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F4U-1A Corsair

by David W. Aungst


F4U-1A Corsair


Tamiya's 1/48 scale F4U-1A Corsair is available online from Squadron.com




I like the Corsair as much as the next guy, so when Tamiya's 1/48 scale F4U-1A kit came out, I read the reviews and dumped the Arii kit I was planning to build (someday). In fact, the kit was so nice that it became my current project within days of my buying it.



The kit is truly a work of art in mold making. I'm sure that it lacks something somewhere, but you would be hard pressed to find it. The following is a brief synopsis of the features of the kit.

  • The cockpit is very nice, right out of the box. No after-market kit could really improve on what Tamiya has provided in the kit. With some careful painting, an outstanding cockpit can be made straight from the box.

  • Two canopies are provided, one with framing (typical of the F4U-1A) and one without (typical of the F4U-1D).

  • The wing flaps are separate and can be attached in the lowered position.

  • The wings are separated into pieces that let you display the wings folded.

  • The engraving of the kit is well executed. The fabric-covered portions of the outer wing, flaps, and tails are molded with a finely engraved fabric texture.

  • Underwing pylons are provided for five inch rockets. Unfortunately, though, no actual rockets are in the kit.

  • Under fuselage pylons are provide with external fuel tanks. The F4U-1 kit provides bombs, also. Unforunately again,

  • Tamiya chose to delete these from the F4U-1D kit. The F4U-1D kit has no external weapons included, only weapons pylons.

  • The landing gear is nicely molded and attaches positively and firmly for a strong joint. This is important to me as the model will sit for a long time on my display shelves and surely get bumped around more than once.

With all these great molded in details already provided in the box, I built the model straight out-of-the-box. The only extra I did was add the line antennae between the fuselage and the tail.

The kit box art labels the kit as an F4U-1D, but parts provided in the kit allow you to build either an F4U-1A or an F4U-1D. I really like the three-tone camouflage. I understood, though, that no F4U-1Ds ever saw this camouflage, so I was opting to build an F4U-1A.



 Then, in my model building, I opted to use some of the "1D" specific kit pieces before I realized they were just that, "1D" pieces. Hence, I have a camouflage that was seemingly never applied to a "1D" on a model of an F4U-1D airframe. I'm explaining away my error by saying that the "1D" items were retrofitted to a "1A" airframe. This works for all but the step hole in the right inboard wing flap. Oh well...



Painting and Markings



The model is painted exclusively in Testor's Model Master enamel paints. I chose to paint the cockpit in one of the options I have seen in books for Corsair cockpits. The cockpit is black on the upper portions from the side consoles and up. I used Interior Black as the primary black color of the upper cockpit and highlighted it with true black and various dark grays. The lower cockpit is Interior Green (F.S.34151) from just below the side consoles and down. I did washes in black and brown and dry brushed the green portions using Israeli Green (F.S.34227).

The camouflage is the standard three-tone camouflage of Non-Specular Sea Blue (F.S.35042) on the top sides, Intermediate Blue (F.S.35164) on the vertical surfaces, and Gloss White on the bottom. I cut the two top colors with 25% white to represent heavy weathering. For the same reason, I substituted Light Gray (F.S.36495) for the white on the bottom.



To further simulate the effects of heavy weathering, I thinned down some of the Light Gray to a nearly transparent mixture and applied a light overcoat to the fabric covered wing and tail surfaces to further lighten these areas. I found the effect very appealing, especially on the vertical tail.


The decals come from various sources, including the Tamiya kit decals and SuperScale. The Tamiya decals presented a small issue in getting the middles of the huge national insignia decals to snuggle down, but a cut or two with a sharp X-acto knife and more Solvoset solved the problem. The markings I applied to the model represent a nondescript aircraft from VMF-214. I custom printed with my PC and laser printer a pilot's name block with my name in it and added an aircraft name on the left engine cowl (my wife's name, she was flattered). An image of the decal artwork is included to the right.


I heavily weathered the airframe with thinned down enamel paints using washes and air brush shading. Then I applied a significant amount of silver dry brushing. The pictures of island based Corsairs I found show that the coral sand took a substantial toll on the surfaces of the aircraft. I think I did a little too much silver dry brushing, but then... For a more complete discussion of what I do to weather my models, see my posting on "Weathering Aircraft".



Additional Images and Project Summary


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Project Statistics

Completion Date:

19 November, 1998

Total Building Time:






Painting (includes creation and printing of custom decals):


Decals / Markings (includes creating and printing custom decals):


Extra Detailing / Conversion:


Model, Description and Images Copyright 2003 by David Aungst
Page Created 25 February, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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