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HobbyBoss 1/72 F4U-4 Corsair

Kit: 80218
Scale: 1/72
Maufacturer: HobbyBoss, from Squadron Mail Order, 877-414-0434,
Price: $8.99
Comments: Injection-molded, 44 parts, decals
Pros: The most accurate early F4U-4 in the scale; good exterior detail; good fit; optional canopies; easy to build; excellent decals
Cons: Basic interior detail; leaving rockets off results in lots of filling and sanding
HobbyBoss' new 1/72 scale aircraft models are pretty basic, but I was curious when I noticed an F4U-4 in the lineup. The "Dash 4" Corsair has been rare in 1/72 scale, with only the old Matchbox and Italeri kits.

I suspected HobbyBoss' kit might be a fairly generic Corsair - but it's an accurate rendition of the late-WWII and Korean War fighter, capturing the 4's fabric-covered outer-wing panels, underside fairings behind the cowl, and flat windscreen. The exterior features fine recessed lines and a minimum of recessed rivets.

As I suspected, it's a simple Kit: just a one-piece fuselage with seat and stick molded into a cockpit cavity, and a one-piece wing without much wheel-well detail. Sparse engine detail is molded into the cowl - although it does have the proper chin scoop - and the propeller has little hub detail. I chose the closed (one part) canopy, as the open (two-part) piece only reveals the lack of cockpit detail.

If you're careful, assembly can be achieved without glue. Tolerances are close enough to press-fit everything together.

The kit provides a pair of drop tanks and eight 4" rockets molded to long rails. The rails fit into underwing slots; leaving them them off requires lots of filling. I noticed HobbyBoss missed the coves for the lower exhaust stacks on either side of the fuselage, so I produced them in seconds with a bullet-shaped grinding bit in a motor tool.

I left the cowl off to paint it in the white-and-maroon VMF-323 rattlesnake scheme. Cowl flaps are molded open, and the cowl fits fine that way. I tried to close them, but that drastically inhibited the fit. The rest of the model was painted Testors Model Master gloss sea blue and allowed a few days to cure.

The excellent decals are accurate, and the clear film disappeared on the gloss paint after an application of Solvaset. Alternate markings are provided for a U.S. Navy VF-53 machine.

With finishing done, I simply press fitted the landing gear struts (I did glue the doors and wheels), pushed the prop into the cowl, and the cowl onto the fuselage.

After decades waiting for a decent Dash 4 Corsair, I was able to add an attractive model to my collection in only 11 hours. Fanatics will want to add aftermarket cockpit details, engine, and a better prop. Whether or not you do, you'll want this kit for your Corsair collection.

- Paul Boyer


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