2 in stock
2 in stock
Corgi Aviation Archive 1/72 Scale AA36601: Lockheed P-38J Lightning “Marge”, as flown by Richard Bong of the 49th FG, USAAF, New Guinea, 1942. Limited Edition of 3990 Pieces.
Length 6.25 inches Wingspan 8.75 inches
In May 1941 Richard Bong enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps where one of his flight instructors was Barry Goldwater, the unsuccessful 1964 presidential candidate against Lyndon Johnson. Lieutenant Bong received his wings and commission in January 1942 and in October he was flying combat missions in the Southwest Pacific Theater. Flying Lockheed P-38s with the 49th Fighter Group, he scored his first “kills” in late December. By April of 1944, Captain Bong has shot down 27 aircraft, surpassing Eddie Rickenbacker’s American record of 26 credited victories during World War I. After extended leave in the U.S. Major Bong returned to New Guinea in September 1944 and continued flying during the Philippine campaign. There he ran his string to 40 victories in December 1944, the same month he received the Medal of Honor. Bong’s Medal of Honor citation stated that he flew combat missions despite his status as an “instructor”. In fact, he was the P-38 standardization officer for 5th Fighter Command, thee being no position for instructors in a war zone. His rank of major would have qualified him for a squadron but he always flew as a flight (four plane) or element (two plane) leader. On September 24, 2002, which would have been Dick Bong’s 82nd birthday, the Richard I. Bong WWII Heritage Center opened to the public in Superior, Wisconsin. The converted aircraft hangar contains a museum, a film screening room, and his fully restored famous P-38 Lightning, “Marge”, named after his eventual wife. The work on the aircraft, begun in 1994 and coordinated by volunteers from the Duluth, Minnesota Air National Guard, required more than 16,000 hours of labor.
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.