Full title: Vought F4U Corsair, vol.I
Authors: Tomasz Szlagor, Leszek A. Wieliczko
Series: Monographs, No. 52
More or less coincidentally with the release of beautiful Tamiya's 1:32 scale Corsair we got another reference book, which can be used in the building process of this (or any other F4U) kit you will only like to build. The monograph was released by Kagero Publishing.
Book content is spread into following chapters:
- The origin and development
- Camouflage and markings
- Frontline service
- Campaign in the Solomons (February – December 1943)
- Aerial Offensive against Rabaul (December 1943 – March 1944)
- Colour profiles
What is typical for this sort of publications authors start with the history of construction and its development, from the idea through prototypes and first flights to the final serial production versions. This chapter is divided into smaller paragraphs briefly describing particular versions: XF4U-1 prototype, F4U-1, F4U-1A, F4U-1D, F4U-1C, F3A-1, FG-1/FG-1A/FG-1D, F4U-2, XF4U-3/FG-3 and mentions few other less important.
Camouflage and markings describes only US Navy painting schemes. Authors provide detailed descriptions of the schemes giving exact paint numbers and names according to ANA and Federal Standard numbers. What is not less important for scale modellers we can also find here particular sizes of the markings in inches and cm's. I assume that painting standards of the Marines squadrons will be described in the future volumes of the Corsair monograph.
Major part of the book, about 75% is the frontline service of Vought's fighter. It focuses on two major campaigns in which Corsairs took part. First one was the Campaign in the Solomons (February-December 1943) and the second one aerial offensive against Rabaul (December 1943-March 1944). Information which we can find here comprises of major battles or significant events fought by particular squadrons, claimed scores and suffered losses, transfers and replacements of squadrons etc.
Each of the major sections closes with endnotes and selected bibliography.
Very strong asset of all Kagero publications are great archive photographs. This monograph is not an exception. Photos depicts prototypes, concept designs, side projects, archive documents and reports and of course Corsiars in the frontline units. I can't find any picture which wouldn't be interesting or attractive to me, especially those from the combat units. A lot of inspiration and good background for battle damage and model painting techniques.
Selection of colour profiles comprises of the following machines:
- F4U-1 Corsair coded 17-F-6 of VF-17 as it looked during carrier qualifications aboard USS Charger, Atlantic, February 1943
- F4U-1A Corsair (BuNo 17656) No 5, flown by Lt(jg) Thomas Killefer of VF-17, Bougainville, February 1944
- F4U-1 Corsair (BuNo 02438) coded 17-F-26, flown by Ens. Jack M Chasnoff of VF-17 during the carrier qualifications aboard USS Bunker Hill in July 1943
- F4U-1 Corsair (BuNo 17883) of VMF-214 flown by Maj. Gregory Boyington and his wingman Lt. Robert W. McClurg, Barakoma, Vella Lavella, December 1943
- F4U-1A Corsair (BuNo 17886) No 86 Lucybelle carrying victory tally of Maj. Gregory Boyington, commander of VMF-214, Espiritu Santo, November 1943
- F4U-1 Corsair No 82 George flown by 2/Lt. Henry S. Huidekoper of VMF-213, Munda, New Georgia, September 1943
- F4U-1 Corsair No 18 Bubbles flown by Lt. Howard J. "Mick" Finn of VMF-214, Munda, New Georgia, summer 1943
- F4U-1 Corsair No 7 named My Bonnie of VMF-124, Munda, New Georgia, August 1943
- F4U-1 Corsair (BuNo 02350) No 7 named Daphne 'C' flown by Capt. James N. Cupp of VMF-213 during his second tour, Guadalcanal, July 1943
The books ends with few appendixes. These are few tables with a lot of digits describing planes characteristics, production batches and serial numbers, deliveries split into years and producers, R-2800-8/8W parameters and general specifications of Corsair.
What I miss in the book are scale plans, but as this is first volume of the monograph I hope there will be some drawings in future parts.
To sum up briefly I enjoyed reading this book. I'm certainly not the the Corsair geek so for my modeller needs this book provides surely enough background. It is a bit difficult to judge it as the volume II have not been published yet, so I have no idea what will it contain. Anyway I find this monograph a useful reference for building model kits and studying history of air combat on the Pacific of the Corsair units.
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