P-38J Lightning

The P-38 Lightning was one of the most feared fighters of World War II.

Revell-Monogram P-38J Lightning Plastic Model Airplane Kit 1/48 Scale #855479
 Revell-Monogram # rmx855479
Retail $19.94  SAVE 11% !
Revell-Monogram Item # rmx855479
Specifications :
  • Scale: 1/48
  • Pieces: 118
  • Wingspan: 13"
  • Length: 9"
  • Revell-Monogram Product Number: 855479
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Spotlight Review

"Fun but confusing"
This was a fun model to put together, but, because of the fact that there were three options for building (fighter, nightfighter, and radar interceptor), the directions were quite confusing. One option was to add a second cockpit for the radar operator which required that you cut open part of the fuselage, which is a dangerous option for a beginner like myself. Thus, I chose not to take this option in fear that I would cut up the model too much and destroy it. The directions for all three options are included in each step, as opposed to having a full set of directions (in order) for each version. Thus, this caused great confusion for me (for example, step one had directions for Option A, Option B, and Option C, and this continued throughout the directions. It was as if Revell wanted to save paper, but, in doing so, they made this model quite confusing. Nonetheless, if you go the safe route, the final product will b quite pleasing. Enjoy!

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  • Structurally detailed surfaces.
  • Rocket launchers.
  • Alternative armament.
  • Auxiliary tanks.
  • Detailed Allison engine.
  • External exhaust gas supercharger.
  • Movable propeller.
  • Detailed cockpit with instrument panel and fold-back canopy.
  • One pilot figure.
  • Detailed landing gear.
  • Detailed decals for 3 versions.


  • Scale: 1/48
  • Pieces: 118
  • Wingspan: 13"
  • Length: 9"
  • Revell-Monogram Product Number: 855479

Requirements & Suggestions

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"Painful P-38"
kajoe55 (Oklahoma)
The Revell P-38 is a nicely priced model. If you are new to the hobby or returning, please don't start with this one. Despite my best efforts, I wasn’t able to make it look very good primarily because of fit issues. As the kit offers different versions of the Lightning, that might explain the issues getting the fuselage to come together properly. I modeled Maj Bong’s version and the nose fit of the fuselage left a LOT to be desired. The wheel bays have no detail and the cockpit is somewhat sparse (in other words I wouldn’t leave the pilot out) unless you kit bash. Be prepared for some work painting the canopy (has nothing to do with this particular kit – the P-38 has a complicated and detailed canopy) and if leaving it open, some work to make sure everything lines up correctly. The version you see depicted on the Hobby Linc page doesn’t have the red spinners, red tail markings, or red wing markings either so I would recommend you do some research on the subject before you build. So, if the P-38 is your plane, you want a challenge, and to work on your building skills, at a very reasonable price, this is your kit. If you want less frustration go with one of the other 1/48 Lightning choices.

"Not for the Beginner"
Once you work out the instructions, as they list 3 different options, which if you're not careful can send you scratching your head, this turns out to be an enjoyable, but some what challenging build, there are quite a lot of details to keep you on your toes, I chose to build this with the gun compartment open so you could see the guns and magazines, and in doing so I had to cut the decal that went on the nose, this took some doing but I think it turned out well. Cutting the rear section out to add room for the bombardier was very nerve wracking and I do not recommend this for the new or the faint of heart, it would be terribly easy to destroy this set at that step if you don't use but the utmost of caution. I recommend this for someone with a few builds under their belt

"A Very Detailed Build!"
J Bevill (Palm City, FL)
What an awesome build! Took me 3 weeks at about 4 hours every other night working on this one. Very detailed kit from what I'm used to, and with 118 pieces each one receives at least one paint color if not multiple. CONSTRUCTION - The most time I spent I found was cleaning the parts from the sprues and checking everything as I went along for fitment. The rest was spent painting and gluing. I was a little disappointed that the wheel wells lack any detail up inside (and it's visible if you turn the model upside down) but the rest of the kit made up for details. The fuselage can definitely use some putty as there will certainly be small gaps after gluing. The landing gear assembly was not clearly explained in the instructions either, I spent quite some time scratching my head. The glass canopy was a better fit than most Revell models, but still the hinged top is very very delicate and the hinge on mine broke and fell down inside the plane right as I was applying the last decal - ugh! So I opted to use clear parts glue and just glued it in the up position. Will do. My favorite part was the rocket launchers, however they are time consuming to say the least when it comes to painting. PAINTING - I do not own an airbrush but after this kit I will certainly be looking into one only on the basis of the silver body (I did the standard version, not the Pathfinder or Night version) but this is no ones fault but my own. Brushing a nice even coat of silver still did not produce the nice smooth effect I was hoping for but nevertheless the finish still turned out quite nice. Every part in the kit does receive at least one paint color, if not multiple. And if your not building the Pathfinder Bomba Dear version there is no need to buy any blue paint as I found out. DECALS - we're great, my only complaint is there could have been more! I really like decals, the more detailed, the more accurate the build looks and in this case there was only a handful that applied to the standard Marge build. But that's ok. Overall a great kit for anyone but patience is needed for a lot of it. Very detailed!


  • #1: P-38J, 2103993, "Marge", Maj Richard I Bong, USAAF, Pacific Theatre.
  • #2: P-38J Droop Snoot, 7F Q, "Bomba-Dear, USAAF.
  • #3: P-38M Night Lightning, 426865, USAAF, Pacific Theatre.

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