by: Reimund G. Manneck [ ]
THE CHANCE VOUGHT CORSAIR:
The F4U Corsair was somewhat the black sheep in the U.S. fighter arsenal. The Corsair, at a max speed of 420mph at 20,000 feet, was capable of out flying the Army’s P-47 and P-51 as well as the feared Japanese Zero. Yet, the Navy was reluctant to use it. The Corsair had a long nose and the Navy believed that this would make carrier landings near to impossible. So, as other throwaways, the Marines received the F4U and proceeded to make the best of an incredible situation.
The Tamiya 1/72 F4U-1D is another effort by this manufacturer to shrink some of their best sellers to the one and truly scale for aircraft models. At $21 dollars a pop at the local hobby shop one cannot help but wonder what is so immaculate about this kit.
For one the interior detailing is just superb, nearly as good as its 1/48 cousin. Here Tamiya included the see through cockpit floor, which is missing in all other efforts in this scale. The sidewall and console detail is all there. A decal for the instrument panel and seat harness are included. The wheel wells are also detailed and properly deep. The engine is also very complete, with both rows of cylinders molded separately and an option for both closed and open cowl flaps. Other options are for framed or unframed canopy, two fuel tanks and eight under-wing rockets. The kit also includes an insert for the spine just behind the canopy, which hints of a future Birdcage variant.
The surface detail of the kit is good, if not a bit too pronounced. An interesting feature of the Corsair is that parts of the outer wing panels were fabric covered. The kit captures the scalloped look of the fabric very well, both in the wing, horizontal stabs and rudder. The offset vertical stab is also there. The main undercarriage looks good, only lacking brake lines. The tail wheel and struts are given as one piece, which is the norm in this scale. Unlike its bigger cousin the kit does not have separate wing flaps or folding wings. It would be nice to see those options done in aftermarket.
Decals are included for three gloss sea-blue Corsairs, one U.S. Navy version and two for the Marines. The decals are really thick and from experience do not react very well to solvents:
VF-84 aircraft #167 aboard the USS Bunker Hill- Piloted by Lt. Cdr. Roger Hedrick, an ace with 12 victories. This Corsair wore large arrow markings and a yellow frontal cowling painted for operations over the Japanese home islands.
VFM-112 “Wolfpack” aircraft #1 aboard the USS Bennington-Piloted by Major Herman Hanson, Jr., commander of 112 from August 1943 until August 1945. The aircraft sported a yellow prop boss and was one of the first Corsairs to strike Tokyo.
VMF-312 “Checkerboarders” aircraft #530, Kadena Airfield, Okinawa 1945-Piloted by Lieutenant M.O. Chance. This aircraft has the extra frame in the canopy and white checkers around the cowl and rudder. The aircraft was lost in May 1945 when it was damaged by antiaircraft fire and forced to ditch.
Copyright ©2019 text by Reimund G. Manneck [ ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Historicus Forma or Silver Star Enterprises. All rights reserved.
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