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Julien

Vought F4U Corsair (AR14406) - 1:144 AFV Club via Pocketbond

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Vought F4U Corsair (AR14406)

1:144 AFV Club via Pocketbond

 

f401.JPG

 

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 highly demanding specification that required not only high speed, but great load carrying capability, combined with 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. The aircraft had an inverted gull shaped wing 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; initial trials revealed an unpleasant stall characteristic that would lead to one wing dropping suddenly, which was 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 Japanese pilots made them easy targets. Because the Corsair was fast at low level it was also used for ground attack, using unguided rockets, and bombs. The Royal Navy 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. 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

In what seems to be an extension of their Mini aircraft series is seems AFV club are expanding their 1/144 scale kits (They previously only did P-40 kits in this scale).  Inside the box there is enough plastic and decals to build two aircraft. The plastic is a dark blue colour presumably aimed for those who don't want to paint the kit. There are a selection of canopies for the different variants in the kit. All parts are well moulded, there is no visible flash, and there are fine engraved panel lines. The ribbing on the wings is not overdone for the scale.  The one part cockpit and seat is put into the main fuselage and this is then closed up, the headrest part is then put on behind the cockpit. For the wings care must be taken to open up the right holes depending on the variant being modelled and the underwing armament to be used. The wings can then be glued together. The intakes and gun parts are then attached, again with care needed to select the right parts. For the front of the aircraft the modeller has the options of open, or closed cowl flaps to fit over the engine. Two different propellers are provided depending on the variant chosen.  The landing gear can then be added with a choice of ground or flying position available for the tail wheel part.  For under the wings a choice of rocket, bombs and fuel tanks are provided. Lastly the correct canopy for the variant being modelled is added.

 

f402.JPG

 

f403.JPG

 

f404.JPG

 

Markings

There is a fairly comprehensive decal sheet which looks to be printed in house. The colours appear good, and everything seems to be in register. From the box you can build two of eight markings;

 

F4U-1 VF-17, USS Bunker Hill, July 1943

F4U-1 No. 1834 Sqn, Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, Quonset Point, July 1943

F4U-1A VMF-214, Solomon Islands, Dec 1943

F4U-1A No. 18 Sqn Royal New Zealand Air Force, Guadalcanal 1945

F4U-1C VF-85, USS Shangri-La, March 1945

F4U-1C VBF-99, USS Shangri-La, March 1945

F4U-1D VF-84, USS Bunker Hill, Feb 1945

F4U-1D VBF-88, USS Yorktown, Aug 1945

 

f405.JPG

 

f406.JPG

 

 

Conclusion

It is good to see more kits for those modelling in the smaller scale, these are quality kits and come highly recommended.

 

 

 

Review sample courtesy of


logo.gifUK Distributors for logo.gif

 

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Such a shame they have made the common mistake of depicting RNZAF roundels as pale blue not the correct dark blue. I'd have half a dozen if I can find replacements.

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Oh I 'm gonna have to get me one of these since I want to model the Corsair in every scale available. I also love the bad English on the box. "Four configurations can choose" :D 

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