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P-38 Lightning
Fork Tail Devils

Pts I, II & III


AeroMaster Decals


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: AMD 48-631, 632, 633
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Waterslide decals plus instructions and notes
Price: each USD$8.96 from Squadron.com
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Bright and varied markings covering a range of sub-types; good timing for a "flavour of the month" subject; perfect register; thin; minimal carrier film; comprehensive stencil data; good instructions and background
Disadvantages: Data block for a single P-38E duplicated for all subects
Recommendation: Recommended

Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

Aeromaster's 1/48 scale Fork Tail Devils are available online from Squadron.com




AeroMaster Products has turned its attention to the Lockheed P-38 Lighting.  Their foray into the world of the P-38 has resulted in the issue of three new sheets that provide markings for nine different aircraft.  AeroMaster have provided a broad coverage of camouflage finishes and a mixture of sub types ranging from early -G and- H through -L and -J and as well as a single -M night fighter. 

The individual aircraft and their markings are as follows:


48-631 - Fork Tail Devils Part I 

"Snooks", P-38M 44-27245.  The markings depict it when it was assigned to the 418th Night Fighter Squadron and crewed by First Lieutenant Johnny Brewer (pilot) and First Lieutenant David Hopwood (Radar Operator) during the occupation of Japan in late 1945.  It is in a heavily stained overall gloss black finish with and has a matt black antiglare panel on the nose and natural metal turbocharger exhaust.  The markings comprise:

  • Red 27245 'last four' of the serial number and red 1945 constructors number (?) for either side of the nose.  A separate white 1945 is supplied to place under the red 1945.  I'm not sure why AeroMaster have done this as the photo of the aircraft on 75 of the Squadron/Signal P-38 Walk Around shows the 1945 as being red only.

  • "Shady Lady" nose art that comprises a scantily clad blonde sitting on a yellow quarter moon surrounded by yellow glittering stars and the name "Shady Lady" in red with a white outline.  You have a couple of options with this marking.  The first option is a complete one-piece decal and the other is a two-part decal with the red of the name as a separate decal to avoid any register problems.

  • The name 'Snooks' in red with a white border for the side of the engine cowlings.  Again, these markings are supplied as both one piece and two piece decals.  The placement sheet advises that AeroMaster are not sure if this marking was worn on the right hand engine cowling but they have supplied extra decals if you choose to apply them.

  • Pilot's and Radar Operator's names for the left hand side of the fuselage pod in red with a white "shadow".  This marking is supplied in two parts, a white decal that you apply first and a red decal that you apply offset over the white one to achieve the "shadow".

"SWEET SUE"/NELLIE ANN, P-38J 43-28650 of the 27th Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Group, 15th Air Force Italy 1944-45.  "Sweet Sue" is in overall natural metal finish and has olive drab antiglare panels on the nose and the forward insides of the engine cowlings, red bands around the rear booms, the spinner and the intake lips as well as the wing tips and bottom forward edges of the vertical stabilizers.   Markings comprise:

  • Nose art in the form of a naked (well almost, she is only wearing red shoes!) girl sitting on a towel and the name SWEET SUE in white.

  • The name "NELLIE ANN" in white with a black border for the engine cowling.  As with the first option, AeroMaster is unsure if the marking was worn on both sides so they have provided two.

  • Black 5 plane-in-squadron-number for the boom mounted radiator fairings.

  • Black 328650 serial numbers for the fin and rudder.

  • There is a great colour photo of this aircraft on page 60 of the Squadron/Signal P-38 Walk Around.

GUNG HO, P-38L (not P-35J as the placement guide advises!) of the 392nd Fighter Squadron, 367th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force, Europe 1944 -45.  Flown by Lieutenant Colonel Edwin S. Chickering.  GUNG HO is in overall natural metal finish has olive drab antiglare panels on the nose and the forward insides of the engine cowlings, a yellow nose cap and a black square squadron marking on the fin and rudder.  Her markings comprise: 

  • Nose art of a Buggs Bunny and a green dragon with a bomb and the words GUNG HO in yellow.

