-1-8 SOFTBOUND  (PLASTIC)  Price:  approx. $19.95 plus S&H

You can find it at 

REVIEWED BY Mick Burton (purchaser)

 An excellent dedication to “the late Kelly Johnson  One of the foremost aircraft designers of his time”  is how Jay opens this anticipated third Modeler’s Guide.  

 Popularly bound today to his legendary P-80 and of course the “Blackbird” family, Johnson’s genius as a designer directly was eloquently captured first by Lockheed’s Lightning. Jay’s genius shines through in this magnificent guide to modeling her.  

 I was anticipating this volume ever since the fall of 2012 when I’d bought his A-1 Skyraider and F-86 guides, and he’d shared this was next up. After all, great timing in a way, the Kickoff Classic 2013 has “Best P-38” as our selected “Special Aircraft Award”. Plus I was curious what Jay’s take on the 1/72 DML vs Academy kits would be, and of course in 1/48 share his insight on Academy/Hasegawa/Mono 
 Very pleased with his concise reviews of all the kits and hold them as examples themselves as guides to style for kit reviewers! His extensive aftermarket listings for decals and “extra bits” as he says, there to serve the modeler as even tho many items are “no longer available retail”, the well known secondary market is easier to use if you know what existed in first place. Jay’s book puts it all together for you !
 Of course, it’s the 26 variants of military P-38s that form the meat of this book, and 9 of those are the Recce “F-birds” which I don’t think I’ve ever had such a complete single reference for modeling, that is worth it right there. Curious as to what YP-38 vs P-38 vs P-38E vs P-38F vs P-38G vs P-38L vs P-38M cockpit differences were?  Find it in pictures here, along with F-4-1, F-5F recce cockpits too. The “exotic” XF-5D gets an excellent chapter detailing how to make it, like the P-38K, and XP-38, details galore and interesting tidbits supplied with respect equal to all the commonly known versions. Which Jay makes sure you realize are no where near as “well known” as many including myself think. Many, many useful notes abound throughout and you’re correctly advised to check serial numbers if “total” accuracy is your goal. In just 114 pages with laser focus, signature well organized, again strikes me as no word wasted. Jay’s format model thoroughly employed with excellence. He provides dual side view line drawing for each variant (in order to always make clear items specific to center “pod”, shown by it self alone secondarily) Detail drawings discussed are in blackline on white, keyed to text specifics with red number (for changes) callout, or green letter (optional). Having a pretty good long years acquired of P-38 material myself, I think I’ve finally found a true “single reference” to use as guidepost for P-38 enjoyment. Yes, the Detail & Scale P-38 books, combined with Squadron’s “In Action”,”Walkaround” are still plenty high on my “gotta have around list” But without Jay’s major excellence here, written directly for the scale modeler, now I’d feel utterly without command and control  center. Yes, definitely recommended as a MUST HAVE, if you even mildly consider yourself a fan of the Lockheed twin  Thanks Jay, this was worth waiting for. – fini mickb