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1/18 Scale Blue Box F4U-1A Corsair Modification


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1 hour ago, Oldbaldguy said:

 I think a suitably subdued and maybe a little grimy yellow oil tank would look great.

And that was my plan.  But, on a whim I checked the color photos of the time capsule Corsair (KD431), and found the tank in a couple of them; it looks silver (grimy of course).  Should have never looked!  So now I am wringing my hands over something not worth wringing hands over.  I messaged a Corsair expert on LSP, he said he was going to check some sources tonight and report back.  I owe it to him to wait for his response.


The top assembly of the tank (at least the "preferred" part number - it was interchangeable with another part number built by Alcoa) has a Vought part number, and all its components have Vought part numbers even though the tank detail itself (minus the fittings and filler neck parts) is supplied by "Aluminum Goods" out of Manitowoc Wisc.  I suspect that in-house parts were more likely to be painted the interior paint scheme used at the time, whereas a supplied part might come finished already, perhaps with a different finish than an in-house part.  But that is conjecture.  I almost never find any finish codes or other finish info on Vought drawings at the part or assembly level, and even if I did, I would have to have a list of the codes and what they meant.  

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If you haven’t already, google Connecticut Corsair Restoration.  It’s a Connecticut state gov site aimed at kids that outlines a restoration that someone there is doing.  One of the photos shows a bunch of unrestored parts hanging from the ceiling, including a ratty drop tank and TWO unrestored oil tanks neither of which is yellow or silver although one still seems to be sporting a couple of stencils.  That’s the best I can do; you must work your magic for the rest.

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11 hours ago, Oldbaldguy said:

Connecticut Corsair Restoration


Dude - what a great find!  OK - these are F4U-4 parts it appears to me.  And, at least one of them looks like it is ZC yellow.  The other looks like it might also be, but much more stained and beat up.


My other source claims that either (ZC yellow or NMF) was probably the case.  I think I am going to make mine ZC yellow!  There, decision made.  Stay tuned. 

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Posted (edited)

Ok.  A couple of decisions have been made.  


One, I think I have a new subject:




This guy Roger Hedrick was also a fairly well known pilot from "Fighting 17" or the "Jolly Rogers", although not quite as famous as the superstars like Kepford and Blackburn.  But I have selected this aircraft, Bu No 18005 (line number 1308), primarily because it predates the incorporation point of pressurized ignition and water injection (line numbers 1551 and 1552), recognizable features that I will not have on my model.  Yet far enough along in the production line to be well beyond the first -1A out the door (line number 0950).  That, and it shows a respectable number of rising suns on it.  :)  Recall my original subject (Ira Kepford's number 29) is a later aircraft (line number 1636), which I now know had the pressurized ignition (with noticeably different distributor housings and ignition harness) and water injection (which added three new tanks and alot of lines in the engine accessories compartment).  My model has neither of these updates. 


The second decision (drumroll please) is the color of the oil tank.  After consultation with a couple of my LSP cohorts who know a thing or two about Corsairs, we conclude either ZC yellow or NMF would be appropriate, so it was left to me to do what I want.  Even though KD431 (the "time capsule fighter") has a NMF oil tank, mine now has a ZC yellow one.  Hope that's OK with you all - it's OK with me! 


This post also signifies the completion of the engine accessories compartment (save a small decal on the oil tank, which I am having some trouble with at the moment), but I am calling it done.  See:








So the difference between this and past photos is the oil tank and its lines and straps.  I worried about the straps, but turns out I had no reason to worry - they went in there no problem.  They are just .01 x .06 plastic strip, that's all.  And the lines are, as usual, silver solder.  So it's done.  The clean side of the tank, seen in the last photo, is where the decal will reside, in a couple days.  Not a big thing....


