Tamiya's 1/32 scale
F4U-1 Birdcage Corsair
by Steve Pritchard
Chance-Vought F4U-1 Birdcage Corsair
Tamiya's 1/32 scale F4U-1 Corsair
is available online from Squadron.com
Tamiya 1/32 scale Vought F4U-1 Corsair “Birdcage” (Item 60324) painted as aircraft 126 on Munda Airfield, New Georgia, Solomon Islands
BarracudaCals F4U-1 Birdcage Corsairs part one decal sheet (BC32130)
BarracudaCals F4U-1 Corsair Early Engine Upgrade Set (BR32126)
BarracudaCals Corsair Mainwheels Diamond Tread (BR32119)
BarracudaCals F4U-1 Corsair Cockpit Stencils and Placards (BC32129)
Eduard F4U-1 seatbelts (32 784)
Eduard F4U-1 engine (632 032)
Grey Matter Figures F4U Corsair Engine Bay “Birdcage” (GMALB3202)
Tamiya Acrylics XF-18 for the topside surface blue grey and XF-19 for the lower surface light grey, using the mixing ratios with XF-2 white as per the Tamiya instructions.
Humbrol enamels were used for the cockpit (old tin of US Dark Green 116 from the Super Enamel range for the side walls, seat etc.) and various colours for detail painting of the cockpit and engine parts.
Alclad Aluminium was also used on the engine and portions of the airframe.
I purchased this kit not long after it first came out, but delayed starting it as I had doubts about my ability to achieve a convincing heavily weathered, war weary appearance. I finally decided to get started earlier this year, as I had nothing left in the stash. In the meantime, I had purchased the aftermarket accessories listed above, as well Dana Bell’s excellent Aircraft Pictorial Number7 F4U-1 Corsair Vol 1, which proved very helpful.
Cockpit construction was straightforward - the trickiest part was applying the BarracudaCals cockpit stencils. They are very small, and I did not apply them all, in fact I managed to lose some. Those I did get in place add a worthwhile extra layer of detail.
I limited the cockpit weathering to worn areas on the seat and foot rests, plus an oil wash to add a bit of ‘grime’.
I sprayed the seat pan and foot rests with Alclad aluminium then the Humbrol dark green - I then used a cut down paint brush to rub off some of the green paint leaving a worn appearance.
Construction followed the Tamiya sequence more or less exactly, with the obvious changes needed to incorporate the Grey Matter engine bay – really just a bit of gentle surgery, and their instructions are quite clear on how to proceed.
I assembled the Eduard engine at this point, it was probably the most difficult part of the model – I had trouble getting all the parts aligned correctly, but in the end I was reasonably happy with the result. I added the Barracuda distributors and ignition ring (with lead wire cabling) to the Eduard parts without difficulty.
I decided early on to have the wings extended and flaps down, as there is much detail visible in the flap area, though it appears more common for Corsairs to have flaps retracted when on the ground. The kit was completely assembled except for the tailplanes and undercarriage, prior to painting.
Initial painting consisted of a pre-shade with black enamel on panel lines (except on the fabric surfaces of the wings), followed by some areas receiving Alclad aluminium and Humbrol 81 pale yellow zinc chromate. My intention was then to apply thin coats of the camouflage colours leaving some areas a little bare to represent fading and wear and tear.
The BarracudaCals instructions indicated a darker blue shade along leading edges and on areas of the upper wing – the pre-mixed blue/grey had some Tamiya X-3 Royal Blue added and this was sprayed fairly randomly. Humbrol gloss polyurethane followed to provide the base for decaling.
The BarracudaCals decals went on without any trouble – sitting down well into the fine surface detail. Final coat was Wattyl Estapol Matt polyurethane varnish.
A little bit of chipping with various shades including silver was done around areas that would see the most wear – cockpit sills, engine cowlings etc. I didn’t go overboard with this, it can be overdone sometimes.
I also used pastels to add some staining from the gun ports and fuel tank, and some discolouration on the tyres. A thin oil paint wash was also applied, keeping to the panel lines, using a mix of raw umber and burnt sienna.
I thought I had used the Tamiya mix for the ‘Salmon’ colour, but it did seem an odd colour when applied so may have erred with the ratio. I then applied neat oil paint – red mixed with raw umber - which was slathered on and immediately wiped off, leaving a colour which looks a little closer to that seen on the Corsair salvaged from Lake Michigan.
This was a most enjoyable build, despite the (self-inflicted) issues I had with the Eduard engine. The kit really just fell together – no filler was used anywhere, such is the precision fit of the Tamiya parts.
I am happy with the worn finish achieved, it is perhaps even a little underdone, judging by the single photo I have seen of the actual aircraft.
Text and Images Copyright ©
2017 by Steve Pritchard
Page Created 27 September, 2017
27 September, 2017
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