Jump to content
John1

Dark Blue Killer - Tamiya F4U-1D Corsair

Recommended Posts

Intro -

 

I've always had a thing for late WW2 USN aircraft.  Unlike the somewhat ragged team that fought the Japanese at Coral Sea, Midway and Guadalcanal, by the spring / summer of 1945, the US Navy was a true killing machine that was able to deploy a massive carrier task force right off the enemy's coast, achieve air superiority and strafe and bomb pretty much at will.  Just as importantly, they were able to keep it there for sustained operations.  To this day, the USN is still the only navy on the planet that can do this. 

 

I've been waiting for quite some time for some decent large scale kits of late-war US Navy aircraft.   I'm still waiting for new-tool 32nd scale Hellcat (Tamiya - are you listening?) but at least last year, Tamiya released a 32nd scale F4U-1D Corsair.  

 

After being subjected to pretty much crap kits on my last few aircraft builds (Kittyhawk, Kinetic and Trumpeter come to mind), I decided to treat myself to the Tamiya Corsair.  It's my first large scale Tamiya kit and it's absolutely stunning.   The pictures posted in online reviews don't do it justice.   In addition to 400 or so the great looking plastic parts, the kit also comes with canopy masks, PE, a color reference booklet on the Corsair and a well laid out instruction manual.   By all accounts from the reviews, the kit is dead on accurate.   It's not perfect, there are couple of very minor issues (more on that later) but nothing that isn't addressed quite easily.  If anyone wants to see how a model should be done, treat yourself to one of the recent Tamiya large scale aircraft (Mustang, Mosquito and Corsair series).  You won't ever want to go back to the other manufacturers again.

 

In addition to the kit, I'm using the following aftermarket stuff - Barracudacast resin wheels / cockpit placard decal set and Fundekals Whistling Death decal set.   All are highly recommended and I'll provide more info on them shortly.  I might be adding to the aftermarket list, we'll see how things go once I'm underway. 

 

That's it for now.  I'll be posting my first build update shortly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So my subject, as noted, will be a late war, carrier deployed Corsair.   By that point, the fleet was using the later F4U-1D version (with a few of the hot rod -4's starting to make it in theater as well).   The -1D was pretty much the ultimate WW2 version, with just a few modification from the original raised cockpit -1A variant.   These included provisions for 8 rocket projectiles, a 2nd pylon for either drop tanks or bombs, a frameless blown canopy and a few detail changes.  All were finished in the classic USN Gloss Sea Blue.   

 

What really got me sold on this project was when Fundekals released a very nice decal set of late vintage Corsairs.  In addition to the great looking decals, they provide a 49 page instruction manual that goes into great detail on various aspects of these aircraft.  Worth checking out over a cup of coffee some morning, go here:

 

http://fundekals.com/images/whistlingDeath/F4U_Inst_Final_7_30_18.pdf

 

At this point, I've narrowed my choices down to an FG-1D (Goodyear built version of the standard Corsair) assigned to VF-85 off the Shangri-La, late May, 1945 or an F4U-1D of VMF-511 off of the USS Block Island, circa July, 1945. Both have interesting carrier ID symbols and a few extra markings for a bit of color.  I still may change my mind, time will tell. 

 

Anyway, the -1D I'm building will be a later version, which means a few changes to the kit.  They are:

  • No walkways on the wings
  • cockpit flare gun deleted entirely
  • Delete upper wing ID light
  • Delete lower wing landing light
  • Add left side armor plate (installed to protect the pilots throttle arm) 
  • Add under seat armor plate (installed when the Corsair gradually started performing air to ground missions). 
  • Add left side windshield hand grip (anyone have a pic of this?)
  • Add a thin metal bracket on top of seat for seatbelts
  • Fill in cockpit vent in fuselage (this mod was only seen on post-war Corsairs, with maybe a few limited exceptions). 
  • Fill in wing fuel tank fill ports (these tanks were deemed an explosion hazard and were gradually eliminated from later production runs). 

On to the kit.  I'll be honest.  Over the last couple of years, I've kind of lost my modeling mojo.   I still completed a couple of projects but had to force myself to hit the work bench and build.  I'm writing it off to dealing with crappy products from the manufacturers I mentioned above.  I think they kind of sucked the modeling life out of me.  This time around, I'm a lot more enthusiastic.    If you guys need a jump start, get one of these kits.  

