Aircraft: Lockheed F-5A-1-LO Lightning, serial number 42-12686, United States Army Air Force, Adak Island, winter 1942-43, pilot unknown.

References: from the photograph (above).

Kit: Trumpeter #2227, 1/32.

Accessories/modifications: This is a conversion from Trumpeter's excellent P-38L-1-LO kit to a F-5A-1-LO, a much earlier version of the Lightning, similar to a late P-38E or early P-38F. Added semicircular intercooler vents in upper wing tips and round intakes at wing leading edge (drilled out). Cut, modified, and drilled out kit turbo supercharger to fit P-38 EFG / F-5A style cowling. Modified kit turbocharger air supply scoop to P-38 EFG style (shorter, non-laminar flow shape). Drilled out and placed small tubular air ducts on forward sides of resin engine cowlings. Deleted and filled in leading edge wing lights. Deleted, filled and smoothed over upper wing tip fuel ports. Added retractable under wing lights (drilled out, scratch built, Alclad chrome, filled with ‘clear’, finished with Future). Removed underwing power assist bulges, filled and smoothed out. Removed gun camera from port drop tank boom, filled and smoothed out. Removed longitudinal frame from rear canopy, sanded and buffed out, Futured, then added two latitudinal scratches. Modified kit top canopy to side opening hinge-type. Made bulletproof glass (from CD case clear styrene), buffed and Futured, inserted under Cutting Edge windscreen. Four aluminum and steel spars for wing stiffness. Lead weight in engine cowlings and camera nose. Cutting Edge P-38 EFG conversion resin - windscreen, radiators, engine cowlings, turbo supercharger shrouds). Cutting Edge F-5A conversion resin – camera nose. Cutting Edge and Jerry Rutman P-38 EFG cockpit resin. Jerry Rutman props. Scale Aircraft Conversions white metal landing gear. Contact Resine tires. Thanks to John Clements for tips on details.

Paint: Tamiya acrylic, Alclad Aluminum II, weathering by oil wash and silver Prismacolor pencil, Testor's Dullcoat from spray can.

Decals: National marks with Yellow-wings YW48048 - U.S. National Insignia PT-3 May 1942-June 1943, Techmod yellow serial number.

Issues: Expensive. The Cutting Edge resin is good, but not perfect (boom radiators are too short by c. 6 scale inches) and considerable scratchbuilding and elements of the Jerry Rutman resin kits were required to make the P-38L into a facilmile of a F-5A. Forgot to pull masks off mirrors on insides of engine cowlings before photographing.


F-5A at Adak with C-47s, autumn 1942- note the neutral gray paintover of the lower dark blue part of the national mark on the port boom (and see above Adak image and model).


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