Here is my LDD model of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. It is built to minifig scale.
About this creation
The P-38 was a long-range fighter used by the United States Army Air Forces. It was designed by Clarence "Kelly" Johnson, the famous aircraft designer at Lockheed who went on to run the Skunk Works, responsible for the U2 and the SR-71. Over 10,000 P-38s were produced throughout the war.
The unusual design incorporated twin booms and central nacelle. They were necessary to incorporate the liquid-cooled Allison V-170 engines and the turbo-superchargers while leaving the cockpit and armament for the central nacelle.
Each engine produced 1,000 hp and had counter-rotating propellers. The P-38 was the first fighter to exceed 400 mph.
The P-38 was susceptible to high-speed compressibility stalls. Kelly Johnson redesigned the underside of the wing to keep the centre of lift over the wings, rather than over the tail. Dive flaps were installed after 1943 to further mitigate compressibility problems.
The P-38 was used extensively in the Pacific theatre due to its long range but also saw action in the European theatre as well. The Germans called the P-38 the "fork-tailed devil."
Pilots found the P-38 easy to fly: it was forgiving, easy to fly, and reliable. While not a dogfighter in the traditional sense, two American aces of the Pacific Richard Bong and Thomas McGuire flew P-38s.
The P-38 was primarily an escort fighter or a ground attack fighter but was often used in a reconnaissance role. Others found roles as pathfinders for a bombing force or as a night fighter, known as the Night Lightning.
For this model, I wanted to capture the delicate appearance of the P-38. The Lightning seems to be impossibly thin and this was difficult to capture in lego at this scale.
I had to make a few sacrifices in order to capture this appearance. However, I am happy with the result.
Retractable landing gear would have made the booms too bulky.
The P-38 is an elegant and often over-looked aircraft.
The aircraft was capable of reaching the SOS in a die with full throttles, but this created a flow of air over the ailerons that basically locked them in place, so there was no pulling out.
The only way to recover from such a situation was to use hydraulically controlled air brakes (equipped on later model) & lower the landing gear.
This usually caused much damaged to the aircraft, but did slow the aircraft down enough to regain control if height permitted.
Quoting Bill Ding
this thing is a great plane, and ur model reflects that! It could go transonic in a dive (maybe one even broke the sound barrier, but they guy couldn't regain control, and the tale was never told).
Quoting Chris Roach
I always liked this plane as a kid - you have done it justice!
Thanks for your positive comments Chris. Its deceptively difficult to get the proportions of a P-38 correct and to scale. I went through many iterations before settling on this final design. I think there's still improvements to make but I am happy with the results thus far. I am glad you like it as well!