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Corsair Cockpits F4U-1 Family (ISBN: 978-0-578-37642-4)


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Corsair Cockpits F4U-1 Family (ISBN: 978-0-578-37642-4)

Rivet Counter Guide #1 by Dana Bell

 

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Most of you will have heard of the F4U-1 Corsair and its variants, and a great many of you will also have heard of Dana Bell - a well-known name in our hobby.  Vought developed the Corsair as a powerful single-engined fighter during WWII, with a distinctive gull-wing to accommodate its gigantic propeller, which itself was needed to harness the power from the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engine strapped into the cowling.  Dana is a self-confessed rivet-counter, but of the kind that is sharing, rather than point-scoring.  In fact, there’s a few paragraphs on the subject of rivets and their counting within the inside front cover, my favourite sentence being “The best of Rivet Counters are quick to offer support when asked, and slow to share unwelcome criticism”.  Sounds good to me!

 

Why are we talking about Rivet-Counters? Because this is the first in a hopefully long line of Rivet Counter Guides, and is clearly #1.  It deals solely with the cockpit of this fabulous and powerful aircraft, discussing the minutiae, and the variations that occurred within production blocks as improvements were made due to experience in the battle space, on deck and in the hangars where the type was used to great effect.  The book arrives in a softback card cover, with 72 glossy pages predominantly in black and white due to the period that the Corsair flew, but with spot colour here and there in drawings and to highlight certain sections of both the text and the photos.  The photos are also amongst some of the best lit and detailed of usually shadowy areas like cockpits that I have seen, with little left to the imagination by darkness or low resolution.

 

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Every complex mechanism goes through changes as it develops due to issues that only show themselves with use, and this book documents these changes relating to the cockpit only, which includes the canopy and the equipment that is within the area of the cockpit, such as items like the CO2 cylinder in the bowels of the cockpit floor that is used to deploy the landing gear in the event of a hydraulic failure, ensuring that the pilot has a second option to avoid a belly landing if he has suffered damage during the mission.  There was also an issue of pilots losing radio contact during landing, which was due to the canopy frame shorting out the system when pulled back during landing.  The simplest of fixes were used, cutting a semi-circular notch out of the trialling edge of the frame.  Many of the photos are annotated and drawn on with text and lines, indicating that they were used by the manufacturers to assist in the design of the alterations that they were working on, and giving insight into the process.

 

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Alongside these fantastic detail photographs are other candid photos of aircraft on the apron, in the field, after belly landings and even upside down on the deck of the USS Bunker Hill, which clearly shows the bombing window that allowed the pilot a view of his target, a feature that would otherwise be invisible in the shadows beneath the aircraft on the ground, or distant when photographed in-flight in most photos.

 

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Conclusion

The detail laid out in this book is incredible, and includes plenty to read alongside the useful photos, so if you are interested in the minutiae of the Corsair cockpit, this book is for you.  If you want to build accurate models of the gull-winged beast, this is also a great one-stop source for the aircraft’s cockpit, written for you by a renowned modeller, so you know that modellers were on the author’s mind during its writing.

 

What’s #2 going to be about? pre-war Curtis SOC Seagull colours and markings according to the author.

 

Very highly recommended. 

 

Dana has the book available in the US via Amazon US, and for international orders, you can use eBay’s International Shipping from the link below

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Review sample courtesy of Dana Bell, who is also a member of our forum.

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I picked this up as soon as Dana announced it. It's absolutely worth it for the details and information he's crammed into it. 

 

Carl

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