Revell 1/32 F4U-1A Corsair
KIT #: 4781
PRICE: 44$
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Francisco Santoro
NOTES: First time using Vallejo paints.


From the kit’s instructions: “The prototype of the Vought F4U Corsair first flew on 29th May 1940 in response to the United States Navy’s request for a carrier based fighter that matched the performance then being achieved by land based aircraft. Design work began in 1936 under Rex B. Beisel to build a very compact airframe around the new Double Wasp engine. The distinctive inverted gull wing design gave adequate ground clearance for the 4,06m Hamilton Standard propeller without needing very long undercarriage legs. Powered by the Pratt and Whitney 1800hp R2800 Double Wasp engine, the Corsair was the first US fighter to exceed 400mph in level flight. Entering service with Marine squadron VMF-214 in late 1942, the first Corsairs remained land based due to ongoing work to make the new aircraft safe for carrier operations. Gradual design improvements incorporated on the production line meant that the early F4U-1s were quite different from those that followed, the most noticeable point being the lightly framed blown Perspex cockpit hood that replaced the earlier “bird cage” style hood. The modified aircraft were later referred to as F4U-1As. As well as the Vought production line at Bridgeport, Connecticut, Corsairs were also built by Goodyear at Akron, Ohio and Brewster at Long Island, New York. The F4U-1A Corsair was armed with six 50 caliber Browning machineguns in the wings and some could carry a single 450kg bomb in place of the centre line droptank. Total Corsair production was 12571, the last of which was delivered in January 1953.”


Originally released in the 1970s, this kit was subsequently re-released until 2013. In 2005, the toy manufacturer 21st Century Toys released in kit form their F4U-1A/D in 1:32. Back to 2013, when Revell last released this old tooling, Tamiya came with their own Corsair, a Birdcage one, which would spawn a family of Corsairs until 2017, when Tamiya released an F4U-1D.

The kit comes in the old Revell blue box with a very nice artwork of a Corsair attacking some ships in the Solomon Islands (the decals are for two aircraft in this campaign).

Instructions are of the Revell past style of a black and white drawings with Revell only paint callouts.

Total number of sprues is of 5, four grey and one clear. There’re a total of 64 parts, making this kit a very simple one. Options for the kit include an open canopy, full engine, spinning propeller and foldable wing mechanisms. A pilot is also included.


I wanted to build this kit with the wings in the extended position, so I began the build with this assembly. I first glued the wingspars and the pieces that locate the wings in place and left them to dry. Once these pieces were set, I glued the top wings and taped them together. While these parts were drying, I glued the radiator faces to the inner wing and painted them black, and then added the outer lower wings, taping them so they’d set properly.

I left the wings aside and started work on the engine and cockpit. I painted the cockpit parts in Interior Green (Revell 48 Sea Green), with the instrument panel painted in matt black (Revell 08 Matt Black). I also painted the inner parts of the fuselage halves in Interior Green. The engine was glued unpainted except for the face, which was painted entirely in black. To speed up the construction process I painted the propeller in matt black with yellow tips and a metallic hub. The wheels were painted with metallic inner parts and Revell 78 Tank Grey for the tyres (the same colour I use for my German aircraft cockpits). I also painted the tailwheel strut and wheel. Once the paint on every part had dried, I glued them together. The cockpit and tail wheel strut were then installed to one fuselage half, and the other half was glued in place.

Once the fuselage halves had cured, I test fitted the wings. These fitted well on the front and back, but had gaps on the wingroots, so I added a spreader bar under the cockpit so I could close the gaps. The wings were then taped and left to dry overnight so I could have a solid join. Meanwhile, I glued the horizontal stabilizers. Once the glue had dried I filled the gaps with CA and sanded them flush, losing some rivets in the process.


The colour scheme on both aircraft is the same, uppers in Dark Sea Blue, middle areas in Intermediate Blue, and lower surfaces in white. Revell doesn’t offer paints for Dark Sea Blue nor Intermediate Blue, so I bought two new paints from Vallejo. According to several sources, these paints are very delicate and don’t take very well masking unless you prime the surface. I did so with Revell 76 Light Grey, and then free handed the colours. The Vallejo Model Color paints didn’t need thinning, being ready for brushing from the bottle and covering the surface in less than four coats, both the Dark Sea Blue and Intermediate Blue. The white undersides needed some persuasion to fully cover the surface though. I then masked the lower wing white areas and painted the outer lower wings in Intermediate Blue. I then glossed the surface with Revell’s gloss varnish and applied the decals, which reacted very well to Microsol, though some needed a bit of pressing with a cotton bud so they would conform to the raised rivets. The decals were left to set overnight, and then the model was matt coated.

The landing gear was glued. These are a very flimsy assembly, so it was glued with UHU Model Cement and then reinforced with epoxy glue. The landing gear doors were added into place, the wheels were glued, the propeller added, and the clear parts were glued with white glue, and then the model was finished.


The Corsair is a big aircraft, bigger in height than a Bf 110 and almost of the same wingspan. I’m proud of finally having a US aircraft in my collection of 1:32 scale models. I wouldn’t have been able to do this one had it not been for the availability of the Vallejo paints. Regarding the model itself, it was a good kit, not as detailed as the Tamiya one, but if found cheap it can be built into a good model.


Kit Instructions and Scalemates for the mini time line.

Francisco Santoro

20 March 2023

Copyright All rights reserved. No reproduction in part or in whole without express permission.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page

Back to the Previews Index Page