AFV Club 1/144th F4U-1/1A/1C/1D Corsair

Introduction:

If you’ve happened to read one of my previous reviews, you know they often start with my Saturday visit to Skyway Models, my local hobby shop, where I fail to have sufficient self control and buy, (I prefer rescue) a new kit—-again. Not this time: I went on Sunday instead. Sure enough, this new peanut scale Corsair from AFV Club caught my attention. Remembering how beautifully detailed the new AFV 1/144th Sea King is and what a blast it was to build, my knees grew week, I started to shake, and I reached for my wallet.

I wasn’t let down. Much like the Sea King, this is an awesome little kit with amazing inscribing and a degree of fidelity in the surface details that has to be examined closely to be appreciated. In addition to getting two complete models, the kit also provides an impressive assortment of canopy options (3) and a decal sheet featuring 8 schemes. This kit is going to be a winner.

Background:

The Vought F4U Corsair is an American fighter aircraft that saw service primarily in World War II and the Korean War. Demand for the aircraft soon overwhelmed Vought’s manufacturing capability resulting in production by Goodyear and Brewster. Goodyear-built Corsairs were designated FG while Brewster-built aircraft were F3A. From delivery of the prototype in 1940, to the final delivery to the French in 1953 the total production run comprised a total of 12,571 aircraft. F4U Corsairs were manufactured in 16 separate models from 1942 through 1953 during what became the longest production run of any piston-engined fighter in U.S. history.

The Corsair was designed as a carrier-based aircraft but it came to, and retained prominence, in its area of greatest deployment: land based use by the U.S. Marines. Due to logistical issues delivering the Corsair and initial problems with carrier landings, the dominant U.S. carrier based fighter aircraft was the Grumman F6F Hellcat, powered by the same Double Wasp engine utilized in the prototype Corsair.

The Corsair eventually served in the U.S. Navy as well as the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, Royal New Zealand Air Force, French Naval Aviation, and other air forces until the 1960s. Some Japanese pilots regarded it as the most formidable American fighter of World War II: an opinion substantiated by the Corsairs’ kill ratio of 11:1.

When the Corsair entered service in large numbers with the U.S. Navy in late 1944 and early 1945, it quickly became one of the most capable carrier-based fighter-bombers of World War II. The Corsair served almost exclusively as a fighter-bomber throughout the Korean War and during the French colonial wars in Indochina and Algeria.

Variants:

F4U-1 (Fleet Air Arm-Corsair Mk I):

First production version with the distinctive “birdcage” canopy. The Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm received 95 birdcage Corsairs.

F4U-1A (Fleet Air Arm-Corsair Mk II):

Mid-to-late production Corsairs incorporated a new, taller and wider canopy with only two frames along with a simplified windscreen. The designation F4U-1A was used to differentiate these Corsairs from earlier “birdcage” variants. 360 F4U-1As were delivered to the Fleet Air Arm. In British service, the aircraft had to be modified with “clipped” wings by removing 8in (200 mm) from each wingtip permitting stowage on British aircraft carriers.

F3A-1 and F3A-1D (Fleet Air Arm-Corsair Mk III):

The “F3A” denoted Brewster-built F4U-1’s. Labor troubles delayed production, and the Navy ordered the company’s contract terminated; they folded soon after. None of the Brewster-built Corsairs reached front line units. 430 Brewster Corsairs (334 F3A-1 and 96 F3A-1D) constituting more than half of Brewster’s total production run were delivered to the Fleet Air Arm.

FG-1A and FG-1D (Fleet Air Arm-Corsair Mk IV):

The “FG” denoted Goodyear-produced Corsairs built by, to the same specifications as Vought’s Corsairs. Goodyear began delivery of FG-1 Corsairs in April 1943.

F4U-1B:

This was an unofficial post-war designation used to identify F4U-1’s modified for FAA use.

