P-38M Night Fighter – Lighting 83″ Model – BLACK
(46 size EP-GP – scale warbird category)
The radar-equipped night fighter was one of the outstanding developments of combat aviation in the Second World War. Originally designed for defense against attacking bombers, by 1944 the Royal Air Force was using both Beaufighter and Mosquito night fighters as escorts to Bomber Command’s Main Force to defend the Lancasters and Halifaxes from Luftwaffe Bf-100G, Ju-88G and He-219 night fighters with enough success that crews of the Nachjagdwaffe had a term for their feelings of dread whenever their radar receivers picked up the radar emissions of British night fighters searching for them: Moskitopanik.
American bomber units had operated primarily by day until General Curtis LeMay directed the B-29s of the 20th Air Force to attack Japanese cities by night. While the Japanese were nowhere near as advanced in the use of radar as were the Germans or the Allies, the brightly-lit skies over burning Japanese cities gave those Japanese pilots who chose to oppose the B-29s by night conditions that allowed for visual interception of the bombers, which carried only tail armament in the quest to maximize bomb load. The USAAF had the Northrop P-61 “Black Widow” available, but the war’s only designed-for-the-purpose night fighter was at a disadvantage going after Japanese day interceptors.
What was needed was a night fighter with the performance of a day fighter and the range to escort the bombers over Japan. With the capture of Okinawa imminent, it would be possible to base these fighters on that island, so they would not have to fly the long over water missions performed by P-51s based on Iwo Jima.
The P-38 Lightning had demonstrated its superiority over nearly every Japanese fighter then in use. The big twin had the space necessary for a small radar installation and the radar operator, as a fairly-easy modification. Lockheed took P-38L-5-LO 44-25237 from the Burbank production line and modified it at the Fresno Modification Center with a “piggy back” cockpit into which a small radar operator could squeeze behind the pilot, under a “blister” canopy over the course of a few weeks. The lightweight AN/ASH radar was mounted beneath the nose on a bomb rack. Flight tests established that the extra weight of the radar operator and radar had only a very slight effect on the P-38’s performance.
The Air Force determined they only needed one group of these night fighters, for use during the upcoming invasion of the Japanese homeland. 75 P-38L-5-LO Lightnings were taken at random from the Burbank factory and flown to the Fresno Modification Center where they were modified to P-38M-6-LO configuration.
The 75 night-fighting P-38s had been delivered by late July, and the 484th Night Fighter Group was working up on them at Fresno when the war came to an end on August 15, 1945. Contrary to some post-war legends, none of these aircraft ever saw operational service during the war, and they were all out of the Air Force inventory by the Spring of 1946. As these airplanes were among the airframes with the lowest number of flight hours on them, they were snapped up in the post-war surplus market, where they were then modified to F-5G configuration for use during the next 20 years for photogrammetric work around the world.
Now you can own a legend with the VQ P-38M Night Fighter – Lightning 83″ model/kit! This is a custom conversion kit that is basically the VQ P-38 ARF plus a custom conversion kit to convert the model to a P-38M Night Fighter. Custom conversion kit will be exclusive to VQ WARBIRDS USA. P-38 models will arrive pre-covered from the VQ MODEL Factory in black VQ film with all the same details found on the silver and olive P-38 models already pre-printed onto the film. In addition to this all black factory covered airframe , customers will receive red spinners, the conical flash shields on the guns, an AN/APS-6 radar pod to mount below the nose, and a second cockpit fairing/piece with a raised canopy to mount on the center pod behind the pilot’s canopy for the radar operator. ** Some photos on this website of the P-38M are of plastic model and for illustration purposes only.** Conversion kit comes with instruction sheet. Conversion canopy is pre-painted. Other conversion items require final paint. See photos for conversion parts included.
*** VQ WARBIRDS Updated 2017/2018 Production Year Model P-38M includes center pod improved ply structure and bonded with genuine hysol adhesive.***
This P-38M Night Fighter is a VQ WARBIRDS Exclusive limited production model. Not sold outside the USA.
– All Balsa and lite-ply construction
– Fully covered in weathered detail
– Fiberglass cowling
– Painted pilot
– Control surfaces pre-hinged and installed
-Three piece wing with Aluminium Wing Joiner
-Two booms with left fuselage and right fuselage made of Balsa/ply and main fuselage pod made by fiberglass
-Turbo superchargers: ABS vacuum formed.
-Ailerons and fowler flaps ready. All mechanism for flaps already instaled at the factory.
– Wingspan: 2100 mm (82.6 in.)
– Fuselage Lenght: 1460mm (57.4 in.)
– Weight ( ready to fly): 6,5 – 7,2kg / 14-16.5 pounds depending on final set up
– Engine: 46-52 (2 stroke) / 62-70 (4 stroke) ( x2)
– Radio: 9 channels with 12 servos
– Eletric Motor: Boost 50 or .46 glow equivalent electric motor/esc
– Battery: Lipo 14,8V- 4500 mAh ( x2)
– Assembly instructions with illustrations
– Fiberglass cowlings
– Painted pilot
– Wheels and gear doors
– Engine mounts
– Fuel tanks
– Aluminium wing joiners
– Special Edition P-38M RED NIGHT FIGHTER NUMBERS/MARKING DECALS
-Special P-38M Conversion Kit to convert factory VQ P-38 Black airframe to Night Fighter Variant
** Some photos on this website of the P-38M are of plastic model and for illustration purposes only.**
Sierra VQ P-38 Landing Gear
VQ OEM/FACTORY E-Retracts with struts: VQ-ARE18S
Does not include: finishing supplies, assembly tools, radio gear, engines/motors, glue/adhesives, and silicon fuel line