I am so proud to be able to display this to my LSP followers.  I set out to do this compartment almost at the beginning of this 3-year old build, as a scratch-build challenge.  Almost no Corsair builds have an open engine accessories compartment, and since it is so full of cool looking components, I got kind of hot for it and felt that at 1/18 scale it ought to be possible to do a convincing one.  The big challenges were accurate integration of all the parts, staying on top of the configuration, which changed alot from the birdcage versions into the -1A's, and sequencing - OMG sequencing!  Such that I could actually get to what I needed to without being blocked by something else in such a crowded compartment.  The Rhino digital mock-up helped a ton with the integration, and Aircorps Library helped a ton with configuration.  As for sequencing - well a whole lot of hand wringing and thinking on it at 3 AM after the trip to the loo.  And judicious use of 3D print helped a ton also - the parts enabled by Rhino and Tim Perry (tim@tjpgraphics.com).  The early discovery of digital modeling errors was scary, and led to redesign of some expensive 3D print supercharger ducts, but other surprises (all clashes of some sort) were limited and not hard to overcome.   


With the diaphragm permanently installed now, I can finish skinning the forward fuselage, which I will do next.  I will also, I think, see if I can make the (hopefully removable) cowl panel that covers the engine accessories compartment.  I have dark premonitions about it - is it going to match OK with adjacent panels, and will it lay down flush held down only by little magnets.  I have no idea, but I have read reports from Tamiya 1/32 F4U builders where they have had trouble with the cowl panels further forward (over the engine cylinders).  Not a good sign....  I am Jay - I must wring hands over something at all times.


Stay tuned for coming adventures!







Edited by JayW
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Where does one even begin to articulate how awesome this is Jay! What a moment! I still can't believe all the stuff you've managed to cram in there (not without its trials though) but man, how cool is this?!!!


It's been a real treat to watch this magic be created, thank you for taking the time and effort to document it for us :)


Looking forward to the skinning. It's funny that you're talking about magnets...... right now I'm doing the same thing with the bomb bay doors and it's certainly far from solved at this stage!



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Posted (edited)

Many irons are in the fire right now on the F4U.  Before I continue the belly skinning effort (which intimidates me), I need to get some 3D print parts in the pipeline.  Only one is going to be used soon (the shoulder detail), but to make the order worthwhile I want to include some others.  So the next order will be the shoulder, some cowl flap mechanism details (x 18), the tail wheel, and a locating tool for when I install the nose cowl.  This has all required Rhino modeling which is what I have been doing the last few days.  That plus some coordination with Airscale for some decaling he is so graciously helping me with.  You all will agree Peter is pretty awesome.  Descriptions follow.


Recall I discovered that my subject will not have the production "dead flap" as I once thought.  Instead it will have 360 degrees of cowl flaps.  This required me to create a diaphragm shoulder to replace the dead flap detail:




The top red part is the "dead flap" which will no longer be used, even though I have the 3D print part in my hot hands.  A waste...  The lower red part is the replacement shoulder detail, which I will send out to be 3D printed.  I am going to need that part pretty soon.  The silver shoulder parts, I already have.  I will need the shoulder parts pretty soon.


It will also not be very long before I (attempt to) install the nose cowl.  I have it already, 3D printed a few weeks ago:




Cool?  Note all the internal stiffening ribs, which will be quite visible, and which are used to attach the cowl to the engine cylinders, just like the real thing.  This will be a helluva adventure when the time comes.  I have been working on a fixture concept to accomplish this:








Probably confusing, but you will see once the process begins.  That orange part is going to be 3D printed and will go out with this next order.


After the nose cowl is installed, the cowl flap ring, cowl flap mechanisms, and the flaps themselves will be installed - probably an even bigger adventure than the nose cowl.  There will be a fixture for that too, but I probably will not need to 3D print any parts for it.  We'll see....  But I do want to 3D print some of the mechanism parts, which I have been designing in Rhino:




The mechanism:




I will 3D print a couple of those parts, and there will be 18 of each.  That will also go out with this next order. 


