MMP Books Lockheed P-38 Lightning - Early Versions


Robert Pęczkowski


Mushroom Models Publications


Scott Van Aken


Hardbound, 144 pages, hundreds of illustrations and photos.
ISBN 978-83-65281-31-9

MMP books has been doing many of their monographs in larger, hardback versions and this is one of those. The benefit of the larger A4 format is that the photos and the profiles are larger and many of us prefer hardback books. major upgrades of some of its earlier books and this is one of them.

The book starts with a history of the aircraft from the initial prototypes to the P-38H. In other words, the ones before the very large chin radiator bath. Many of us think that the earlier P-38s are the sleekest of the lot, though it was the J-L versions that were built in the largest numbers. Thos variants are covered in another MMP volume.

While a very fast aircraft, the introduction of the plane was not without its issues. Much of that had to do with the engine's turbocharger. It was not the most reliable and as those in Europe found out even on the later models, it was the cause of a number of engine fires and detonations. The British were quite interested in the type and ordered a number of them. However, the specified that the aircraft not have the turbochargers. This made the plane rather useless as a bomber escort as it was unable to operate much above 15,000 feet.

Despite its size, the Lightning proved to be a fair dogfighter. However, the Germans and later the Japanese learned that it had a huge blind spot below and to the rear of the aircraft and many Axis pilots became aces against the P-38. Not that they were sitting ducks by any stretch as America's two top aces of the war became such flying the Lightning. Having a second engine was also quite nice in terms of being able to get home after one quit or was shot up.

In addition to the great historical and variant section, there is an extensive details section. Thanks to the use of period drawings as well as great photos of extant airframes, we are provided the sort of detail that both modelers and enthusiasts are seeking. This is further enhanced by period detail images and sections from tech manuals. The good selection large color profiles is another bonus.

In all, this makes for one of the most comprehensive looks at the early P-38 as you'll find anywhere. It is a book that enthusiasts and modelers alike need to have in their library and one that I can highly recommend.

August 2017

Copyright All rights reserved.

Many thanks to Mushroom Model Publications for providing the review copy. You can get this one direct from this link. It can also be found at Casemate in the US and Platypus in Australia.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.