Hasegawa 1/72 F4U-2 'Night Corsair'

KIT #: 51371 (AP 111)
PRICE: 1200 yen when new
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1995 Limited Edition


Experimental conversion of the F4U-1 Corsair into a carrier-borne night fighter, armed with five .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns (the outboard, starboard gun was deleted), and fitted with Airborne Intercept (AI) radar set in a radome placed outboard on the starboard wing. Since Vought was preoccupied with more important projects, only 32 were converted from existing F4U-1s by the Naval Aircraft Factory and another two by front line units. The type saw combat with VF(N)-101 aboard USS 
Enterprise and USS Intrepid in early 1944, VF(N)-75 in the Solomon Islands and VMF(N)-532 on Tarawa.


 This is one of the last kits that Hasegawa designed with raised panel lines. However, despite that, it is a very nice model and up to Hasegawa's standards of the time. The grey plastic is very well molded and detailed. Cockpit consists of seat, stick and instrument  panel with decal for the instrument panel. There is good main wheel well detail and none in the back. Engine is both rows of cylinders with the second row molded on a backing plate. The canopy is in several sections, but cannot be displayed open. Ejector pin marks are the biggest problem with these pesky things on the inside of all the gear doors and on the landing gear struts themselves. The ones on the wheels are going to be nearly impossible to fill so aftermarket wheels are recommended.

What makes this kit different is the inclusion of the radar pod. If you look at the sprues image (swiped from another MM article), you'll see that there is a blank space just above the prop. This is where the two pieces for the radar pod are now attached. The earlier sprues already include the longer ejector exhaust stubs and the small intake scoop.

If you get the impression that this is a pretty basic kit, well, yes it is. There are aftermarket bits to help, specifically from True Details in terms of a nice resin cockpit and their 'flat' wheels. Squadron also does a vac canopy, but I'd steer away from it as my experience with Squadron vac canopies is that they lack proper frame definition. If you can get one of the Falcon sets that includes this canopy, then by all means get it as Falcon canopies are superbly done.

As is the norm with most of Hasegawa's Limited Edition kits, you get a set of standard instructions along with an addendum sheet. This sheet includes the steps needed to build the model as the version shown. In this case it means opening up a few  extra holes and using a different instrument panel decal as well as the build up of the pod and the new exhaust. Markings are provided for two nearly identical planes with VMF(N)- 532. One is #201 named 'Shirley Jane' and the other is #211 named 'Line Rider'. Despite being now nearly 20 years old, the decals should be usable as the choice of aftermarket for the -2 is limited if not non-existent in this scale.


No 1/72 Corsair collection would be complete without including a -2. This variant has been done in other limited edition boxings, so finding it is not impossible. A check of e-paid shows it being offered around the $20-30 range plus shipping (which is usually excessive so the seller can pay all the fees). I would not be surprised to see it issued again at a later date. Hasegawa Corsairs build very nicely and are recommended.




July 2014


Thanks to me for procuring this one way back when.

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