Below is my first attempt at building a model in over 16-17 years. This kite is that of my great-uncle, 2nd Lt Virgil G Ray. Marine pilots in the Solomons did not have assigned planes and I have pictures of Virgil in or around four different Corsairs. However, I have two pictures of Virgil posing around this plane, so I'll assume he flew it at least once. The subject is an F4U-1 Birdcage with the nose art 'Mad Duck' and the number 'White 80'. I believe these pictures to be from Sept 1943 when VMF-214 was flying out of Munda, but I am not 100% positive. Virgil flew three tours with VMF-122, 112 and 214 between May and October 1943, before disappearing on a flight on 13 Oct 1943. More information regarding Virgil can be found at https://missingmarines.com/virgil-g-ray/ or in Bruce Gamble's works on VMF-214.
In short, he was an original member of the Blacksheep Squadron, and flew on Boyington's division in Sept 1943 on multiple sorties, including a rather famous dogfight in which Boyington claimed 5 victories. In my research, Virgil was credited with at least one, possibly two, probable 'kills' in June and Sept 1943, although we all know how subjective those claims can be. I'll include some documents and original pictures in the post below. This kit was made as a birthday present for my father, also a former Naval aviator.
The kit was built out of the box with the exception of some HGW Wet Transfers and Eduard masks. Paints were mostly Tamiya, with some Model Master and Vallejo. Weathering was Tamiya panel line wash, and Winsor and Newton artists oils for filtering and blending. I also did some chipping with a XF-16. I attempted a bit of a preshading, as well as Doog's Models style 'sandwich shading' when spraying the base colors, to introduce tonal variety into the paint scheme. All in all, I think this turned out decent for my first kit since I was 15-16 years old or so. Certainly some errors you'll find if you look. Also some things I would do differently. All in all this project was a ton of fun, and I've been bitten by the modeling bug again. I've already purchased the Tamiya P-38, P-47, a Trumpeter SBD and Bf109G10 on deck. I eventually plan to do another 1/32 Birdcage that Virgil flew, in the earlier two tone scheme and some cool squadron art of VMF-122.