Hasegawa 1/72 P-38 F/J/L Lightning

KIT #: D-14
PRICE: $16.98
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Peter Burstow


Well, there is plenty of history for the P-38 Lightning, much of it contradictory. The many reviews and previews on this site are a good start. If you need more then a Google search will provide more than anybody could read in a lifetime.

 There are plenty of written references out there as well.


 Coming in a top opening box, there are three sprues with 48 parts in dark green plastic. There are two styles of canopy, two types of landing lights, and a two piece tail prop on a clear sprue. The parts are finely moulded, with raised lines. There is flash on some of the parts, and a mould joint line is visible. There are some ejector pin marks that mostly will be hidden after construction.

 The cockpit comprises a floor, seat, head-rest and a pilot figure. There is no sidewall detail, and no control wheel. The nose gear bay is shallow and without detail. The main gear bays are just open holes in the booms.

 The variations are catered for using the J model as the base. Rockets with trees are supplied for the L, and alternate cowlings are supplied for the F model, with some surgery needed. Alternate canopies are supplied, with the minor difference of an armoured windscreen for the later versions. There is a wing leading edge landing light of the F and early Js, and the inset light of the later models, with the holes needing opening. External stores are just the 10 rockets, and two drop tanks.

 The instructions recommend 5 grams weight be added to prevent tail sitting, and a tail prop is supplied for those who forget. The decal sheet has markings for an European based 33rd squadron P-38J, an African based 94th squadron P-38F with yellow bordered stars, both in OD over neutral grey, and a Philippines based, headquarters squadron P-38L as flown by Major George Laven in natural metal. Brightness was adjusted on the decal scan to show up the white markings.

The instructions are a folded sheet, clearly printed on high quality paper. It shows 7 construction steps and a painting and decaling guide. Alternate assemblies are shown for the different versions. Paints are referenced by name only. There is a brief history in English.


 The P-38 has been moulded by just about all the major kit companies, and some of the minor ones as well. Judicious reading of reviews and previews might help you decide which one is for you. I could not find a copyright date on the kit or instructions, but I'm guessing it was moulded in the late 1970's. It has been re-released often in a variety of boxings with different decals.  

There is a huge amount of aftermarket stuff available, resin detail bits, etched brass, and many decal sheets. A nice looking model kit, typical of Hasegawa from that time. It lacks detail but that leaves room for a bit of scratch building. Looks to be an easy build, with plenty of scope for interesting paint jobs and customisation. Recommended for everybody.


Famous Fighters of the Second World War, William Green, Macdonald, London, 1957.

War Planes of the Second World War, Fighters Vol. 4, William Green, Macdonald, London 1961.

Lockheed P.38 Lightning A History, Anthony Shennan, Historian, Campbelltown, 1970. This Australian monograph has the bonus of a fold out 1/32 scale plan sheet, a colour cutaway view, and many detailed photos including interiors.

P-38 Lightning In Action, Gene B Stafford, Squadron/Signal, Carrollton, 1976.

 Peter Burstow

October 2014

Kit courtesy of my stash. 

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