A55 Lightning

Academy 1/48 P-38E(PR), A55-3, 75 SQN RAAF, NT 1943

by Graham Mahoney


Serial No


A/C type

P-38E (PR)

Based at



US Olive Drab with RAAF Sky undersides


Academy 1/48 P-38F Glacier Girl


The excellent Red Roo Instructions, www.adf-serials.com, google!!



The Conversion: Red Roo P-38E (PR) Conversion

The Aftermarket : Eduard PhotoEtch, True Details Wheels, Ultracast Engine.

The Plane : Ex USAAF 41-2112, A55-3 was one of three P-38E models converted to approximately F-4A standard. Flown by 75 Sqn RAAF it operated out of the Northern Territory airbases flying PR missions up over New Guinea and other Japanese occupied territories. Conditions on the ground were dusty, in the air were humid and the three planes were plagued with supercharger and intercooler problems. A55-3, led a fairly short service life before being damaged beyond repair as a result of a wheels up landing at Coomalie Creek 10 December 1943.

The Build: The basis for the conversion is the 1/48 Academy P-38F Glacier Girl kit. The nose is supplied by Red Roo, along with the decals. I also used the Eduard PE set, a Quickboost engine as well as a set of True Details Wheels. The cockpit side windows have been lowered, and the aerials are from EZ Line.

The Colours : These were originally delivered in US Olive Drab and Neutral Gray. The undersides were repainted in RAAF Sky, I used Gunze H417 RLM417 being as close an approximation as there is and a disruptive camouflage of Foliage Green; Gunze H302 FS34092 was used here. For the OD I used a combination of Gunze H78 , Gunze H304 and Gunze H52 (all OD of some sort) depending on how faded or indeed if it was on the replacement panel on the wing which was from US stock (complete with its Neutral Grey underside).

The Finish: I used a little of the dark dirt and more of the brown wash as the machine was operating out of a very dusty environment. I gave the whole airframe a going over with a multitude of oils to give a look of many layers of dirt and grime. The tail fins and the tops of the booms received a lot of light coloured soot from the lean burning engines, whilst the undersides of the nacelles showed signs of one minor and one major oil leak. Further signs of use were shown with some chipping to the leading edges and a lot of scuffing on the wings from maintenance - and just getting in and out of the cockpit. The whole finish was sealed in with two coats of Gunze Flat Clear.

The images