  • Black HC squadron and C individual aircraft codes for the tail booms.

  • A Large black square (squadron identifying marking) for the outer surfaces of the fin and rudder.

  • Large black letter C individual aircraft in squadron code for the inner surfaces of the fin and rudder.

Several photos exist of this aircraft.  The best that I found was on page 113 of "The Dynamite Gang" by Richard Grogh.  This photo appears in several publications and shows stencil style numerals on the nose.  The first one visible 3 and it is probably the second numeral of the shortened three serial that appears on the nose of many natural metal P-38s.  The last numeral was either a 9 or a 0 and Buggs Bunny has been painted over it.  AeroMaster has not supplied these numerals.  Perhaps this serial number was removed later and Aeromaster have used a later photograph of the aircraft as reference for the sheet.


48-632 - Fork Tail Devils Part II 

"Hold Everything", a P-38G of the 431st Fighter Squadron, 475th Fighter Group, Dobodura, New Guinea late 1943.  Aircraft was flown by First Lieutenant P.V. Morriss.  The machine is in olive drab over neutral grey with red tipped (with a white stripe) fin and rudders and the rear half of the spinners in red.  Markings comprise:

  • Nose art, consisting of female in blue dungarees with the words "Hold Everything", in yellow with black shadowing.

  • Two Japanese rising sun flag kill markings.  This marking is supplied as both a one-piece decal and a two piece one to avoid any register problems.

  • The name LT P.V. Morriss in white.

  • White 117 plane-in-squadron numbers for both sides of the nose as well as the fin.

  • The red portions of the fin and rudder.  No red bands are provided for the spinners but if you are using the Hasegawa kit, the spinner is in two parts so this won't pose a problem.

Hot Pants, P-38H 42-66685 of the 339th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group, Guadalcanal, 1943.  Camouflage finish is olive drab over neutral grey.  Her markings comprise: 

  • Nose art of a nude wearing stockings and heels holding a pair of red bloomers and the name Hot Pants in yellow.

  • White 66 plane-in-squadron number for the nose.  Three of these markings are supplied.  The one for the right hand side of the nose is supplied as both "swept forward" and "swept back" your choice!

  • Yellow 266685 serial number for the fin and rudder.

  • Yellow 1196 Lockheed constructors number for both sides of the nose.

Dorothy Marie My Pet/Ruby, P-38L of the 36th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Group, Le Shima 1945 flown by Lieutenant J. Dixon.  In overall natural metal finish and has olive drab antiglare panels on the nose and the forward insides of the engine.  The spinners are black with a wide white band, the tops of the fin and rudder are white with a thin black band and the bottoms of are black.  The wings have a diagonal black band on both the upper and lower surfaces.  Her markings comprise:

  • Nose art of a fully clothed blonde sitting on a brick wall with the name Dorothy Marie My Pet.
  • Pilot's and Crew Chief's name in black for the nose.

  • The fin and rudder markings top only, you will have to paint the black on the bottom yourself.

  • White outlined black letter Zs for the fins as well as the outer faces of the engine cowlings.

  • Further artwork for the engine cowlings consisting of a reclining female (nude this time!) with the name Ruby.  Two of these are supplied but it isn't known if they appeared on both sides for sure.

  • The white bands for the spinners.

  • The black bands for the wings.

The artwork for this machine in the Squadron/Signal P-38 Walk Around shows a squadron insignia for the right hand side gun bay door but it is not provided on the sheet.


48-633 - Fork Tail Devils Part III   

"Strictly Laffs!!" a P-38J of the 432nd Fighter Squadron, 475th Fighter Group at Hollandia, New Guinea in 1944.  .  The machine is in overall natural metal finish and has olive drab antiglare panels on the nose and the forward insides of the engine.  The markings comprise:

  • The name "Strictly Laffs!!" in red with a black outline and a stave with musical notes.

  • Yellow (432nd Fighter Squadron's colour), with thin black outline, 142 plane-in-squadron numbers for the nose and the outer faces of the fin and rudder.

  • Yellow outlined green clover leaf for the nose cap.  The radio call sign for the 432nd Fighter Squadron was "Clover".