F4U-1C:

Intended for ground-attack as well as fighter missions, the F4U-1C was similar to the F4U-1D except for its armament, which was changed from six machine to four 20millimeter (0.79 in) AN/M2 cannons. The additional weight of the Hispano cannon and ammunition affected flight performance, especially agility however, the aircraft was found to be especially potent in the ground attack role.

F4U-1D (Fleet Air Arm-Corsair Mk II):

Built in parallel with the F4U-1C with a new R-2800-8W Double Wasp engine equipped with water injection giving the aircraft a 250 hp (190 kW) boost in power and increasing speed from 417 mph (671 km/h) to 425 mph (684 km/h). Additional modifications included underwing armaments (rockets/bombs) and the ability to carry drop tanks. A single piece “blown” clear-view canopy was adopted as standard equipment for the -1D model and all later F4U production aircraft. 150 F4U-1D’s were delivered to the Fleet Air Arm.

F4U-4:

Last variant to see action during World War II: the F4U-4. The aircraft required an additional air scoop under the nose and the unarmored wing fuel tanks were removed for better maneuverability at the expense of range. The propeller was changed to a four-blade type increasing maximum speed to 448 miles per hour and climb to 4,500 ft/min. The “4-Hog” retained the original armament and had all the external load (i.e., drop tanks, bombs) capabilities of the F4U-1D.

(Edited from Wikipedia)


In the Box:

 

The end-opening box contains three sprues (x2) of blue injected styrene, one clear sprue with three canopies, and one decal sheet with markings for 8 aircraft. All are individually bagged.

 

 

 

 

All the parts have crisp, inscribed details. The fabric-covered control surfaces have ribbing that will look very convincing after painting. Likewise, the fabric-covered sections of the main wing are very well done. There is practically no flash and the sprue attach points on all the parts are small facilitating damage-free removal.

 

 

 

 

 

The kit has a conventional layout with the fuselage provided as left and right halves. Likewise, the wing is comprised of two, full-span upper and lower parts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adding to the crispness of the model are individual parts for the intakes on the leading edges of the wings. In addition, inserts allowing for the 6-gun or 4-cannon configuration are provided.

A single-piece horizontal stabilizer/elevator piece completes the empannage while the flaps are provided as individual pieces: very nice.

 

 

An amazingly detailed one-piece engine which, will look great after some careful paint work and washes, is provided along with the option of building the model with opened or closed cowl flaps.


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Two different propellers are provided for either the F4U-1/1A or F4U-1C/D. Crisply-molded landing gear parts are provided to build the model in-flight or with the gear extended.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The stores and armaments provided with the kit are truly impressive. In addition to a centerline drop tank, rockets, bombs, and two wing drop tanks are included.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All three canopy parts are crystal-clear with crisp, scale appropriate framing. Canopies are provided for building a birdcage F4U-1, an F4U-1A, or and an F4U-1C/D.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colors and Markings:

The decals, printed by AFV Club show crisp registration and appropriate color density. The yellow portions of the Royal New Zealand markings show a little bleed-through from the underlying blue. Markings are provided for 8 airframes as follows:

A) F4U-1, VF-17, USS Bunker Hill, July, 1943.

B) Corsair I (F4U-1), FAA 1834 Squadron, Royal Navy, Quonset Point, July, 1943.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C) F4U-1A, VMF-214, Solomon Islands, December,1943.

D) F4U-1A, Number 18 Squadron, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Guadalcanal, 1945.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

E) F4U-1C, VF-85, USS Shangri-la, March, 1945.

F) F4U-1C, VBF-99, USS Shangri-la, July, 1945.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

G) F4U-1D, VF-84, USS Bunker Hill, February, 1945.

H) F4U-1D, VF-88, USS Yorktown (CV-10), August, 1945.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion:

This is simply a beautiful kit full of crisp details. The straightforward engineering and conventional layout will make for a quick, pain-less build. Once built, you’ve got 8 different schemes, 3 different canopies, and sufficient underwing stores to configure the model as you desire. Highly Recommended!

Now go paint something!                                                                 Kit purchased by reviewer.

–John

More AFV Corsair pics below:

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