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

KIT #: 80387
PRICE: $55.99 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


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 now 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 updated version of HobbyBoss' -4 Corsair to make it into the later version.  The first -4 (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.

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. 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. A rather odd option is to have the tail hook lowered while on the ground.

As a later version, this kit has a different canopy with a flat center section. This is correct for the type and  the fuselage halves are different to accommodate this feature. The cowling is the same as on the earlier kit so that has not been altered. Fortunately, True Details provides a resin replacement that is closer to the real deal. I do not recall if there were comments on the small main gear door opening on this one or not, but I have included an image of this area as well as the new canopy for you to judge. Something that slipped past me when first looking over the parts is that the wings have clipped tips like for the British F4U-1s. This is certainly not correct for this version and you will either hope that Hobby Boss noticed and will provide replacements, or break out the epoxy putty or plastic card and made new ones of the right shape. It should be easy to do, but should not have to be done.

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 VMF-323 'Death Rattlers' in the same markings as their 1/32 kit. The other is from VMA-312 with the checkers on the side and lower cowling. Decals are well printed and include instrument panel and side console decals as well as decals for the tail hook. These latter ones are in a right and left mode rather than the usual wrap around most other companies use. Personally, I would paint these as I cannot see how the decals would work successfully. For those wanting other markings, there have been aftermarket sheets in the past that cover this version.

It is nice to see this kit released as I know Corsair fans have been waiting for the later version. As with the earlier version, it would be wise to have a photo of the plane you wish to model to ensure that it is the correct sub-variant. It is too bad about the wing tips, but again, they are relatively easily taken care of by using those modeling skills.



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

December 2012

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