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AFV Club Vought F4U Corsair

FineScale Modeler reviews the two 1/144 scale aircraft
There’s a new Corsair kit on the market that includes the option of folded wings and dropped flaps. Yawn … nothing new here, you say. Except this is in 1/144 scale and the fidelity and detail are outstanding. And if that’s not enough, there are two kits in the box. 

AFV Club, better known for armor kits, has released several aircraft in 1/144 scale, including this double kit of the famous bent-wing Vought. Options are plentiful. In addition to posable wings and flaps, the kit allows for any of four versions to be built: an F4U-1 “birdcage” as well as the F4U-1A, -1C, and -1D. AFV doesn’t skimp on decals either, providing eight marking options.

You’ll need to decide which version to build early, but the instructions carefully point out differences in versions and optional parts. I built a late-war F4U-1D in classic dark sea blue and a Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm F4U-1.

Construction is exceptionally quick with few parts, but before closing up the fuselage and the wings you must decide on ordnance options as the mounting holes need to be opened. Again, AFV provides numerous choices for underwing stores. I selected drop tanks and rockets for the F4U-1D, but the 5-inch HVAR rockets are so tiny they are molded linked together, somewhat deflating the scale appearance. 

The “birdcage” canopy is elegantly handled by cutting off a portion of the fuselage  behind the cockpit and replacing it with a tiny part with rearview cutouts. 

I left the cowlings off both planes, so I didn’t have to mask the tiny engines.

Separate parts are provided to model the extended or folded wings as well as optional position flaps. I built one set of each, both with flaps deployed. The wing-fold inserts are extremely thin and in were broken in my kit. However, the parts fit fine and the mounting post to attach the folded outer wing was intact. Fit of the wings, like the other assemblies was exemplary — I used no filler. 

The petite landing gear is fragile too and difficult to remove from the sprue without breaking. The size of the gear moldings made it impossible to include gaps between the many struts, most noticeably the tail hook which is molded to the tail wheel with a triangular slab.

With so few parts, the Corsairs were quickly ready for paint. I used Testors Model Master dark sea blue for the F4U-1D, and extra dark sea gray, dark slate gray, and sky from Hataka’s new “Orange Line” FAA acrylic lacquers for the F4U-1. The decals were troublefree — even the tiny prop logos. 

For the F4U-1D, I added the canopy and antenna posts, and hand-painted them. A small piece of Uschi van der Rosten superfine stretchable nylon was used for the antenna wire. The wings mounted easily on the sturdy pins, but they didn’t seem to fold as far as some photos show. I hand-painted the FAA Corsair’s canopy.

It took me just a shade over 12 hours to complete both Corsairs, but more time could have been spent separating the tail hook. With kits of this quality I hope AFV Club continues expanding its tiny air wing. 

Note: A version of this review appeared in the November 2018 issue.


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