In 1936 the Army issued a specification calling for a high-speed, high-altitude interceptor. The requirements for this plane were such, that Lockheed's designers felt that a single-engine of the existing types could not supply sufficient power for the performance required. They employed a radically new design with a center fuselage, and twin booms which not only housed twin engines, but turbo-superchargers, radiators, and landing gear as well. This left the main fuselage for the pilot and a concentration of four .50 caliber machine guns, and a 2Omm cannon, without complex sychronizing mechanisms.
Although originally designed for bomber interception, the P-38 underwent numerous production modifications. It was pressed into a wide variety of duties, other than its primary fighter role. Some of these others included its role as a fighter-bomber, long-range photo reconnaissance, as a pathfinder aircraft to lead formations of bomb-laden P-38s, and finally as a radar-equipped night-fighter. Of the 9,923 Lightnings built, the P-38J and P-38L models were the most numerous. The Pathfinder, Photo Reconnaissance, and Night-Fighter versions were converted from these.
All had a length of 37 feet, 10 inches, were 9 feet, 10 inches high, with a wingspan of 52 feet. All P-38s were powered by two 1,425 horsepower Allison V-i 2 turbo-supercharged, liquid-cooled engines, driving counter-rotating propellers. This gave the Lightning a top speed of 420 m.p.h. at 26,000 feet, a range of over 2,000 miles with drop tanks, and a service ceiling of 44,000 feet. Your kit can be built into one of three variants. Markings and optional parts to build them are included.
The above text is what comes with the Monogram kit. The photos are Polaroids of the kit as I bought and assembled it on 1993-10-11, a little over four years ago. (Click them to enlarge.) This is one of my "dust catchers", a kit that I assembled with no intention of painting or detailing, although I may throw some of the decals on it one day. :-)