 

I started work on the forward cockpit bulkhead and rudder pedal assembly.  For a reference,  I've been using Dana Bell's Aircraft Pictorial on the Corsair (Vol 2).  This is a fantastic, reasonably priced book.  Dana goes into great detail on all the modifications done to the Corsair 1A and 1D versions and provides a large number of clear, useful photographs to aid the modeler.  It's a critical reference if you are building this model.   Looking at the pics in the book, I did note some details I can add to the Tamiya parts.  

 

For the rudder pedals, I added what I assume are pedal adjustment levers.  I also drilled out a couple of lightening holes in the base of the bulkhead.   I'll probably add some more detail to the rudder pedals, just trying to get a few more pics.    One note - my philosophy for stuff like this is to scratchbuild only what can be seen.  If it won't be visible in the completed model, I just ignore it.  If it will barely be visible in the completed model, I just approximate it so the cockpit looks sufficiently "busy".   These are a bit rough but from the angle you are viewing them in the completed model, they will look good.  Trust me on this....

IMG_0219

 

The hydraulic lines on the forward bulkhead are a good example.  The won't be seen easily when the cockpit is assembled.  Especially the lines under the instrument panel overhang as shown below. 

IMG_0220

 

Finally, a couple of pics of the sub-assembly dry fitted together. Seems to look nice and busy.  Still have more work to do...

IMG_0221

 

IMG_0222

 

Thanks for looking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice start John.

Your post made me laugh. It sounds like a mirror image of what I've been experiencing. I recently picked up the exact same kit, aftermarket, decals and reference book. I too am leaning toward a Block Island bird. It appears that the only differences so far are that you have started yours (I am finishing up a ZM F4) and you have much better photography skills than I. Good luck and have fun!!

v/r,

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, rjones726 said:

Nice start John.

Your post made me laugh. It sounds like a mirror image of what I've been experiencing. I recently picked up the exact same kit, aftermarket, decals and reference book. I too am leaning toward a Block Island bird. It appears that the only differences so far are that you have started yours (I am finishing up a ZM F4) and you have much better photography skills than I. Good luck and have fun!!

v/r,

Rob

How funny is that? Great minds think alike.    I hope you’ll post updates of your build.  

 

Don’t worry about me starting ahead of you, I build at a very slow pace.   Be lucky if I’m done by end of year! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too will be following with interest.

 

Having read the Fundekals 48-Page instructions, i found it interesting reading and it filled in a lot of missing gaps in my knowledge base on the -1D. The information about deleting the rocket stubs to save weight was a revelation to me, as were the over-painted white bands on the wing leading edges...

 

-d-

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Major progress (not)....  I scratchbuilt the pilot's left arm armor plating!   This was an field modification to late-war Corsairs (in addition to this, they also added a plate under the pilot's seat and removed a couple of armor plates protecting the oil tank aft of the engine).  I guess Marine pilots were so tough that they only needed one arm to fly their planes home.  Only Army Air Corp wimps need armor to protect their right arm I suppose.   I also drilled out a couple of holes while I was working on this part.   The fit of the seat frame has to be seen to be believed.   It's perfect! 

IMG_0223

 

In retrospect, I'm not sure I'm happy with the way this came out.  I might end up replacing this.   

 

That's my big update folks.  I'm off to the Granite State for the weekend, i'll try to do some building when I return.  

 

Thanks for looking! 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quick update -

 

I ended up replacing the left arm armor plate.  My first version didn't fully match the drawing in Dana Bell's book.   I re-did the plate, making it a bit wider at the top. Also had to cut out a notch at the bottom so the side console will fit.   No one will ever see the missing part, so I think I'm covered.   Still not the exact shape shown in the book but given that the plastic fuselage sidewalls are not scale thickness, it's the best I could do.  I also added the locking pins at the top of the seat frame (looking at the pic, I might end up replacing them, not sure).  In real life, the mechanics could quickly remove the pilot's seat, pull those two pins and then rotate the back armor plate 90 degrees to act as a work platform so they could service the radios in the aft fuselage (remember, the Corsair doesn't have a cockpit floor).  I drilled out a few holes in the bulkhead and I then shot the assembly with Model Master Interior Green (I added a few drops of other colors to bring it close to what I think Interior Green looks like).   Note on the pics below, I haven't started any weathering or detail painting yet, the pins and their restraining cables for the armor plate will look much better with some paint on them.     Regardless, I like the way things have come out so far. 

