Lockheed P-38J Lightning (oz12939)


Lockheed  P-38J Lightning (oz12939) by Duke Horn 2010 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Lockheed P-38J Lightning. Scale model WWII twin-engined fighter, for rubber power. Wingspan 40 in, wing area 268 sq in.

Direct submission to Outerzone.

Quote: "Duke Horn requested I submit his 40" span rubber-powered free flight P-38 plan. Plan files attached (sheets 1 and 2 of 2), along with photos of Duke's model. Quite a beauty, and an impressive flier. Video of Duke flying the model at the 2018 Texas Scale Champs is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhOQInvC1Gs.
Duke also provided the attached writeup to go with his P-38 plan.
Thanks again for all you do to keep these plans available!"

Quote: "Lockheed P-38J Lightning [by Duke Horn].

In the spring of 2010, I decided I wanted to build the iconic P-38 Lightning, after inheriting a Guillows kit of that model. Being an FACer for many years, I knew the Guillows build would be unacceptable for a rubber model because of its weight. So, I decided to start from scratch with my plans, yet wanted to use the decals and kit plastic to make molds. So, mine is the same 40 inch span as the Guillows, for that reason. I did use the canopy and turbo-superchargers.

My plan was to make as light and strong a structure as possible, yet robust enough to take several seasons of punishment, since I didn’t want to have to build another one.

My ship is based on “Lefty” Gardner’s P-38J, serial #42-67543 with civil registration N3145X. The ship crashed at an airshow in Duxford, England, in 1996. The hulk of it was recovered and shipped to Austin, TX, where it still resides (presumably). Previously, it had been stored in Mercedes, TX from 1964-1987.

I have not found a photo of it flying back in active war service, so consequently, no one seems to know with empirical evidence what would distinguish between the conflicting invasion striping I’ve seen on plastic models, etc, on the booms. That being said then, mine is correct for Lefty Gardner’s ship, California Cutie.

Fortunately, now, Callie Graphics has a complete graphics kit for her, except the invasion stripes. My ship is still way too heavy for any flights over a minute as has been done in the past. AUW: 308grams, because I wasn’t able to find anyone locally who could pull .007 Styrene from the molds and had to use .015 ABS plastic instead.

Presently, Bernard Guest of Hummingbird Models, Alberta, Canada, has the rights to kit it, pending production time in the near future [see site at https://hummingbirdmodelproducts.com/]. Using laminated balsa methodology, which Bernard has kitting experience for, the plane from his kit should be built for around 200 grams.

This ship with counter-rotating Volare (Superior) 3-bladed props, flies like it’s on RAILS! Good Luck. Show us your finished product!

Thermals, Duke M Horn"

Supplementary file notes



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Lockheed  P-38J Lightning (oz12939) by Duke Horn 2010 - model pic

  • (oz12939)
    Lockheed P-38J Lightning
    by Duke Horn
    40in span
    Scale Rubber F/F Multi Military Fighter
    clean :)
    all formers complete :)
  • Submitted: 08/04/2021
    Filesize: 1350KB
    Format: • PDFbitmap
    Credit*: DukeHorn, MikeKelly
    Downloads: 1876

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Lockheed  P-38J Lightning (oz12939) by Duke Horn 2010 - pic 003.jpg
Lockheed  P-38J Lightning (oz12939) by Duke Horn 2010 - pic 004.jpg
Lockheed  P-38J Lightning (oz12939) by Duke Horn 2010 - pic 005.jpg
Lockheed  P-38J Lightning (oz12939) by Duke Horn 2010 - pic 006.jpg

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User comments

P-38J/N4145X was owned at one time by Lefty Gardner; he sold it (derelict airframe) to British collector Stephen Grey who had it restored to flying condition painted as 'California Cutie.' The plane was in Grey's Fighter Collection when it crashed at Duxford in an airshow display. It was totally destroyed in that crash. The famous Lightning that Lefty Gardner flew in his well known displays is P-38L/N25Y and was known as White Lightnin'. It suffered damage in a forced landing, and was later bought/restored by the Red Bull company, and continues to fly in airshows.
Dave D - 10/04/2021
Magnificent! From the cockpit canopy detail to the distressed colouration of the superchargers to the overall finish; one might even mistake it for a plastic kit. A superlative job throughout.
Jan Novick - 10/04/2021
Hello, i am mistaken or i see 3 blade plastic propellors? Where can i get such? Many thanks, Eduard.
Rautchi Eduard - 22/06/2021
As on the instruction notes he used Superior Props.
link for prop shop: https://volareproducts.com/blog/?post_type=product
pit - 22/06/2021
Eduard. The plan does specify carved wood props so I think they are probably not plastic.
Peter Rea - 24/06/2021
The props I used and recommend are the Volare 3-bladed balsa props. Right hand and left hand. They come machine finished and merely need to be lightened and finish sanded and painted.
Duke Horn - 12/06/2022
It took 4 loops of 3/16" Tan II 25" long to fly this ship for about one minute, at 308 grams! With counter rotating props creating a gyroscopic effect, stability is guaranteed. Mine had a little more washout on the left outer panel, than the right, affecting a consistent climbing left-hand rotation. You will be surprised how well it flies! Best of luck!
Duke Horn - 14/11/2022
Duke; I think this will be my first twin. Looks great. Tim Pivonka
TimPivonka - 03/08/2023
Thanks, Tim.
Duke Horn - 13/11/2023
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Download File(s):
  • Lockheed P-38J Lightning (oz12939)
  • Plan File Filesize: 1350KB Filename: Lockheed_P-38J_Lightning_oz12939.pdf
  • Supplement Filesize: 23KB Filename: Lockheed_P-38J_Lightning_oz12939_writeup.pdf
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* Credit field

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