Hobby Boss 1/48 F4U-4 Corsair (Early Version)

KIT #: 80386
PRICE: $55.99 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New tool kit


The F4U-4 was the last variant to see action during World War II. Deliveries to the U.S. Navy of the F4U-4 began late in 1944. It fully equipped several squadrons four months before the end of hostilities. It had the 2,100 hp (1,600 kW) dual-stage-supercharged -18W engine. When the cylinders were injected with the water/alcohol mixture, power was boosted to 2,450 hp (1,830 kW). The aircraft required an air scoop under the nose and the unarmored wing fuel tanks of 62 gal (234 l) capacities were removed for better maneuverability at the expense of maximum range. The propeller was changed to a four blade type. Maximum speed was increased to 448 miles per hour (721 km/h) and climb rate to over 3,800 ft/min (1,180 m/min) as opposed to the 2,900 ft/min (884 m/min) of the F4U-1A. The service ceiling also increased significantly from 37,000 feet (11,000 m) to 41,000 feet (12,000 m). The "4-Hog" retained the original armament and had all the external load (i.e., drop tanks, bombs) capabilities of the F4U-1D. The windscreen was changed early in production to a flat bullet-resistant glass to avoid optical distortion, a change from the curved Plexiglas windscreens with the internal plate glass of the earlier Corsairs. Vought also tested the two F4U-4Xs (BuNos 49763 and 50301, prototypes for the new R2800) with fixed tiptanks (the Navy showed no interest) and an Aeroproducts six-blade contraprop (not accepted for production). Later versions were armed with two 20mm cannon in each wing. There were some night fighter and recon versions, but few were actually built.

This is the first new tool -4 Corsair to have been done in many, many years. The first (while sort of a mixture of variants) was the Monogram kit, complete with operating features. This was followed by what many considered the best -4 for decades, the Mania kit, soon to be in Hasegawa boxes as Hasegawa bought the company. Academy also produced a -4 Corsair, but it has been much maligned due to some basic shape errors.

Now we have one from Hobby Boss. It would not be surprising to know that this is based on the 1/32 Trumpeter kit, a kit I built when it came out and not a bad kit at all. It is quite typical of new Hobby Boss kits with the usual engraved panel lines, individually bagged sprues with the fine parts protected.
There is a nicely detailed interior that offers the option of decals for instruments. The engine is also well detailed and an accessory section is also provided. The wings can be folded if need be. Ailerons and flaps are separate pieces, though the instructions do not show the flaps being lowered, a common sight on parked planes. One also gets the opportunity to show off the open gun bays if so desired. It is pretty obvious that this kit will spawn other variants as there is an insert for behind the cockpit.  Apparently early F4U-4s has the same rounded windscreen as the -1D. If this is the case, a section of armored glass would need to be behind the curved plexiglas.  For things under wings, there are two inner wing drop tanks and outer wing rocket stubs for four rockets. The stubs themselves are separate so you could model the plane without the rockets and still have the stubs showing, a common sight for those aircraft not going directly into action.

Instructions are well drawn and offer a variety of paint company references. The full color markings guide provides for two overall gloss sea blue planes. One is the box art aircraft from VF-61 aboard the USS Midway in 1949, while the other is a VF-22 plane aboard the USS Coral Sea in 1948. The kit decals look very nice and include the red shark mouth motif for the latter's drop tanks. The sheet even includes the prop tip markings, though most of us will want to paint these on.

It is nice to see this kit released as I know Corsair fans have been wanting a new tool -4. I am not sure if the windscreens were retrofitted to older aircraft or not so it would be good to have a photo of your subject to be sure which it had. Also, despite the hubub about the prop and small gear doors and chin intake being fatally flawed, they are such that 99% of those who buy the kit will not be concerned about it. If you are of the 1%, before you decide to end it all over it, I am sure that aftermarket will be to the rescue.



My thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. You can get yours today at your favorite retailer. 

March 2012

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