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Vought F4U-1A Corsair - 1:72 Revell


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Vought F4U-1A Corsair

1:72 Revell


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The legendary Chance Vought Corsair was one of the most effective combat aircraft to see service during the Second World War. Famous for its 11:1 kill ratio in the hands of US Navy pilots, the Corsair was also notable for achieving a longer production run than any other piston-engined fighter in US history. For best performance, the Corsair was given the largest engine then available: the Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp. This 18-cylinder, 46 litre monster drove a huge three-bladed prop that was almost 14 feet across. In order to ensure the prop didn't strike the ground on take-off or landing, the wings had to be given their characteristic inverted gull shape.

Initial trials of the aircraft revealed an unpleasant stall characteristic that would lead to one wing dropping suddenly. This had to be fixed with a small root mounted stall strip. The set-back cockpit, required due to the fuel tanks fitted in the forward fuselage, 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, the Corsair was used successfully as a land-based fighter and was used in large numbers by the US Marines. A number of aces got their kills in the Corsair, and many Japanese pilots considered it to be the most capable US-built fighter of the War.

Due to its excellent low-level performance, the Corsair was also used for ground attack, firing unguided rockets and bombs from its wing pylons. The Royal Navy also used the Corsair from 1943, and despite its unforgiving deck handling characteristics it found favour with pilots. 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.

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I think Revell's new Corsair is the first all-new 1:72 Aircraft from the home of the end-opening box since the Ju-88 hit the shelves a couple of years ago. Inside the small blue box are four sprues of white plastic, a single sprue of clear parts and the usual decal sheet and instructions. The colour of the plastic will be off-putting for some, but you can't deny that Revell have a rich history of using any colour other than grey if they can get away with it. If only they applied the same policy to the printing of their instruction books! Notwithstanding the dazzling albedo of the plastic, the parts are crisply moulded with very fine, engraved panel lines and plenty of detail. In common with other recent kits from Revell, there are tiny touches of flash here and there, but nothing too much to worry about. The layout of the sprues suggests that this kit has been designed to allow a number of different versions to be squeezed from the basic moulds. Although I dont know which other versions Revell are planning at this point in time, a birdcage canopy and an FAA clipped wing version are both possibilities.

As usual, construction starts with the cockpit, where things get off to a good, well-detailed start. evell have laid on a real treat here. No fewer than ten parts make up this sub-assembly and each one is beautifully moulded. Detail on parts such as the side consoles and instrument panel is exquisite. The control column and rudder pedals are also nicely represented, as is the pilot's seat. A set of decals is provided to represent the seat harnesses too.

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The breakdown of the fuselage is quite complex, so a little care will have to be taken to make sure that everything lines up nicely and there arent any unsightly gaps or smudges of glue to spoil things. The wings are also quite complex, with separately moulded wingtips and fairings for the .50 cal machine guns and the supercharger intercooler intakes. The lower wing is moulded as a single span though, so achieving the characteristic anhedral angle won't be a problem. Landing flaps and ailerons are moulded as part of the upper wing. The tail planes and elevators are moulded as solid parts too, while the rudder is moulded separately.

The engine is very nicely represented, with the two rows of cylinders moulded separately for maximum detail. The hydraulically operated cowling can be fitted in closed or open positions too. The fixed parts of the cowling have been moulded in three parts, which adds to the complexity but allows for a higher degree of accuracy. The exhaust pipes are also moulded separately, and although they look rather excellent for injection moulded items, I'm sure some even more excellent resin replacements will be available at some point.

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Once the major parts of the airframe have been assembled, attention turns to the undercarriage. The detail-fest continues here, with structures moulded into both the main and tail landing gear bays and complex and accurate landing gear legs. The inner hubs are moulded separately to the tyres, which means the spoked wheels have accurate depth (as well as being a little bit easier to paint). The landing gear bay doors are paper-thin, with nice moulded detail on the inner surfaces. They are moulded in the closed position, which is great if you want to build your model gear-up, but must be split if you wish to build it gear-down. Underwing ordnance is limited to a couple of drop tanks. The transparent parts are thin and clear, but there is a fair bit of distortion present. I've seen a lot worse in this scale, but I've also seen better (including from Revell themselves)

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Marking options are included for two aircraft:
Vought F4U-1A Corsair, VMF-214 Squadron, US Marine Corps, Vella Lavella, Solomon Islands, December 1943; and
Vought F4U-1A Corsair, VMF-17 Squadron, US Navy, Bougainville, Solomon Islands, February 1944; and
The decals themselves have been produced to a high standard. They appear to be perfectly in register, detail is very sharp and they look nice and thin on the sheet. A selection of stencils is included too.

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Conclusion

Although we already have a number of decent kits of the Corsair available in this scale, this is still a very welcome kit. It has been produced to a high standard, and although the breakdown of parts is fairly complex, it should be possible to build a very detailed kit straight from the box. The kit has clearly been designed to allow other variants to be produced from the same basic sprues, and hopefully it won't be long before we see one or more of these appear. Recommended.

Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit logo-revell-2009.gif t_logo-a.png or facebook.gif

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  • 2 weeks later...

Paul,

Thanks for posting the review. I bought a couple of these when they first came out, intending to throw the first one together and use the second to begin a series of Corsair builds. Well, I built the first one (pic below) but have progressed no further than that. I have some views on this kit, which may be of interest more widely.

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Pros:

1) Very fine surface detail

2) Detailed engine / cowling (which is properly meaty in diameter, unlike Academy / Hasegawa) and cockpit

3) Fantastic decals (colour density, thinness, ease of use, etc.)

4) In the main, good fit

5) Price!

Cons:

1) White plastic - acrylics don't like it. If I do another, it'll put a thin coat of grey primer on first.

2) Accuracy:

- Tailplanes are too great in chord and lacking in taper. They look noticeably stubby.

- Rear fuselage appears to be too long (~3mm) compared to plans in the relevant Aircraft of the Aces profile, the Tamiya and Academy kits.

- The kit has the two inner wing pylons of the F4U-1D, not the centre line pylon of the F4U-1A. Unfortunately, there is a tear drop shaped recess in the rear of the oil cooler inserts to take the pylongs. Filling these is a pain.

- Propeller blades have a 'cricket bat' shaped profile, instead of a 'baseball-bat' shape.

3) 'Fiddliness' of build. For example, there are 9 pieces for the wing? Why?

4) Awkward joint lines. Wingtip joints in the middle of a fabric part of the wing. Make sure you line them up properly coz cleaning up afterwards is difficult. Also wingtip joint forms outer edge of aileron hinge. Remember Pro point 1) above? Well, you will have inconsistent hinge line depth when you add the wingtips, so this needs to be rectified.

5) Some difficulties in fit:

- I couldn't make the cowling ring match up with the two cowling sides, leading to some more filling and sanding. This may have been my klutziness, but forewarned is forearmed.

- Main gear. The lack of positive placement of the support stays was a problem for me, particularly as these are added 'blind' with the wings together. I could not find a position in which, when they were mated with the gear legs, gave the correct 90deg alignment for the latter. I would honestly value some guidance here!

So, imho, this is not the ultimate Corsair kit, which was a big disappointment to me (I like the bent wing bird). I am still struggling to see who the target market is. Little Johan won't care about the shape, but he may wish an easy build. This ain't. Conversely, the connoisseur will not care if he has to put a bit of care in, but he is likely to care about the dimensional inaccuracies. So, in this respect, the kit falls between 2 stools a bit.

Thoughts?

regards,

Martin

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Thanks for those insights Martin. As you say, fore warned is fore armed.

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Interesting insights, and they have put me off buying one to be honest.

I've got the Tamiya kit sitting on the shelf, and by all accounts it's miles above the new Revell. I had hoped Revell would do an Airfix with this one: Less detail than the Tamigawa competition but attractively priced and buildable with a minimum of fuss. This seems to fail in that regard.

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Do Tamiya do a 1/72 kit?

http://modelingmadness.com/scott/allies/previews/tamiya/60775.htm

http://www.scalemates.com/products/product.php?id=130662

These links are for the F4U-1A (subject of this Revell review). Tamiya also make some other marks, including a birdcage. The Tamiya F4U-4B kit, however, is an Italeri rebox.

Cheers,

Bill

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  • 2 weeks later...

Having looked at the sprues as well as photos of the finished model, i think it looks generally OK, the main exception being the "Buck Toothed" cowling flaps which were also a problem on the Revell P-47D (why i don't know).

As to the issue of fuselage length, i recall comparing the Academy fuselage to the 72nd scale drawings in the detail and scale book and it was actually short, so i sawed the rear fuselage apart to lengthen it to match the drawings. Then of course the Tamiya kit came out and i forgot all about it.

The engineering of the wingtips is quite puzzling. really no reason at all to go that way, even if one desired to do a FAA clipped wing variant. It creates more problems than it solves.

Agreed about the taper on the tailplanes; not quite enough. i wonder if tailplanes from the Academy or Hasegawa kits could be substituted.....?

i will say the clear parts appear to be thinner than the Tamiya ones and the framing on the sliding section appears to be better than that found on the Tamiya kit.

Finally, i too was hoping this kit would be a better effort. It just seems needlessly complicated in some ways. However the decal sheet is very complete and includes a lot of stuff most other kit makers leave out (i.e., Tamiya).

Sort of like the story of the Martin Mauler. It was a generally good aeroplane with just one big problem. The Douglas AD Skyraider also existed and it was just better at the same mission.

david

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  • 2 weeks later...

Vice review. my copy got a moulding flaw on the upper wings, nothing serious but a light sinkhole is running from the flaps to the ailerons. Its hard to see on the white plastic, be prepared.

Eduard has a "Zoom" set out for the Tamiya corsair, i wonder if this will fit in this cockpit.The PE seat will look much better than the Revell "seat"

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