ALMOST 'A' DRAGGIN,/"Kittie" - P-38L-5-LO, 44-25638 of the 9th Fighter Squadron, 49th Fighter Group As flown by Major Clayton Issacson from Lingayen in the Philippines in 1945.  A well known aircraft, it is in overall natural metal finish and has olive drab antiglare panels on the nose and the forward insides of the engine with the 49th Fighter Group's red tips to the fin and rudders. The spinners are in red, white and blue.  Its markings comprise:

  • Small black numeral 10s for either side of the nose with a further larger pair for the outer edges of the radiator fairings.

  • Nose art of a green dragon on a yellow lightning bolt.  The marking also includes four swastikas on a white background kill markings.

  • Pilot's and ground crew's names in red with a black shadow.

  • 425638 serial in black for the outer faces of the fin and rudder.

  • The name "Kittie" in red for the sides of the engine cowling.  As with the other aircraft with markings in the same position, two of these are provided but it is not sure that it was painted on both sides.  Again, your choice.

  • The blue and white stripes for the spinner, a one piece decal which is great as trying to mask and paint these bands evenly is an exercise in frustration!  All you have to do with this one is to paint the spinner red, apply the decal and hey presto you are done!

Jandina IV, a P-38J of the 80th Fighter Squadron, 8th Fighter Group in 1944.  Jandina IV was flown by Major Jay T. Robbins and is in natural metal finish and has olive drab antiglare panels on the nose and the forward insides of the engine with the tips to the fin and rudders as well as the spinners, in the 80th Fighter Squadron's colours of green and white. Markings comprise: 

  • Nose art consisting of a big bellied budda (?).

  • The name Jandina IV in black.

  • Pilot's and Crew Chief names in black.

  • A scoreboard of 21 rising sun flags.  This is a two-part marking with the red of the flags being laid on top of the white square background to avoid any register problems.

  • Green and white command stripes for the booms.

  • White stripes for the spinners you will have to paint the spinners in the same shade of green to match the rest of the markings yourself before applying this marking.

  • The green and white tips to the fin and rudders.  AeroMaster must think that you may have troubles with these markings as they have supplied a spare solid green block decal.

Two sets of national insignia and comprehensive stencil data are supplied on each sheet.   A set of red bordered national insignia is supplied on part II 48-632 as two of the options on that sheet wear them.  The stencil data on Pt I 48-631 is in black which means the majority of it is pretty well useless for the all-black P-38M option. 

Data blocks are supplied as part of the stencil data but they are all for P-38E -6-LO 41-2227.  This is unusual for AeroMaster as they usually go to the trouble of supplying a correct one. 

The decals themselves have been printed in Italy by Cartograf which means that you will need to use patience and plenty of settling solution!  Make no mistake, they do work but again, use plenty of patience. 

AeroMaster has gone to great lengths to ensure that there are no register problems by providing alternate decals; happily this was not a problem on any of the three review sheets as everything is in perfect register. 

The placement guides are the standard A-4 sized sheet with full colour left hand side profiles with further scrap views to show placement of wing stripes where appropriate.  The rear of each placement guide carries a separate three view illustration of a generic P-38 (an F/H) to show where the stencil data should be applied. 

The placement guides and decal sheets come packed in a clear plastic zip-loc bag. 

The recommended kits are the Academy/Hasegawa ones. 

The P-38 seems to be the flavour of the month at the moment with new books and decal sheets popping up all over the place.  Either of the recommended kits will make up into great looking replica and there is plenty of aftermarket resin and brass to guild the lily. 

Given that the six of the nine options are J/-L and four of them are from the Pacific theatre could it be that AeroMaster have a couple of more sheets waiting in the wings that are carrying markings European/African theatre machines? 

Good stuff from AeroMaster!


Thanks to AeroMaster / Eagle Strike Products for the review sets

On-line sales are available from the AeroMaster Products / Eagle Strike Productions web site.

Review TextCopyright 2004 by Rodger Kelly
This Page Created on 08 February, 2004
Last updated 07 February, 2004

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