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Build Report: Arii 1/48 F4U-1A Corsair

My local IPMS Club, Lafayette Scale Modelers, decided to have a club “What-if” build. Any subject, and kit, just do it as a “what-if”. I thought about it for quite a while, but nothing was coming to mind. One day as I was looking through some of the work that folks had posted on the Agape Models forums, I saw a post with an Avenger in the gray and white ASW scheme that navy aircraft used in the Atlantic in WWII. I’ve always thought that scheme looked sort of cool.

This was on my mind as I surveyed the shelves of my home-away-from-home, Hayes Hobby House, the finest model shop in all the world, when I saw the Arii 1/48 F4U-1A Corsair. I’d built their Spitfire Mk. VIII a few months previously, and quite enjoyed it. They are affordable kits (the Corsair was <$16.00), and while the molds are quite a few years old, their shape is good, the detail is nice, and they go together very well. Good kit, good price- I was sold.

The cockpit is what most would describe as “simplified”. The major parts are there- seat, IP, stick, floor, basic sidewalls, etc. Perfect canvas for scratch building if that’s your thing, and perfectly fine for an OOB builder also. As the canopy is a single piece unit, most will choose a closed canopy option anyway, so no need to fret over how detailed the cockpit is.

Assembly is about as simple as it gets. The fuselage goes together nicely. A little Tamiya Extra Thin cement, a little Mr. Surfacer 1000 along the seam, and a quick sand made it all disappear nicely. No gaps to speak of, just the usual join line that I see in any model, no matter how well engineered.

The wings go together equally nice, and because the kit is engineered to have a slight “lip” from the fuselage protruding over the wing join, there were no wing to fuselage gaps to fill topside. I did use a shim of plastic stock for the aft underside join. However, as with kits costing three times as much, that’s not unusual.

The only thing that I might have complaints about was the engine. It was sort of “engine like”, being a bit cartoony in shape. But not being one to obsess the details, I painted it, dry-brushed it, and nestled it into the cowling. Life is to short to spend money on resin engines for a $15.99 kit, in my opinion. 🙂

Once built, I took the kit into the paint shop here at Castle Bromwich South. I decided to do a triple what if. “What if” the Navy had used Corsairs in the Atlantic, and what if they had participated in the D-Day landings, and what if I built something other than a Spitfire? Sounded like a plan.

I had looked at a fair number of Wildcats, Avengers and Dauntlesses in the ASW scheme, but promptly forgot most of what I’d seen when I began painting. 🙂 What’s to know- it’s gray and white? I gave the undersides and most of the topside fuselage a coat of Tamiya Flat White. The uppersides received a coat of some form of Tamiya Gray… I can’t recall which, exactly. (Yeah, I’m not to particular about colors…)

I masked of the invasion stripes, using the Tamiya Flat White and Flat Black for the job. I love the look of invasion stripes. it’s a bit of work to mask off, but I think any build that has them looks awesome.

I gave the whole thing some light oil washes to dirty it up a bit, and then gave it a coat of Future. Decals sourced from the spare decal drawer came next. Another coat of Future, an oil wash for the panel lines, and a flat coat finished things off. I glued on the last bits and pieces and called it done.

It certainly is a unique look. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a Corsair done in this type of markings, so I’m happy to have something a bit different sitting on the shelf. And the kit itself is great- a very enjoyable build. I highly recommend the Arii (or Otaki boxings) for any modeler. They are affordable, fit well, and provide a lot of value to fun ratio.