IMG_0229

 

Forward cockpit bulkhead, with the heating duct added. I also drilled out a couple of lightning holes.   I drybrushed a light interior green and silver mixture on the hydraulic lines to make them stand out a bit. Again, weathering is very much a work in progress.  Another thing to note, unlike earlier in the war, these aircraft didn't have many flight hours on them before they deployed on their assigned carriers.  Many times, brand new aircraft were winched aboard the carrier at a forward supply base (Ulithi Atoll) right before the task forced sailed for Japan.  They certainly weren't covered in filth like their land-based brothers so you need to have a minimalist approach to weathering.  

IMG_0227

 

Front bulkhead and the rudder pedal frame dry-fitted together.  Looks suitably "busy".  Will look even busier once all the other sub assemblies are added. 

IMG_0232

 

Next up is the pilot's seat.  One thing that I've always had a problem with is the way that some of the crappier manufactures mold bucket seats.   Most times, the sides of the seat are a scale 2 inches thick.  Pretty much looks like they were made from battleship armor plate.   If the real aircraft had seats like that, it'd never get off the ground.  Tamiya again demonstrates why they are the best out there.  The sidewalls are a perfect scale thickness (they might look a bit thick in the pics below but note that the top edge is simply flared out, just like the real thing).  No having to sand down the walls for an hour.  To the kit seat, I sanded off the molded on height adjustment lever and built a new one from styrene tubing and sprue.  I also added the underseat armor plate that was retrofitted to these late war Corsairs.  I added a few bolts here and there.  I could go much further but as I mentioned above, my outlook is to add details where they can be seen once the model is completed.  To be honest, I could have roughed in the armor plate and the end result would have been no different.    I also drilled out the tubing at the top of the seat and added a thin bracket that will be used to retain the shoulder harness (this was another late-war modification to the Corsair).  

IMG_0233

 

Anyway, that's my update for tonight, thanks for looking. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Maxim

Nice! Good progress and I like the additional armor plate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was able to get some work done on the Corsair.  Nice having a three day weekend!   

 

I painted the remaining cockpit assemblies and started putting them together.  Tamiya did a great job of structuring the building process.     I used a semi-gloss black for most of the cockpit consoles.   In a few places, I went with more of a satin finish.   I also used a few drops of white to tone things down.  If you look at color pics of the real thing, you will see that pretty much the only parts of the cockpit and instrument panel that are true black are the faces of the instruments themselves.   A black cockpit is one of the hardest things to pull of accurately IMO.  

 

I also went with the Barracuda cockpit placard decal set.  Close to 50 microscopic decals provided.   I was actually pretty nervous about doing this but so far, with the progress you'll see in the pics below, it's only taken me a couple of hours.  A good set of needle nosed locking tweezers is absolutely essential.  Just cut each decal with a bit of a "tab" so you can latch on with the tweezers and simply position the paper backing next to where the decal goes and use the tip of a new xacto knife to slide the little mini-decal into place.   I let them dry for a couple of minutes and then hit them with a bit of Microset.  Very little silvering, the decals actual confirmed over switches, etc.   Good stuff, I think it really enhances the cockpit.   

 

Anyway, here are some pictures of my progress.   I'm not completely done with the decals yet and as always, I have some touchup to do.  I used the hairspray method to replicate the chipped paint on the footrests, I'm pretty happy with the way they came out.   I also drilled out the lightening holes in the footrest support frames.   As noted, the Corsair has a pretty "busy" cockpit.  I've added a few more electrical lines, etc but have many more to do.  

IMG_0235

 

 

IMG_0237

 

IMG_0239

 

I also added paint chips to the pilot's seat using the hairspray method.   Again, I'm pretty pleased with the way it came out.  Much more effective than simply dry brushing silver over green. 

IMG_0240

 

 

IMG_0241

 

That's it for now.   As always, thanks for looking. 

Edited by John1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×