The P-38 is one of those iconic World War 2 fighter aircraft. In design, it clearly comes from that golden age of military aviation. So, when Battlefront came out with their kit for Flames of War I simply had to buy it and paint it.
I grew up loving WW2 military aviation. It's really where my history nerdliness started. Of course, the P-38 is very well known for it's exemplary record in the Pacific Theater of War, and I had forgotten that it was indeed used for a time in the ETO as well.
When the Overlord book came out, I was surprised to see that there were rules for the plane. And my inner conspiracy theorist thinks that it was a way for them to get the thing in production for later Pacific front supplements. When I think of close air support in Normandy the P-47 and the Typhoon are the 2 most iconic planes. And yet here we have the der Gabelschwanz-Teufel, or Forktailed Devil.
Interestingly, while the P-38 was a smashing success against Japanese fighters it was disastrously bad against the higher performance German counterparts. So much so, that all but one squadron had replaced their P-38's by September of '44 in favor of later model P-51's.
Can you tell that I'm a fighter plane nerd? But you're not here for a history lesson are you dear reader? No. You're here to check out the mostly great new kit from Battlefront.
So on with the review! In game terms the P-38 stacks up well against the other American Overlord air support option option the P-47. In fact, the primary difference is that the Lightning swaps out the 2 to hit AT 6 MG's seen on the Thunderbolt for 3 to hit AT 7 Cannons.
The kit itself is likely the best airplane I've seen so far from Battlefront. Some of their earlier models just didn't have the detail, (see my review of the Stuka here and to see more about that) especially in the recesses that make up the wing and body paneling, to be able to draw a good visual distinction. Here, as you'll see, that's all cleared up. Although, the kit isn't without its foibles.
|Front of box.|
|Add caption, NO! You add caption!|
|Here's what you get. The kit itself is only 4 pieces, the Body, the nose cone and 2 engine nacelles. I love that BF gives you magnets with most of the box kits they put out now.|
|OK, this is a problem. I do always seem to get the kit with some stupid sort of defect in it. And this is only the first of a couple. But luckily bent resin is easy to fix!|
Straitening out bent resin: Invariably, either because of poor QA, over heating during the shipping process or some other random thing some resin will bend. The longer, thinner and flatter the piece the more likely it is to bend. Luckily there's an easy fix.
|Step 1: Boil some water|
|Step 2: Once you've got a boil dip the wing in and count to 5. This should soften it up and you'll even be able to see it straighten out a bit.|
|Step 3: Put it between 2 heavy things and let it dry and cool off.|
|Step 4: Repeat with the other wing and viola! You've got 2 straight wings.|
|OK, let's build it.|
|The nacelles and nose cone fit on nicely.|
|Light priming complete with 2 test patches for metal.|
|I went with Citadel's Mithril Silver. Water that paint down and do like 5 coats. Metallic paints will show brush strokes much more easily than non-metallics.|
|Last up we add the cockpit and cannons.|
|And there she is, all done!|
Detail 5/5 Invasion Stripes: Far improved over earlier models in the line. Well done here.
Value 4/5 Invasion Stripes: Currently it's only used as air support in 1 book and the French 2nd Division PDF. But I can envision a world where this plane would show up in many more supplements *Cough* Pacific*Cough Cough*
Build 3/5 Invasion Stripes: For a 4 part model I had to do a good deal of work to get it into fighting shape. Having had to bend the wings back into shape and needing to smooth out the tails really knocked this down a couple of notches for me.
Overall 4/5 Invasion Stripes: If it weren't for the extra work I had to put into this I would have scored it higher, but there were some QA issues here that keep it from getting a perfect score.
Conclusions: It's a good kit... mostly. It certainly required some prep work but the depth of the recesses here are much improved over previous kits I've bought. All in all the P-38 is a sweet airplane and welcome addition to the line.