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Tamiya 1:48 Scale Chance-Vought F4U-1A Corsair

May 02, 2015

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Tamiya 1:48 Scale Chance-Vought F4U-1A Corsair

Tamiya 1:48 Scale Chance-Vought F4U-1A Corsair

Manufacturer Tamiya
Scale 1/48
Building hours ~100

Airfield Models ( Chance-Vought F4U Corsair is an aviation classic that, while recognized as such, is still under-rated in my opinion.  Whenever there is a discussion of the greatest planes of WWII, it usually centers around the P-51 Mustang, the Spitfire MK something or other and the Focke Wulf 190.  I do not pretend to be an authority on aviation history, but from the performance figures I have seen, I would rather be in a Corsair than anything else in a dogfight.

Unfortunately, the choices of kits for this aircraft have been few and far between.  Additionally, they have not been very close to scale.  This applies to both plastic display and flying models.  It is about time something was done about it...

Modeling a Classic

Tamiya's current line of kits are some of the best plastic models ever manufactured.  The F4U-1A exemplifies this with its near-perfect moldings, excellent instructions and accuracy.  Mine was built straight from box with no aftermarket items added.  This kit was about the fifteenth plastic model I had built in a two year time-span.

I have always liked U.S. carrier-based planes from the WW II Pacific Theater.  However I had yet to build an aircraft with the wings in the folded position.  Tamiya made it easy to fold the wings on this aircraft because the kit came with alternate parts and good instructions.  I may build another Corsair at some point with the wings extended but I made a promise to myself to finish a few more of the over one hundred unbuilt kits I have before buying any more.

During those two years I was concentrating on learning new building and weathering techniques.  When working on the models previous to this one I was experimenting without knowing if I would be satisfied with the outcome.  By the time I began on this kit I felt my skills were honed enough to build this model to a higher level of realism than models I had built in the past.


Chipping Paint

This is the type kit that gives an airbrush a work out and is a lot of fun to paint.  I faded the paint more than usual because this particular aircraft was based in the South Pacific.  Approximately 30% flat white was mixed in the blues painted on to the exterior of the aircraft.  I also chipped the paint using a method I had come across on HyperScale.

In previous attempts I had attempted to achieve a chipped paint look by dabbing silver paint over previously painted areas using a stiff bristled brush.  The effect of this technique is usually not realistic it looks like silver paint dabbed over painted areas with a stiff bristled brush.  I doubt there is a more realistic way to achieve chipped paint look than to actually chip the paint so that's what I did.

The technique is actually simple.  Metalizer type paints are first sprayed on the bare plastic in areas that will later have the paint chipped.  Next the aircraft is painted normally using acrylics.  The acrylics do not adhere to the metalizers so it is simple matter to chip the paint with careful use of a sharp knife.

Tamiya 1:48 Chance-Vought F4U-1A Corsair

The only modification I made to the technique was to chip a little at a time all through the painting/weathering process so that some chips would be aged more than others.  I am very pleased with the results.  I have seen some models that had huge areas of paint removed.  I don't know if that's realistic or not but I wanted a more subtle look so I took it easy.

The only two additions I made to the kit were seat belts made from surgical tape and a wiring harness made from a strand of brass speaker wire.  The diameter of the wire is too small for scale and takes a lot of effort to see.  If I had to do it again I would use larger wire here.  I would also weather the underside of the aircraft a bit more particularly the landing gear doors.

Overall this was a very enjoyable project and I was sorry when it was finished.  I wish the parts in all kits fit together as well as Tamiya's Corsair.  Then I could spend more time doing what I enjoy (detailing and painting) and less time reworking parts so they fit together.

This model is practically begging to be placed in a vignette setting.  Hopefully at some point I will find the motivation to build a small Pacific island setting in which to place my Corsair.

I would really love to build a flying example of this type as well and include a lot of detail.  I have yet to see a really well-done R/C Corsair on a fly by.  The closest I have come is photos in magazines of the Radio Control Scale Masters Tournament.

One day... <sigh>

Tamiya 1:48 Chance-Vought F4U-1A Corsair - Front quarter-view Tamiya 1:48 Chance-Vought F4U-1A Corsair - Engine and propeller detail Tamiya 1:48 Chance-Vought F4U-1A Corsair - Cockpit detail Tamiya 1:48 Chance-Vought F4U-1A Corsair - Cockpit detail
Tamiya 1:48 Chance-Vought F4U-1A Corsair - Engine detail Tamiya 1:48 Chance-Vought F4U-1A Corsair - Wing folding mechanism detail Tamiya 1:48 Chance-Vought F4U-1A Corsair  


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