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Code: WT-WTW72020-09    Add to wishlist
Status: Sold out - Discontinued
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Witty Sky Guardians (Series 2) WTW72020-09
Lockheed P-38L Lightning Diecast Model
USAAF 475th FG, 431st FS, #44-24155 "Pudgy V", Thomas McGuire, Hollandia, New Guinea, 1944, Polished Metal Finish

Limited Edition
Pieces Worldwide

1:72 Scale   Length   Width
Lockheed P-38L Lightning   6.25"   8.75"

Thomas McGuire Jr. began his career as a fighter pilot flying P-39s in the Aleutians. During this brief period of routine patrols he never saw an enemy aircraft. He hungered to see combat and requested a transfer. In late 1942, he was posted to Louisiana where he met and married his wife Marilyn. Shortly afterward, he was transferred to California, where he trained on the new engine P-38 Lightning. In March of 1943, he was transferred to the South Pacific, where he joined the 49th Fighter Group flying P-38s. A few months later, he was transferred to the 475th Fighter Group. McGuire's first combat mission took place on August 18th 1943. He was credited with 3 victories, although a fourth was lost to a fellow pilot in a coin toss, and a fifth was unconfirmed! Two months later there were 13 Japanese flags painted on the nose of his P-38, named "Pudgy' for his wife, who was actually slim and attractive. On October 17th he scored another triple. While looking for his fourth, McGuire broke off an attack to cover a damaged P-38. In the moments that followed, three Japanese Zeros bounced his P-38, pouring hot lead into Pudgy. He was forced to bail out of his now burning plane at an altitude of 12,000 feet. His parachute had sustained damage, and did not open until 1,000 feet above the water. McGuire, who had been injured in the dogfight, managed to stay afloat without a life raft until he was rescued by a PT boat.

Over the next six months, he scored another 16 victories, challenging Maj. Richard Bong as the highest scoring ace in U.S. history. By December of 1944, Maj.Thomas McGuire had added 7 more flags to his Lightning, bringing his total to 38, just two behind Bong, who had just been sent home. Not wanting to mar the reputation of America's newly trained war hero, the Air Force grounded McGuire until January 6th. The very next day, Maj. Thomas B. McGuire led a flight of four P-38s bound for Mindoro. Suddenly, a lone Ki-43 Oscar crossed underneath the flight. The skilled pilot at the controls, Akira Sugimoto, fired on one of the P-38s, damaging its turbo supercharger. He then turned his guns on McGuire's wingman, who called for help. One version of this engagement states that McGuire saw that his wingman was in serious trouble, and in a desperate effort, he turned too tight as he attempted to engage. Maj. McGuire was still flying with his external drop tanks and his plane quickly stalled at 200 feet. The P-38 crashed to the ground, killing the man who many believed to be the greatest fighter pilot in the Pacific. A little known fact is that a second Japanese aircraft, a Ki-84 Frank piloted by Sergeant Mizonoru Fukuda, entered the fray unknown to the American pilots. Some Historians speculate that McGuire was actually shot down, finding it hard to believe that McGuire would attempt such a maneuver in a plane he knew so well.

We may never know what really happened. Either way, he will be remembered as a great pilot. For his "gallant initiative, unselfish concern for the safety of others" Major Thomas B. McGuire was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. In 1948, Fort Dix Air Forces Base in New Jersey was renamed McGuire Air Force Base in his honor, and a restored P-38 in Pudgy V markings stands as a reminder of his legacy within the gates of the base.

Lockheed P-38L Lightning

Designed to meet a USAAC requirement for a high-performance fighter, the P-38 Lightning was first flown on January 27th, 1939. The easily recognizable P-38 had twin-booms, twin turbo-supercharged engines, a central pod for the pilot, contra-rotating propellers and tricycle landing gear. Its roles included dive bombing, level bombing, ground strafing and photo reconnaissance. When equipped with drop tanks it was also flown as a long-range escort fighter. The Lightning's armament was clustered in the nose of the plane, which gave the pilot a direct line of site to the target and also gave the weapons a "buzz saw" effect that was useful for strafing.

© Copyright 2003-2018 The Flying Mule, Inc.

Witty's 1:72 scale P-38 Lightning is a high quality model in a low price range. Witty has created this model with a mix of plastic and metal parts, with all-metal wings, tail booms and fuselage, and a plastic horizontal stabilizer. Special attention has been paid to the supercharger detail on the turbine and bearing cooling duct and on the supercharger cooling and side mounted ram air intakes. Details such as the mass balance weights, crew access ladder, pitot tube, nose-mounted antenna and engine water supply lines—visible inside each wheel well—are separately applied. Other details include engine radiators, and radio equipment located in the rear bay.

© Copyright 2003-2014 The Flying Mule, Inc.

Witty Sky Guardians (Series 2)

The Witty "Wings" range presents detailed, ready-made diecast models of military aircraft. Witty have earned a reputation for producing high-quality models that can be displayed right out of the box.

Witty "Wings" (Series 2) diecast airplanes feature:

  • Diecast metal construction with some plastic components.
  • Realistic panel lines, antennas, access panels and surface details.
  • Pad printed markings and placards that won't fade or peel like decals.
  • Interchangeable extended/retracted landing gear with rotating wheels.
  • Authentic detachable ordnance loads complete with placards.
  • Selected moving parts such as canopies, control surfaces and swing-wings.
  • Detailed, hand-painted pilot and crew member figures.
  • Many limited editions with numbered certificate of authenticity.

© Copyright 2003-2018 The Flying Mule, Inc.

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