Lockheed P-38 Lightning Early Versions

Published on
August 7, 2017
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Robert Pęczkowski
Other Publication Information
A4, 96 pages (96 in colour)
Product / Stock #
Book cover

Robert Pęczkowski is part of the Wydawnictwo Stratus publishing group as a co-owner, publisher, and author. Robert attended Politechnika Rzeszowska from 1983 to 1988. Robert has written a number of books including the major work in English on the Polish air Force of WW2. He is married with two children. His books include: Me 163 Komet (1997), PZL P.11c (1998), Messerschmitt Bf-109G (2000), White Eagles (2001), British WW1 Aircraft in the Polish Air Force (2001), Messerschmitt Bf 109E (2001), Messerschmitt Me 262A Schwalbe (2002), Lockheed P-38 J-L Lightning (2003), Messerschmitt Bf-109G Gustav (2004), P-47 Thunderbolt ‘Bubbletop’ (2005), Douglas SBD Dauntless (2007), Henschel Hs 126 (2008), North American P-51D Mustang (2009), Messerschmitt Me 163B Komet (2010), Bell P-39 Airacobra (2011), Republic P-47 Thunderbolt ‘Bubbletop’ (2011), Messerschmitt Me 410 (2013), Mitsubishi J2M Raiden (2013), Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe (2014) Republic P-47B-D Razorback (2016), Messerchmitt Bf 109E (2017), North American P-51D (2017).

Artur Juszczak has provided color illustrations for many Wydawnictwo Stratus (MMP) books and has authored at least three books, including Mitsubishi A6M Zero (2001), Messerschmitt Bf 109G-10/14 (2012), Mitsubishi A6M Zero (2015), P-51D Mustang American Aces (2015), and Yakolev Yak-3 (2017).

Dariusz Karnas is a skilled modeller and amateur aviation historian. He lives in Przemyśl, Poland. He has authored or contributed colour plates and / or scale drawings for over one hundred publications. These include MMP’s Polish Wings, Scale Plans, and Inside series as well as books in the MMP Yellow series: Fieseler 156 Storch 1938-1945 (2012) and Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-15 (2004). You can find Dariusz Karnas on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/people/Dariusz-Karnas/100008987326348.

The Lockheed P-38 achieved its first flight on January 27, 1939, with over ten thousand aircraft being built before the end of World War II. As a long range escort fighter, the Lightning saw action in all theaters and extensive use in the Pacific and China-Burma-India theaters. This book follows up on Robert Pęczkowski’s earlier volume dedicated to the P-38J –L Lightning that was published in 2003. This volume sees Robert addressing the earlier Lightnings beginning with the XP-38 through the P-38H that leads into the earlier book. The development of each version is addressed with text, vintage photographs, and 1/72 plan, section, and scrap drawings by Dariusz Karnas. A full listing of serial numbers by version, Lockheed model number, contract number, and Lockheed production numbers is up next. The following section provides a technical description of the P-38H variant, a specification table to compare all the early models, and a comparison chart of the Lightning versus its contemporaries. Artur Juszczak provides full page color profiles for 19 pages along with a gorgeous painting of “Porky II” in action shooting down the enemy.

Robert Pęczkowski’s In Detail section is a photo essay of each part of the aircraft utilizing sharp, clear, vintage and current (P-38F “Glacier Girl”) photographs and Technical Manual drawings that will answer nearly any question you may have. I counted 113 black and white photographs along with 42 color pictures. There were 10 color illustrations and 43 black and white drawings. You will find 37 color profiles by Artur Juszczak and ten tables.

The Table of Contents includes the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • The Prototypes
  • Lockheed XP-38
  • Lockheed YP-38
  • Lightnings for RAF
    • Lightning I [Page 10]
    • Lightning II
  • Lockheed P-38 (P-38-LO)
  • Lockheed P-38D Lightning
  • Lockheed P-38E Lightning
    • Lockheed F-4 Lightning
  • Lockheed P-38F Lightning
    • Lockheed F-4A-1- LO Lightning [Page 26]
  • Lockheed P-38G Lightning
    • Lockheed F-5A Lightning
  • Lockheed P-38H Lightning
  • Lockheed XP-38A Lightning
  • Lockheed P-38 Serials
  • Technical Description of P-38H [Page 41]
  • P-38 Specifications [Table]
  • P-38 Comparison
  • P-38 Color Profiles [Page 55]
  • P-38 In Detail
    • General View [Page 67]
    • Main Fuselage
    • Tail Booms [Page 76]
  • Engines [Page 89]
    • Canopy
    • Cockpit [Page 98]
    • Wing
    • Tail
    • Undercarriage
    • Armament [Page 123]
  • Bibliography

Robert Pęczkowski has delivered a great history on the early Lockheed P-38 Lightnings that not only covers the development and operational aspects, but provides a good basis for the modeler with nice detail shots of all the aircraft components. I really enjoyed the clarity brought to the reconnaissance F-5 Lightnings that depicted through 1/72 scale drawings and photographs the plethora of variations of Lightning camera noses. I really enjoyed the read and plowed through the 128 pages quickly. United States distribution will be through Casemate.

My thanks to Mushroom Model Publications and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this excellent book.

Highly recommended!


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