|KIT:||Tamiya 1/72 F4U-1 Corsair|
|PRICE:||$17.25 from GreatModels|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
I'm sure that most of us know at least something about the Corsair. The earliest versions were the F4U with the heavily frames canopy and windscreen sections that led to them being called 'birdcage' corsairs. These planes were used almost exclusively from land bases as the aircraft had too much 'bounce' for the tastes of the USN and this kept them off carriers. Oddly, this wasn't a problem for the British, who used these planes with slightly clipped wing tips on their carriers.
Anyway, this 'no carrier' edict was a boon for the USMC who got the majority of these planes and used them with much effectiveness in the Solomon campaign during 1943. Along with the Marines, VF-17, which was the initial recipient of the type and did much of the carrier work with them, also operated them from land bases, building up an enviable kill record and forever ensuring that there would be a 'Jolly Rogers' squadron somewhere in naval air.
Detailing is quite reminiscent of the larger scale kit. So is the general part breakdown and options. It should be no surprise that this is basically the F4U-1D kit with new sprues for the birdcage variant. The image to the left is of the -1D bits with the additional small image showing the new parts.
The interior detail is just superb and rivals that of the 1/48 version, including the see-through cockpit floor and under fuselage window that just about all other Corsair models miss. There is a decal for the instrument panel, and for the seat harness. There is good sidewall and wheel well detail and the wells themselves are properly deep. The engine has both rows of cylinders and there is an option for open or closed cowl flaps.
The new sprue includes inserts for the different canopy. I personally don't like these inserts, but the Tamiya ones usually fit very well. As many of you know, the small scale Tamiya kits don't have the dropped flaps of the larger cousins. Interestingly, this has an insert for the inboard right flap to replace the -1D version which had a step molded in it. The other difference is the propeller, which is a bit odd as I thought they were all the same size.
Instructions are superb and the standard of the industry, though this one continues the irritating use of Tamiya-only paint references. Markings are for four aircraft, three in the tri-color paint scheme. The first two are from VF-17 'Jolly Rogers' that differ only in code and the insignia that they use. Third is a 'Pappy' Boyington VMF-214 aircraft, also in the tri-color scheme. I'm not sure if he actually flew this on or if it was just used for publicity. The final option is in the earlier blue-grey over light grey scheme and is a plane flown by Ken Walsh with VMF-124. Markings are well done and the white is actually white, though, for some reason, the red surround background has the inner bits in ivory. Anyway, the sheet also includes the masking tape that was often used to help seal the frequently leaky forward fuel tank.
Despite there still being a very good birdcage Corsair being boxed by Hasegawa, this one will undoubtedly surpass that one in the eyes of builders. If it builds as nicely as the -1D I did several years ago (and I see no reason why not), it will result in an easy, trouble-free build.
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