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Corsair Mk.III (80396) 1:48 Hobby Boss via Creative Models Ltd The Corsair is an iconic fighter aircraft that had speed agility and an unusual look to recommend it to pilots, but its gestation was far from easy due to the optimistic and highly demanding specification that required not only high speed but great war-load carrying capability and a low stall speed to make it suitable for carrier operations. It was given the largest engine then available in the shape of the Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp radial engine, which could drive a huge three bladed prop that was almost 14 feet across. This meant that the wings had to be given an inverted gull shape so that the prop didn't strike the ground on take-off or landing. It had already proved itself capable before the United States entered WWII, being the first US single-engined aircraft to exceed 400mph. Concerns about armament led to the cowling guns being deleted and three .50cal machines guns being installed in each wing, which displaced the fuel tanks into the fuselage ahead of the cockpit, giving the aircraft its distinctive set-back appearance. By 1941 it was in production and had been allocated the name Corsair, but initial trials revealed an unpleasant stall characteristic that would lead to one wing dropping suddenly, which had to be fixed with a small root mounted stall strip. The set-back cockpit also gave poor forward visibility on landing and take-off, with oil from the engine further obscuring the view. The top cowling flaps were replaced with a fixed panel, and the landing gear struts re-tuned, but this delayed its use as a carrier borne fighter until 1944. Despite these set-backs it was used successfully as a land-based fighter, and was used in large numbers by the US Marines to good effect. A number of aces got their kills in the Corsair, which was superior to the Zero, which coupled with the pilots' experience over the poorly trained rookie Japanese pilots made them easy targets. Because the Corsair was fast at low level it was also used for ground attack, firing unguided rockets and bombs on wing pylons. The Royal Navy also used the Corsair from 1943, putting it into use immediately, as it was far superior to their existing options, and despite its unforgiving deck handling characteristics it found favour with pilots. The Mk.III was a Brewster-built F4U-1, who were having such production issues that their contract was rescinded and they went bankrupt soon after. The aircraft were prone to shedding their wings, so various restrictions were put in place to prevent this. After WWII it went on to serve in many conflicts, with the production line finally closing in 1953, more than 10 years after it opened. As a testament to its longevity and usefulness, some foreign operators still had Corsairs in service in the 1970s! The Kit This kit is most definitely one of Hobby Boss's more upmarket kits, and is well detailed throughout. Inside the top-opening box are 11 sprues of varying size in mid-grey styrene, a clear sprue and a reasonably sized decal sheet. On initial release there was discussion over the cowling, which appears to have an oversized opening at the front, and a misshapen auxiliary chin-intake as a result. This shouldn't be a major problem for most builders, but if you are striving for accuracy, there is a resin replacement in the wings from True Details that will address this issue, and those should still be available. This version of the Corsair is the final mark used in WWII, but an early block, although it has the by now familiar Malcolm type blown hood, rather than the claustrophobic bird-cage hood originally used in earlier versions. Construction is pretty straight forward, complicated only by the decision whether to fold the wings or not. The cockpit is built up as a "tub" with oval bulkheads at each end and a two-layer floor that exposes some of the control lines through a central hole. Side consoles and the main instrument panel are supplied with raised and recessed details, plus decals in black and white if you don't feel up to painting them, or using Airscale individual instrument decals on the build. Rudder pedals, trim wheel, fire extinguisher and control column make for a nicely detailed interior. The big P&W engine is well stocked with parts, and depicts both rows of cylinders, as well as the complex spaghetti-like exhaust stacks, which eventually wend their way out to the two exits on the side of the fuselage. There is also a reproduction of the reduction gear bell-housing with a ring for the wiring harness, although the wiring itself is absent in this kit. A little research and some lead wire will soon put that right though, and you will have a handsome looking block to put in the aircraft. The instructions then have you make up the inner wing panels and tail wheel, In preparation for closing the fuselage. The lower inner wing has the wing-fold ribs, intake backing bay and a couple of holes drilled out, then the short upper panels are dropped into place, with separate flaps, intake fairings and the wingfold mechanism (if used) together with support rods. Before closing up the fuselage, a pair of cockpit sidewall inserts are fitted inside the fuselage, and the large tail-wheel is inserted, then the arrestor hook bay is built up and glued in behind the tail wheel. Finally, the rear stub of the engine is trapped