|KIT:||Tamiya 1/72 F4U-1A Corsair|
|PRICE:||$17.25 from GreatModels|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The F4U-1A was pretty much the same as the earlier 'birdcage' Corsair, but with a few differences. One was a new canopy and windscreen that offered better external vision. The second was a centerline rack for bombs or the ability to carry a fuel tank to extend range. These were operated in much the same way as the earlier plane, that is, on land bases to begin with. It wasn't until later that Vought was able to reduce the plane's tendency to bounce on landing, but once it was, the aircraft was cleared for fleet duty.
Again, the British had no problems using the few aircraft it got on their carriers and though not in as much combat and US units, they did well once the enemy was engaged.
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 the -1 sprue and one other sprue for the centerline fuel tank, bomb rack and the bomb. The clear bits are the same as what was provided with the -1D. 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.
Instructions are superb and the standard of the industry, though this one continues the irritating use of Tamiya-only paint references. Markings are for three aircraft, all in the tri-color scheme and all for well-documented and in your reviewer's opinion, all-too frequently modeled aircraft. First is Ira Kepford's VF-17 aircraft. Next is #122 of VMF-114 with the huge mission tally on the fuselage. Finally, one of 'Pappy' Boyington's planes from VMF-214, and from what we now know, a plane he probably didn't fly, but was gussied up for photo ops.
One has to wonder why Tamiya waited nearly 6 years to produce the other -1 variants of the Corsair as the ability to do so was always there. Perhaps they just wanted to be sure that the -1D variant had run its course. Regardless, we now have all three available with the release of this -1A and I expect to see a LOT of them on the contest tables in the coming year.
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