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Build report: Tamiya’s 1/48 F4U-1D

Tamiya’s 1/48 Corsair F4U-1DDrew Hatch continues his quest to become the world’s most prolific builder of Corsairs. To me it seems almost to have become an obsession for him. And I completely understand it- I’m the same way about Spitfires! Let’s see what secrets he reveals with this build of the famous bent-wing fighter.

The F4U Corsair has been a famed aircraft from its concept. The pilots that flew them swore they were the best. I became fond of the Corsair as a child watching the hit TV show “Black Sheep Squadron.” As I grew older, I learned more about the Corsair and the role it played in the Pacific war. While in the military, I learned a fair amount about the Corsairs exploits as a dogfighter and a fighter-bomber. Soon there after I became infatuated with the Corsair and have been researching it ever since. I have a nice collection of unbuilt and finished Corsair kits. But, enough about me, how about building one?

A funny thing happened on the way to my bench. Being involved in a Secret Santa group build, a 1/48 Tamiya F4U-1D Corsair kit just happened to arrive under the tree. (See Drew Hatch and his Corsair kit. ) Well, I guess we just have to rush off and build it then don’t we?

Having a plethora (even a veritable cornucopia, eh? 🙂 Ed.) of aftermarket goodies for this kit in hand (guess how many kits I have? LOL) I was well prepared to tackle this gem with no problem. Seeing as I was on holidays at the time, I wanted to have a simple finish – overall dark sea blue. I have loads of markings for Corsairs, but I chose to build this one as a Corsair from VBF-6 aboard the USS Hancock in March 1945 with the markings included in the kit.

The Cockpit
Construction started with the typical cockpit assembly. I added Eduard’s color etch set and placards set to enhance the cockpit. I avoid aftermarket resin items as it is just not worth the extra work for a minimal increase in detail. After painting the cockpit green using Xtra Color Acrylix, and the side consoles black, I gave the entire cockpit a wash of Vandyke brown oils. I then dry brushed the consoles with gunship gray, the remaining cockpit with yellow zinc chromate and picked out details where appropriate. Applying the pre-colored etch was straight forward. They really make the cockpit. Cheap, easy and fast – three things that modelers like.

Thwe cockpit Tamiya’s 1/48 Corsair F4U-1D, with Eduard’s detail kit drew_tamiya_corsair_bldrpt-2.JPG drew_tamiya_corsair_bldrpt-6.JPG
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The Wings
Once the cockpit was finished I assembled the fuselage and prepared for the wings. I assemble the extended wings differently from the kit instructions. Getting the inner and outer wing panels to line up right can be a bit of a bear. So I came up with an assembly sequence that solves any problems (for me anyway). First, assemble the inner wing halves as instructed while adding the wing ribs (B27 & B8) with parts B11 & B25 installed also. Now, here’s the tricky part, glue the outer wing ribs (B9 & B26) to the upper outer wing panel. Once dry, add the outer upper wing panel to the top of the inner wing assembly. Pay careful attention to the flush fit and dihedral as the glue sets. Then I add the lower outer wing panels making them as flush as possible making adjustments as needed. This eliminates any step at the wing fold. The rest of the assembly is straight forward.

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Painting and Finishing
I painted the model with Extra Color Acrylix Dark Sea blue. It’s a gloss right out of the bottle eliminating the need for a Future coat. Once that was dry, I added the markings. Tamiya decals are notoriously thick, but with a little persuasion, they work just fine. I dip their decals in hot water. Yes, hot! That softens the decal film and thick inks allowing them to conform to the surface irregularities nicely. After a light brushing with micro sol, they conformed beautifully. Once the decals dried for a week, I gave the whole model a coat of clear satin. This gives the model a slightly ‘worn’ look and prepares it for weathering. My favorite weapon is a silver Prizmicolor pencil. I chipped and picked away at the normal areas with high wear and tear. Then I gave select areas a streak wash of black oils to darken and enhance the overall finish. I finished off with the application of some pigments and pastel chalks in select areas followed by a final shot of clear satin to blend it all back in. Lastly, I added a fuel stain running down forward fuselage. After I added the landing gear, bay doors and prop I wired the antenna with drops of white glue painted white for the insulators. It turned out pretty good overall. Now where’s that research on Iwo Jima Corsairs?

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Drew Hatch has been an avid modeler since he was a teenager. Taking a modeling hiatus while flying in the Canadian Armed Forces, he picked it up again when he met his wife. They’ve been married ten wonderful years. Drew’s interests are naval and Canadian aviation, with an emphasis on the Pacific War. (Along with the slight detour into N. Africa during WWII.)