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P-38 Lightning at War


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P-38 Lightning at War


Kagero Mini Topcolors series #33
by Sadlo & Goralczyk


€13.35 from Kagero

 

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This is another offering from Kagero's burgeoning Mini Topcolors series. Having just reviewed #32 (Panzer IV Family) I was tempted to say that this, #33, is 'the latest', but it seems Kagero are churning these out faster than we can review them! Whether latest or just fairly new, this one covers the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, the twin engine, twin boom interceptor that is one of the most recognisable aeroplane shapes of WWII.

 

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The formula for these is by now tried and tested: focus on a particular vehicle / aircraft, and / or maybe a particular campaign, colour profiles with some commentary, and high quality decals in the most popular scales to accompany at least a proportion of said profiles.

 

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Like the other mini Topcolours I have reviewed, this book is 20 pages long, and in the usual soft back landscape format. It has covers eight aircraft, all shown in four view profiles, and all catered for with decals in 1/72, 1/48 and 1/32 scale. The profiles look sumptuously weathered by the way, and are certainly anything but the sterile offerings I have seen in some other publisher's books.

 

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The subjects covered are:

  • P-38G-13-LO, probable s/n 42-2197, 'Nulli Secundus' / 'X-Virgin', flown by Lt. Kenneth G. Ladd of 80th FS / 8th FG, Dobodura, New Guinea, winter of 1943/1944
  • P-38J-15-LO, s/n 42-104107, 'Jewboy',  coded '47', flown by Lt. Philip M. Goldstein of 49th FS / 14th FG, Triolo, Italy, May 1944
  • P-38J-10-LO, s/n 42-67916, 'California Cutie', coded (KI)- 'S', flown by Lt. Richard O. Loehnert of 55th FS / 20th FG, RAF Kings Cliffe, England, June 1944
  • P-38J-15-LO, s/n 43-28444, 'Vivacious Virgin II', coded 'E6-T', flown by Lt. Ian B. Mackenzie of 402nd FS / 370th FG, Florennes/Juxaine, Belgium, winter of 1944/1945
  • P-38L-1-LO, s/n 44-23852, 'Beautiful Bitch', coded 'B7', flown by Lt. John J. Kane of  96th FS / 82nd FG, Vincenzo, Italy, March 1945
  • P-38L-5-LO, s/n 44-26176, 'Vagrant Virgin', coded 'A', flown by Lt. L. V. Bellusci of  36th FS / 8th FG, San Jose, Mindoro, late 1944/early 1945
  • P-38L-5-LO, s/n 44-26176, 'Vagrant Virgin', coded 'A', flown by Lt. Peter Macgowan of  36th FS / 8th FG, Ie Shima, September 1945
  • P-38L-5-LO, probable s/n 44-26568, 'Wicked Woman', coded 'W', flown by Lt. Richard C. Livingston of 36th FS / 8th FG, Ie Shima, August-September 1945.

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No national markings - or stencils - are provided in the decal sheet, but you would get these anyway in your kit; in the larger scales, and if really going for authenticity, you might use masks anyway, so I don't think this is a serious omission. Furthermore, including these would likely drive up the price, which is extremely competitive when benchmarked against a new EagleCals sheet (where you'll never get markings for eight aircraft).

 

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As regards the kits you would use, I imagine that 1/72 and 1/48 are relatively well-served, but I cannot really comment since I have not modelled in these scales for some years now. In 1/32, you'll use the fairly decent Trumpeter P-38 which is a 'L' variant; I'm no expert on this esoteric bird, but I think making it as a 'J' model - the subject of some of the profiles - is fairly easy and will not require major correction? Making a P-38G, the subject I the first profile, will require a correction set produced by Grey Matter Figures.

 

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My modelling subjects are usually motivated by a personal connection to either the subject or the location, campaign etc, rather than by flashy nose art or cool looking camouflage. With that being said, the decal sheet for this book really took my breath away - it certainly has that 'wow' factor. Of the eight subjects, only one ('Jewboy') lacks nose art. In providing subjects across a range of marks, and in both natural metal as well as OD/Grey (including one with full Invasion Stripes), there is something for everyone.

 

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My only reservation is why the same aircraft is covered twice, when there was clearly plethora of colourful options at the author's disposal. There are a few pictures of the subject aircraft at the beginning, and it is a shame that there aren't more, but perhaps neither space (or copyright?) permitted. I do wish that aircraft specific references were provided for those that wish to do further research.

 

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Conclusion

Quite striking subjects and excellent decals printed in three scales. Purely as a decal pack alone these Mini Topcolors are great value. The ever increasing coverage of both air and armour means Kagero should be a 'go to' for modellers looking for subject matter inspiration and high quality markings.

 

Highly recommended.

 

With thanks to Kagero for the review sample. To purchase directly, click THIS link.

 

Nicholas Mayhew

 

 

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