by: Russ Amott [ ]
Originally published on:
F4U Corsair history
The F4U Corsair is one of the most famous of WWII aircraft. In production from 1940 until 1953, with 12,571 aircraft built, it saw service with the US Navy and Marines in WWII and Korea, as well as with the British Fleet air arm, Royal New Zealand Air Force, French Navy and a host of smaller air forces until the 1960s.
The prototype of the F4U first flew in 1940, and at the time had the largest engine, propeller and wing span of any fighter plane in the world. The aircraft had to overcome some technological challenges imposed by it's advanced design and high speed and as such didn't appear in combat until 1942. The US didn't deploy the Corsair on aircraft carriers because of perceived difficulty in supplying parts at sea, but the Marines used them extensively from land bases. The Royal Navy did approve them for carrier use, clipping the wings by 8 inches. The Corsair completely outclassed the F6F Hellcat and most every Japanese aircraft it met in combat. The rugged airframe and R-2800 double wasp engine also made the Corsair an excellent ground attack aircraft.
The F4U-1D was introduced in April, 1944. It had water injection that increased power to 2250 hp, speed to 425mph, and had hard points for 5" rockets on the wings, plumbing for two drop tanks, raised the pilot's seat by 7", and used a Malcolm hood canopy for improved visibility. It was widely deployed from aircraft carriers and was widely used for ground attack missions as well as fighter interception.
Tamiya Vought F4U-1D Corsair
The Tamiya kit, introduced in 1998, has been a popular, well received kit. Designed to show the wings in either folded or fixed position, it has come out in several different variants. It comes in a traditional box with nice artwork showing a carrier based aircraft in flight. The sprues are all carefully bagged to protect them, with an extra protective paper inserted with the decal sheet to protect them.
The "A" sprue is common to all Tamiya 1/48 scale Corsair kits. It contains 39 parts, including the fuselage halves, engine, some cockpit details, and options for tail wheels and antenna. Fully engraved panel lines are nicely done, rivet detail is clear and there is a texture difference for the fabric covered control surfaces. The cockpit needs little to upgrade it other than seat-belts. The engine cowling is a loose part and was placed over the cockpit to keep it from bouncing about the box.
The "B" sprue is also common to the Tamiya Corsairs. It contains 40 parts in a very symmetrical format, containing the wings and lower center fuselage. Again, details are very nice and clear.
The "E" sprue is specific to the -1D variant. It contains 26 parts including the two drop tanks, some cockpit details, fuselage behind the canopy, and a standing pilot figure, made to be positioned on the wing next to the cockpit. Aircraft parts are very crisp and nicely detailed, but the pilot is a little soft on detail, which in this scale is difficult to define.
The "F" sprue is the clear parts sprue, with 7 parts. There are two Malcolm style canopies, one with framing and one without, one windscreen, plus gun sight, landing light and the fuselage window to aid in landing the aircraft. The parts are nicely detailed and very clear.
Instructions and markings
Instruction are foldout type, showing assembly in 13 steps. Directions are clear and specific, and easy to follow. Individual parts painting is called out in each step.
Markings are for three aircraft.
VF-84, wing 167, Bunker Hill, Feb 1945, overall sea blue with yellow cowling band.
VMF-112, Wing 1, Bennington, Jan 1945, overall sea blue with yellow propeller hub.
VMF-913, wing 107, Cherry Point, NC, Jan 1945, overall sea blue.
I did not see any flash, molding flaws or sink marks. Ejector pin marks all appear to be hidden. If you want or need more detail in your kit, there are a number of aftermarket detail sets available, providing wheels, struts, complete engines, gun bays, control surfaces and cockpits, as well as decals.
As for ease of assembly, I bought two of these kits, intending to build them with my 10 year old son. He built one in a day, without help from me, and has plans for the other. I'll have to get one for myself.
I purchased my kits online from Lucky Model for $21.00, including shipping.
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