The Lockheed P-38 Lightning is a rare thing in the modeling world – an absolutely iconic design that nobody has really managed to nail…yet. The three principal efforts – those of Monogram (these days repopped by Revell), Academy and Hasegawa – are all compromised in their own ways. The Monogram was absolutely cutting edge when it was released long ago, but it’s showing its age, with non-existent gear bays, gimmicky features that interfere with fit, some missed details like the upkink in the underside wingtips, and shallow detail in the cockpit. The Academy improves upon the Monogram in terms of shape and detail, but not to a great degree, and is plagued by boom alignment issues, a fickle canopy, and other build-up headaches. Likewise, the Hasegawa has a reputation as a pain of a build. The fact that the old Monogram is still a totally viable option – even with price taken out of the equation – speaks volumes.
In my opinion, it’s only a matter of time before someone unleashes a new 1/48 Lightning upon the modeling world and blows these three kits out of the water. The only question that remains: who will take the plunge?
While we wait, Eduard has given us a promising new entry in the form of a limited release P-38J. The plastic is Academy, but it’s what Eduard brings to the table that makes this package special – hefty amounts of resin, photo etch, canopy masks and one rather extensive decal sheet.
Do Eduard’s power-ups make this one worth your time? Let’s find out…