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Build report: Super-detailing Tamiya’s 1/48 F4U-1A Corsair

bldrpt_phudson_tamiya_f4u1a-main.jpgNew contributor Parker Ewing submitted this great build report on his efforts super detailing Tamiya’s F4U-1A Corsair with an Aires detail set. Though it presented some challenges, Parker’s work shows persistence pays off- in this case with one fabulous looking Corsair!

This is the Tamiya 1/48 Corsair. What more can be said about this kit? It’s vintage Tamiya. Good fit, good detail, average decals. Being afflicted with AMS (advanced modelers syndrome), I decided to go full tilt with aftermarket stuff. I got the Aires full detail set, CMK control surfaces, and True Detail wheels. The latter two are highly effective pieces that cost very little. They fit perfectly. The grooves in the control surfaces are curved, allowing for a very realistic connection. It would be difficult and time consuming to scratch build that….at least for me.

The Aires set is a bit frustrating. The positive is that the detail is simply unmatched. You have to see it to appreciate it. However, it’s the fit will put you on your knees, repenting from anger, wondering how pieces of plastic could bring you to such a point. I started with the cockpit. The short version is that it defeated me. I sanded it to transparency, thinned the fuselage…etc, but it just wouldn’t go.

bldrpt_phudson_tamiya_f4u1a-1.jpg I ended up using the kit cockpit with an Ultracast seat, and salvaged what I could from the Aires set. The wing guns were better. Tight fit, but they went in. After reading horror stories on the wheel wells, I didn’t have the stomach to try it, and built them OOB. They’re hard to see anyway. The focus of the entire detail set for me was the engine. After a lot of fighting (and repenting), I got it pretty well set up. At the end of the day, for that kind of money, I’d like it to fit better. (I will say though my experience with their new Quickboost line has been much better.)

bldrpt_phudson_tamiya_f4u1a-2.jpgPainting to me is the most fun part. I use a Sotar 20/20 for gloss, flats, and large surfaces, and an Iwata Custom Micron for detail work. The base paint was Gunze acrylics thinned about 50-60% with their thinner. I’m now avoiding gloss coats altogether, but at the time I built this one, I was using straight future for a gloss coat. Once the decals (another forgotten aftermarket piece I had) were on, I post shaded with the Micron, using Tamiya smoke thinned about 10-1 with rubbing alcohol. Gotta be careful with this technique. A little bit can go a long way….and quickly. But the subtlety is nice. The chipping was done by using a wire dipped in silver paint and lighted touched onto the surface. Again, subtlety and the less-is-more-theory is the order of the day.

bldrpt_phudson_tamiya_f4u1a-3.jpgFinally, I finished it off with Pollyscale flat, the best stuff out there, I think. It needs some TLC before spraying though. Many have complained about it clumping up when sprayed. I had the same problem until I started thinning it by 50% with rubbing alcohol and straining it with my wife’s stolen panty hose.

So there you go…. Mistakes and regrets are there, but I’m basically happy with it. With my skills hopefully improved a few years later now, I wouldn’t mind having another go at the Aires set again, but I’m holding out for that Hasegawa 32nd scale Corsair!

I just discovered this site’s forum recently, so I thought I’d introduce myself along with a build review. I’m 39 years old and blessed with a wonderful wife and three wild little boys. I became a Christian at 21 but didn’t discover modeling until around seven or years ago. For me, the hobby is the perfect storm of history, patience and skill. My biggest challenge is prioritizing modelling time and not going overboard with it. I’ll admit I’ve sat through a few sermons thinking about the seams on that B-17. That said, it keeps me home, occupied, and has even made me a little money. Any questions or advice is more than welcomed. I can be reached anytime

In Christ,

Parker Ewing