1/48 Monogram P-38 Lockheed XFV-1 Trident

Gallery Article by Tory Mucaro

The History
In the late 1930s, the US Navy issued BuAer SD112-14 soliciting a twin-engined fighter form the major aircraft manufactures. Lockheed, who was already deep into developing the XP-38 decided to enter the competition with a radial-engined folding wing version of the Lighting.  Dubbed the XFV-1 Trident, it actually had a higher performance rating than it's USAAF counterpart due to it's lower weight. It was soon discovered that this aircraft could also carry a Mk. 13 torpedo under its port wing. The idea was that after launching the torpedo, the aircraft could easily fight its way back to its carrier or defend other aircraft in the area. Unfortunately, the XFV-1 was never able to overcome its tendency to break up upon arresting as momentum carried the engine booms down the deck of the ship, and the project was eventually cancelled.


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The Model
As most of you have probably deduced by now, this aircraft never existed outside of the frightening recesses of my mind. However, a photograph of a P-38 that was actually tested to carry torpedoes inspired it. It began life as a 1/48 Monogram P-38. The engines were donated by an Otaki P-47 with from which a RTV mold was made and duplicates cast. The cowlings were scratch built from parts cut off the kits nacelles and heavily modified. The propellers were reluctantly donated from a Minicraft XF5F-1 Skyrocket. The radiators were removed from the booms and filled with sheet styrene and lots of body filler. The superchargers were retained, as it seemed feasible that they could've been used with the radial engines. The wings were cut off just outboard of the booms and the wing fold area completely scratch built using sheet styrene and brass wire, with .015 solder for flexible lines. The tail hook was bent from brass rod and inserted in the furthest rear part of the fuselage with just enough protruding so as to draw interest to it. The torpedo was "borrowed" from the Monogram TBF Avenger. Most of the paint is Model Master; the decals also came from the Skyrocket kit with the tail code and "Trident" logo custom made on my computer. The various data markings came from an old Microscale P-38 sheet. The base is made from inch thick acrylic sheet with Evergreen scribed sheet stock laminated on to simulate a WWII era carrier flight deck.

Hope you enjoyed it; I had a blast building it.

Tory Mucaro


Photos and text by Tory Mucaro