Lockheed P-38 Lightning, Early Versions...

... from MMP Books

Title:  Lockheed P-38 Lightning, Early Versions

Author: Robert Peczkowski

Publisher:  MMP

ISBN:  978-83-65281-31-9

A new hardback book from MMP is not only a modellers delight, but I think for any aviation enthusiast wanting to find out more about the early variants of the distinctive Lockheed P-38.  The 128 pages are simply packed with information and useful references.  The sections tackle the development in a chronological sequence, with the first design done by Lockheed in 1937, to meet an Army Air Corps specification.  Here was the start of the distinctive twin boom airframe, with the pilot in a central nacelle.  That led to the first prototype, the XP-38, then the YP-38, a limited order of 13 aircraft for testing.  Next came orders from the RAF though the first 3 performed poorly when delivered so the remainder of that order was cancelled.  Then we get to the USAAF machines, moving through the variants from D to H.  These sections feature archive photos and good clear 1/72 scale drawings.

With these done, the next piece is a table showing the P-38 serials used for each variant, including how many of each were delivered.  Then a Technical Description of the P-38 along with the specifications for it.  Drawings are then used to compare the shape and size of the P-38 with side views of other aircraft of the period, including the likes of Me Bf109, the Zero and the Mosquito among others.  These are followed by a section of some 20 pages with excellent detailed colour artwork offering plenty of inspiration for modellers.

Then we get to the second half of the book, under the simple heading of 'In Detail'.  This is really a gem in itself.  As well as a number of archive photos showing certain parts in detail, there are modern photos of very specific details both inside and out of the P-38F 'Glacier Girl'.  This aircraft was the subject of a good TV documentary telling the story of its' recovery from underneath 82metres of snow and ice in 1992 after it had been abandoned on the ice back in 1942.  It has been beautifully restored and seeing how good it is now, as well as back in flying condition, this is great to see.  Added to these there are lots of highly detailed drawings taken from original manufacturers manuals and Spare Parts manuals.  The level of detail these provide is are something of a modellers dream, let alone many aviation enthusiasts I am sure.  It takes each element of the airframe, engines, cockpit, instrument panel, control surfaces, and undercarriage.  If you have any interest in Lockheeds twin boom P-38 Lightning I'd heartily recommend this one.

Thanks to MMP Books, who kindly provided my review copy.

Robin