Kit: No. 61061
Manufacturer: Tamiya, distributed by Tamiya America, 2 Orion, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656-4200, &800-826-4922
Comments: Injection molded, 113 parts (2 vinyl), decals.
Following its birdcage Corsair, Tamiya has released the more familiar bubbletop F4U-1A/D. Fitted with two pylons under the wing center section that could carry bombs or fuel tanks, the fighter-bomber D model was the first Corsair to be deployed aboard carriers in squadron strength.
Tamiya's new kit features fine engraved panel lines, a well-detailed cockpit (with the proper "floorless" tub), a good twin-row radial engine, a pilot figure posed standing on the gull wing, choice of A and D canopies, and the best parts - dropped flaps and folded wings. You can build the kit with the wings extended, but if you want to raise the flaps, you'll have to cut the mounting tabs from them. Decals provide markings for three overall glossy sea blue machines.
I appreciated the separate wheel fronts (making painting easier), add-on rocket stubs (making decaling easier), and the poly-cap prop keeper. The sliding portion of the two-piece canopy fits fine in the open position over the turtle deck. You also have a choice of opened or closed cowl flaps and covers for the wing pylons if no ordnance is mounted.
Parts fit is perfect. There's no flash, and mold-separation lines disappear with a swipe of a polishing stick. After sanding a slight bevel on the end of the propeller shaft, the shaft slides through the front of the crankcase into the poly cap with a solid thunk. Don't forget to punch through the faired-over holes in the wings if you want to mount the weapons pylons.
The wing sections fit each other so closely that I was able to dress the leading- edge seams with a polishing stick - no sanding necessary. The horizontal stabilizers slide tightly into their slots and stay there without glue. With the gunsight hole in the instrument panel centered on the fuselage seam, the interior will fit tightly and won't inhibit the fit of the fuselage halves.
I painted my Corsair with AeroMaster Warbird enamels. The instrument panel decal fits the raised detail so well that the dials line up. The rest of the decals, although thick, snuggled down with a little AeroMaster Aero Sol II setting solution.
Nearly anyone who has painted and decaled a model can produce a great Corsair from this kit. Still, detailers might want to add a baffle between the rows of the engine, do away with the vestigial wing-tank filler caps (tanks removed on F4U-1D models), add the leading-edge wing-fold doors, and add interior rails for the sliding canopy. Picky, picky....
- Al Jones