between the two halves, then the lower wing, cowling and cooling flaps, plus the empennage are assembled and fitted, which allows offsetting of the flying surfaces if you wish, although you would need to extend or contract the actuator arms accordingly. The outer wing panels themselves have their gun bays included, which can be modelled open or closed, with a boxed in bay and lengths of .50cal ammo supplied with the guns. You'll need to close them up if you're modelling the aircraft with its wings folded, and with that in mind, a full set of covers are included. The wing-fold ribs hide the interior of the wing, and you are supposed to be able to slot them together whether you are building the kit with folded or unfolded wings. Some test fitting of the straight wings would be a wise move to reduce the chances of a step, and I would definitely consider attaching the inner and outer panels in advance of closing up the wing parts. The ailerons are separate, as are the outer flap sections, both of which are made from top and bottom halves and can be posed again. Small clear wingtip lights are added to each tip as well as the root, and a pitot probe is inserted into a slot in the port wingtip. The kit is designed to be built with the wheels down, so all of the gear bay doors are engineered to fit the open bays, but if you're after a wheels-up look, test fitting is the way to go. The main gear legs are the central parts and have separate oleo-scissors, and a large A-frame retraction jack that beefs up the gear to stand the rigors of deck landings. The two small "knee-pad" bay doors attach to the front of the struts, and should be painted underside colour on the outside, and primer on the inside. The wheels are in two halves, and show a good level of detail, including circumferential treads on the tyres, and nicely moulded spokes on the outer hubs. There is no flat-spot on the tyres, so a sanding stick will be needed if you prefer them to show the effect of the aircraft’s weight. The canopy is in two parts, with a separate windscreen. It is shown modelled closed, but I'm sure it will be possible to pose the blown "Malcolm" style hood in the open position. Apart from a few aerials, the remaining parts are weapons to load your Corsair up with for a more aggressive look to the finished model. There are eight HVAR unguided rockets that were used to great effect at the end of the war, which have separate mounts, and will just need actuators made from wire to finish them off. The underwing pylons have two large auxiliary fuel tanks attached, and these have separate sway brace and filler/overflow hose parts to give them a little extra interest. There are demarcations for the yellow tips moulded into the blades though, which although handy for the novice isn't really very accurate, so they will need to be filled if you can’t live with them. Markings There are two decal schemes included on the sheet, both of which are British machines for obvious reasons, but different enough to pick a favourite from. The options are as follows: JS479/Q-BH2 of 718 Sqn. DAA Ballyhalbert, 1945 JS636/Y2F Naval Air Sqn. 759 Fleet Air Arm, 1944-45 The red seems a little pink in this scan, but to the eye it is more red. A quick Google shows that both these decal options were actually Mk.II airframes, with the distinctive cross-rail on the canopy. Several sources show them as such, so I suspect that Hobby Boss have dropped a clanger here, possibly getting the II and III mixed up and providing the wrong canopy as a result – the boxtop has the cross-rail, which backs that hypothesis up a little. Check your references, and if you agree and it bothers you, you’ll need to resort to aftermarket decals and some canopy surgery. The second option is announced to by “Royal Vavy”, but the decals use an N, so have a chuckle and move on. Unusually, the yellow prop tips are included on the decal sheet, which unless backed by a coat of white paint will probably look quite dull over a black prop, so you'll need to paint a white background on the tips, and it would seem a waste of effort to not then overspray the area with yellow, rendering the decals redundant. The decals are cleanly printed, in good register, and seem to have good colour density. Conclusion With the exception of the too-wide cowling opening this is a really nice kit from a builder's point of view that's packed with detail, and should build into a good-looking model. If you can live with the cowling issue, it will look great out of the box, otherwise, you'll doubtless need to pick up the aftermarket replacement, and maybe some aftermarket decals too if you’re interested. Overall, it's a nicely done kit, and should provide hours of entertainment for your average modeller, with the above-mentioned caveats. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
Hello everybody... Id like to present my 3rd and final build from the Corsair Single type group build. It is “White 14” of VMF-214 “Swashbuckler’s” June 1943. I tried to get the fading varied across the fuselage. I used the Tamiya 1/72 Birdcage boxing for the build with no add ons. I tried to show an aircraft during a transitional phase with the national markings, thus the three different types. And a photo with a -1A of VMF-214 “BlackSheep” flown by Gregory Boyington. Please feel free to ask questions, post comments, add thoughts. If you would like to take a look at the build I've added a link. Dennis