Special Hobby 1/48 F2G 'Super Corsair'
|PRICE:||$44.95 when new in 2005|
On the strength of these tests, the Navy ordered ten F2G-1 aircraft with non-folding wings and ten F2G-2s with folding wings and standard carrier equipment. Goodyear took the opportunity to cut down the rear fuselage and provide the pilot with one of the biggest and clearest bubble canopies of any wartime fighter.
threat of the Kamikazes appeared, the Navy finally broke down and brought the
Corsair into the fleet, sending Marine F4U squadrons to the fast carriers to
supplement the F6Fs that were the standard fleet defense fighter.
Goodyear took the opportunity to press for full production of the F2G on
the grounds it could provide high-speed low-altitude fleet defense against
suicide bombers. The Navy, however,
now had a better answer: Grumman had just come up with the F8F-1, which had
stunned everyone at the Fighter Conference in October 1944, when it outflew
everything there. Powered by the
standard R-2800 which did not present the difficulties of the R-4360, the
Bearcat was even faster at low altitude, not to mention being far more
maneuverable than the F2G.
Goodyear’s hopes for their fighter were for naught.
By August 1945, five F2G-1 and five F2G-2 aircraft had been completed, in addition to the five development aircraft that had begun life as FG-1s. With the end of the war, the contract was canceled for the remaining airplanes. The F2Gs were transferred to the Naval Air Technical Center at NAS Patuxent, for further testing. With the advent of jets making any further development of piston-powered fighters redundant, the F2Gs were not flown much.
In 1946, the National Air Races came back. This time, rather than the purpose-built racers of the 1930s, the racers took advantage of the fact that surplus fighters like the P-51, the P-38, and the P-39 could be obtained for as little as $500. The 1946 race saw a clean sweep by ex-USAAF fighters.
Cook Cleland, one of the great “personalities” of Naval Aviation during World War II, had entered an FG-1 Corsair in the 1946 event, but it had been outperformed by the P-39s. In 1947, Cleland was asked by his old friend, Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey, what it would take for a Corsair to win. Cleland replied that the Corsair was really a high-altitude performer, and suggested that if there was a way for him to get hold of some of the F2Gs which were such fantastic performers at low altitude, that a Corsair might win. Cleland didn’t have to do a lot of convincing of Halsey that this would be good for Navy public relations. Halsey arranged the paperwork, the F2Gs were declared surplus, and Cook Cleland got hold of five of them.
There wasn’t much time to do anything to the F2Gs other than change the paint scheme. Cleland won the 1947 Thompson race in F2G #94, while his partner, Navy test pilot Deck Becker, took second place in F2G #74, which established them as the racers to beat. In 1948, both F2Gs were highly modified, with enlarged intakes to provide air to the last row of cylinders, and the wings reduced in span. However, both were forced to drop out during the race due to engine backfiring that dislodged #74's air intake scoop in the third lap and #94's scoop in the fourth lap.
In 1949, Cleland returned with three F2Gs, while Ron Pucket had a fourth, #18. Cleland’s #94 was even more modified, as was Becker’s #74. Ben McKillen would fly the new F2G, #57, which originally was supposed to be used as a source of spare parts rather than fly. Thus, it was not as radically modified as the other two, keeping the full‑span wing.
#74's gear reduction box stripped it gears just after Becker’s qualifying lap, forcing him to make an emergency landing and removing him from the line-up. On race day, the F2Gs made a clean sweep: Cleland took first place, winning the Thompson Trophy a second time, with Ron Puckett close behind in #18, while McKillen came in third in #57. McKillen went on to take First Place in the Tinnerman Race.
the fatal crash of Bill Odom in his P-51 was the nail in the coffin for pylon
air racing. Unlike the pre-war
races where companies could test new engines and designs, the surplus wartime
fighters were a technological dead-end.
