Tamiya 1/48 P-38J Lightning (123)

Today we are going to check Tamiya 1/48 P-38J Lightning (123). As you can guess, we get yet another version of the famous twin-engined aircraft in popular scale. The main change of this version was the replaced turbocharger, which actually caused these easy to see "chins" on engine gondolas. Well, now Tamiya gives us a chance to replicate this aircraft with all necessary features. I got the kit from models shop, so you will receive exactly the same contents. Let's open this box and take a closer look together.
By the way, here you can read review with useful book for this aircraft type.
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Watch this video-review where I show all parts even closer.

This set will come handy for those who would like to have more convincing turbochargers on their model.

One more set is aimed at the cockpit of your model.

Here you can check even more detailed set which will replace whole cockpit in your P-38J.

Original barrels are nice, but this set will make them even more impressive.

We are going to start with one of the biggest frames here. It carries large spars for engine gondolas and wing. Landing gear wheels look fine, but you can also replace them with resin from Eduard.

Lower fuselage panel is supplied together with wing root sections. Note also large front wing panels and cockpit walls here.

Yes, both air intakes should be glued out of two halves. I wonder if we will actually see one-piece aftermarket upgrade.

Kit features two fuel tanks which can be placed under fuselage. You can also see some of the engine gondola panels. here.

Tailwing and propellers come as single-piece parts. Attachment points are placed on the blades, so be careful while separating those.

Each tail boom should be glued out of two halves. Inside you will find guiding pins for easier assembly. Rudders are supplied as separate parts.

Top wing panel is molded together with section of the fuselage. You will also find nice details in form of recessed panel lines and rivets.

Clear frame looks excellent and should allow you to build the aircraft with open cockpit. Note that middle section has special frame protection.

Masks sheet come on typical yellow kabuki tape. It is not precut, so you will have to use sharp knife in order to get the necessary masks. I still like such bonus in the standard package.

Tamiya also included special metal ball-weights which will be placed in the fuselage and engine gondolas. It is always nice to get such stuff together with the model.

Kit features two decals sheets. Both are typical for Tamiya, printing quality looks fine.

You will find some decals for the cockpit and even engine meshes here. Of course, for better result I would recommend to buy some aftermarket. On the photo below you can see marking guides which are supplied in form of large posters.

Assembly manual is printed in black-and-white format, what is typical for Tamiya. You can check all pages in the video-review.

Big Lightning should be already available for purchase. In my opinion it is the best kit of this aircraft on the market. Moreover, there is no doubt that we will see more aftermarket for various features in the model. Well, standard package also manages to offer a lot, so even out-of-the-box build should look interesting. The only thing that I would recommend to change - marking option, as standard three options will be widely used by everyone around.


  • Nice molding quality
  • Clever design
  • Metal weights included
  • Good decals
  • Huge choice of aftermarket


  • No PE parts included
  • You will want to get another one :D

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