To help fill out that 3D print order, I decided to include the tail wheel.  Aft fuselage work is not that far away, and the tail landing gear will be a big deal.  Here is a Rhino model of the tail wheel, which tried my patience for the better part of two days:




I used this fantastic drawing to design the Rhino part:




That is the land wheel/tire, as opposed to the much smaller (and solid I think) combo used on carrier decks.  I think y'all will like it.  That tire has a realistic flat, tilted about 3 deg, so I can have it in a swiveled orientation.  It will gather dust a while when I get it, but that's OK! 


In addition to some 3D printing needs, I am anticipating exterior decal needs before too long.  Once I get the skinning finished on the forward fuselage, create a big cowling over the engine accessories compartment (yikes!), and get the shoulder details installed, it might be good to apply the tri-color Navy top coat, and maybe decals.  It took some searching, but I found the decal drawing:




And I managed to design the skull & crossbones that all VF-17 aircraft sported:





I am going to get some help from Airscale on some of the decals, including the skull & crossbones.  But most of them can be done via my current method using my inkjet printer and decal paper and the Testors decal program.  I will be working with Peter for a while in the short term to get all that sorted out. 


Ok, must get that 3DP order out, get some decal data to Peter, and then quit stalling and tackle that skinning!  Anticipate slowing down some, as spring as sprung and many activities compete for our time.  Keep watching this space - pretty exciting things cometh.     








Edited by JayW
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2 minutes ago, Thunnus said:

Great stuff Jay!  Have you thought about masks instead of decals for the larger markings?


Hi John - just saw your reply.  I do plan to use masks for the stars and bars.  Is that what you mean?  Have used Maketar before with good results.  The numbers - I have created my own masking in the past with good results.  They will be pretty easy - if I stick with the current subject (#17).  


The next largest marking would be the skull and cross-bones, which I am thinking decal at the moment.  It's a half inch by a half inch.  All the rest are pretty small, with small writing.

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6 minutes ago, JayW said:


Hi John - just saw your reply.  I do plan to use masks for the stars and bars.  Is that what you mean?  Have used Maketar before with good results.  The numbers - I have created my own masking in the past with good results.  They will be pretty easy - if I stick with the current subject (#17).  


The next largest marking would be the skull and cross-bones, which I am thinking decal at the moment.  It's a half inch by a half inch.  All the rest are pretty small, with small writing.

Yes, masks for the stars and bars and "17".  Wasn't sure how big the skull and crossbones would be but 1/2" by 1/2" would probably be at the limit of a custom mask so a decal is probably more of a sure thing. Before you submit an order to Airscale, I can do a small test, cutting a mask for the skull at 1/2" x 1/2". 

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51 minutes ago, Thunnus said:

I can do a small test, cutting a mask for the skull at 1/2" x 1/2". 


Thanks John!  Please let me know how this goes!  Interested seeing how you do it.  Will you just use the pic I provided in the previous post? 


BTW, I could not find a good picture of the actual skull/crossbones that VF 17 used.  Just shots from afar.  Far as I can tell from period photos, they all looked to have the exact same one (no variations).  So the unit must have had a mask or something that was used over and over.  No, I just searched the web for something that looked close.  VF-17 aficionados might could tell the difference....  I'll bet the Tamiya decal set has a good one in 1/32, but I am afraid to reproduce it and scale up to 1/18 would make it too fuzzy.  If you know of a better way, let me know.

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Getting ahead of myself a bit here - work on the tail landing gear is some weeks away at least.  But I did want to fill out my 3D print order with it.  It has come to my attention that the wheel I modeled in Rhino might not be accurate.  And I think that is right.  look at this photo, from the KD431 walk-around on LSP:




I have some reason to believe that is an authentic Vought tail wheel and not some unauthorized replacement.  Look at the six thin ribs, and compare to what i had modeled here:




OK I think the six holes are wrong.  So I Rhino modeled two different wheel/tire combos - one with the thin ribs, and one with the dust covers:






I could go either way.  I see period photos where it appears the dust covers are in place, and also not in place.  Either way, I am going to have to somehow add in the tube stem, and if I go with covers, I will drill a hole in one side to allow for same.  


OK, on to bigger fish!

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