The aircraft companies that had sponsored teams like Cleland’s dropped
out, which meant the 1949 Thompson Trophy Race was the end of the line until air
racing picked up as “the world’s fastest motor sport” in Reno in 1964, where it
is really just an exercise in nostalgia and entertainment by those with money to
Cleland flew F2G #57 in public for the last time when he put on a an aerobatics routine during show at his airport in Willoughby, Ohio in June 1950. Shortly after, he was recalled to active duty for the Korean War and the F2Gs were all placed in storage. In 1964 Cleland became interested in making an attempt on the world propeller driven, land plane speed record, using #57, when he heard of Darryl Greenamyer’s plans. Cleland was able to obtain sponsorship from the Martin Decker Corp. Dick Becker and Chuck Toman disassembled #57 and shipped it to Pottstown, Pennsylvania to be rebuilt. Unfortunately, it was stored outdoors where it deteriorated until the Decker Corp. went bankrupt. Between 1964-1996, the remains were bought by three different individuals who were interested in restoring it, but each was killed in turn in flying accidents. In 1996, airplane was purchased by Bob Odegaard, who restored it to flying status in 1999. The airplane appeared at the Reno Air Races and air shows around the country, including the 2006 Planes of Fame show, where I saw him put the airplane through a superb aerobatics show. In 2007, Odegaard commenced the restoration of F2G #74, which he completed in the summer of 2012. On September 8, 2012, he crashed this Corsair while performing a low altitude run during preparations to race the airplane in that year’s Reno Air Races, and was killed.
The kit includes two very clear and sharply‑molded vacuform canopies, which is good because this is a model where preserving the beautiful lines of the original means closing the canopy. With no visual distortion as might have been the case with an injection‑molded canopy, this will allow the cockpit to be seen with the canopy properly positioned.
Modelers have long expressed interest in getting a kit of this version of the Corsair. As it sits in the box, the kit makes up as Race 57 appears today, with an air intake that is different from what was used in 1949. This intake is the same kind used by Cleland on #94 and #74, so if one purchased the decals that Red Pegasus made for these airplanes, creating a model of either would mostly involve clipping the wings. There is the additional problem that while the model has the fabric-covered wings that were used in the Thompson Trophy racers, the cockpit is the one modified by Bob Odegaard during the restoration. The standard F2G-1 and F2G-2 used the more modern F4U-4 cockpit, which is how they were in 1947-49. Fortunately, the True Details resin F4U-4 cockpit fits this kit very closely. Thus, the main problem for a modeler in creating Race #57 as she originally appeared is to get the “doghouse” air scoop. Mike West of Lone Star Models did one, though it is not in his catalogue at present.
I began by assembling the wing. The resin parts for the different air intakes in the wing fit very nicely, while the walls for the wheel wells don’t. I sanded them down and got them to fit.
I made the doghouse intake using the kit intake part and some Evergreen sheet, with a good heavy coat of Mr. Surfacer 500, which I then smoothed to make it look like the photos I had.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
I gave the model an overall coat of Tamiya “Flat White,” following that with a good coat of Tamiya “Gloss White” to give the model as smooth a surface as possible.
The exact color of red on Race #57 is subject to debate. After seeing the airplane in person at Planes of Fame, I think most modelers have gotten it a little too dark. It is more of a scarlet red. I masked off the front of the cowling and the tip of the rudder, and painted the model with Xtracrylix “Red Arrows Red,” a nice British Scarlet, which looked right when I checked it against the color photos I had of the airplane from its visit. I thinned this considerably and misted it on with several passes. I then let it dry and saw where the “holidays” were and gave it a second, slightly-thicker coat. When all was dry, I unmasked the model and gave it a coat of Future.
I had harbored some doubt about whether these decals would be opaque enough to go over the red surface, but was pleasantly surprised to find they were nice an opaque, even though they were quite thin. They went on the model with no problem and settled under a light coat of Micro-Sol. When they were set, I washed the model to get rid of solvent residue, then applied a coat of Xtracrylix Satin varnish, which is a “scale” gloss coat - painting a 1/48 model with gloss varnish makes it look like a toy.
This is an easy kit to build. Given that the cockpit should be black for the 1949 version, one could get away with the kit cockpit if you don’t want to spring for the resin cockpit. Making the doghouse is not as difficult as it might appear, and anyone who has done any kit modifications should have no problems.
Thanks to Hannant’s
for the review kit. If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the
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Thanks to Hannant’s for the review kit.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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