Vought F2G-1 Corsair
by Mike Millette
The end of WWII was a fascinating time in the history of aviation. The jet age was in it's infancy, and high powered reciprocating engine technology for aircraft was at its peak. Many of the aircraft that are typically projected to have flown and fought in late 1945 and into 1946 are jets, the Luftwaffe jets being most often noted. Turbine engine maturity was still far away however, with reliability, vulnerability and fuel consumption being the primary issues.
Had WWII actually continued into 1946, it is very likely that the jet presence would have continued to increase, but it is also very likely that some interesting refinements of production aircraft would have seen series production. The aircraft in the following three articles depict aircraft that were under development and scheduled for introduction into squadron service at the end of WWII.
Contrary to popular belief, the F2G Super Corsair project was not begun in 1944 specifically to combat the increasing threat of kamikaze attacks. As far back as March 1943, Pratt & Whitney had hung its huge, developmental, Wasp Major, R-4360 powerplant on an early "birdcage" version of the F4U. By 1944 the Chance Vought company was busy cranking out as many of their Corsairs as quickly as they could. In an effort not to distract Vought from their production efforts, the US Navy turned to Goodyear who was also employed building the essentially identical FG-1 Corsair, to explore the much higher powered version of the big fighter.
Rather interestingly, the F2G was not much faster than it contemporary R-2800 powered siblings at altitude, in fact it was slower than the F4U-4 and F4U-5 above 15,000ft. Where the F2G really showed its stuff was at low altitude. Rate of climb was a blistering 4,400 fpm and top speed on the deck was some 60 mph faster than the R2800 powered versions of the F4U.
The F2G was to be built in two subtypes, one carrier based with hydraulically folding wings, arresting gear and other carrier required equipment. This was to be the F2G-1. The F2G-2 was to be a land based version with manually folding wings and most of the carrier required equipment removed.
Unlike the XP-72, ten F2G prototype aircraft were built and most survived their flight test program. Quite a few were converted to pylon racers subsequent to WWII and a some are still flying to this day.
F2G Super-Corsair, BuNo 88459 Otaki / Lone Star
This is the oldest of the three models of this trio, built back in the mid 1980s. At the time, if you wanted to build an early model of the Corsair, the kit to build was the Otaki kit. It had a few rare features for it's day including engraved panel lines and it made a pretty good starting point for an F2G conversion.
Lone Star's conversion parts were designed specifically for the Otaki kit. They consisted of a resin barrel section to extend the cowling, forward upper fuselage replacement piece, cut down rear fuselage (upper portion) and a new vertical tail. The conversion also included a vacuformed bubble canopy. I said "They consisted" because some time after I completed this model I was told that many people complained of difficulty in altering the kit fuselage to use the resin replacement parts. As such, Lone Star reworked their conversion to a vac replacement fuselage with all the cowl and fuselage details altered. I have not seen this version so I can't comment, but I don't remember the kit as being that difficult to alter using the resin pieces.
Lone Star provided drawings to show where the fuselage needed to be cut to accept the new parts. The fuselage halves were laid on the drawings and scored according to the instructions. The scrap pieces were then snapped off and the edges cleaned up. One incorrect feature of the Otaki kit actually worked in my favor in this case. The kit cockpit comes with a floor which is incorrect for the version the kit is intended to portray, but which is correct for the F2G. The F2G was actually the first Corsair to feature a floor and this was added to all subsequent variants of the Corsair starting with the F4U-4. The cockpit was painted and installed in the fuselage which was carefully assembled minus it's upper fuselage. The resin replacement parts were then super-glued to the fuselage and then Squadron putty was uses to fill any gaps.
Most of the F2G's were equipped (or intended to be equipped) with only four 50 caliber machine guns instead of the six usually found on machine gun armed Corsairs. Photographs taken from the forward quarter of this aircraft however clearly show it had openings for the standard six guns. Other photographs also show that for flight test, the openings in the wing were covered with some kind of tape. I simulated the tape with strips of red decal.
While I had a couple of pictures of F2Gs in both military and civilian paint schemes, it was a single photo of F2G-2 BuNo 88459 that caught my eye. The aircraft was painted in a standard Dark Sea Blue with the exception of the cowl which was decorated with a bright checkerboard pattern. In the photo that I was working from, it appeared that the checkerboard was painted red and white.
Some recent references that I have seen, suggest that this checkerboard pattern was painted in blue & white or blue & yellow. I find this hard to believe. Looking at several different pictures of this aircraft, the darker of the two colors is sometimes darker than the basic dark navy blue of the fuselage and sometimes it appears slightly lighter. This variance is most easily observed by comparing the "sawtooth" portion of the pattern along the leading edge of the cowl to the background color. This variance suggests, to me, that these darker checks are red. This is the kind of difference that appears frequently in black and white film of the time. If the checks were blue, their relationship to the fuselage color ought to remain constant and this is not the case. It also seems odd to me to use a slightly different blue color for the darker checks, when blue checks would have been easier to make by simply masking the basic paint color and only painting the lighter color. I remain convinced the darker checkerboard color is red.
On the other hand, the lighter colored checks on my model are very likely incorrect, unfortunately. Photos I've seen (after the model was built, of course) of this aircraft with a pilot standing in front of it show that the lighter colored checks match the yellow Mae West on the pilot almost exactly. Thus it seems that the correct colors for the checker board is red and yellow.
That having been said, my best guess at the time was red and white. I searched all over the place to find red & white checkerboard decals in the right size. The best I could come up with were the decals for a checker-tailed F-86. These tail checkers were cut up and the sections applied, one by one, to the nose. The rest of the aircraft is painted in the standard late war camouflage as applied to US Corsairs.
In the last year or so Hobbycraft has announced that they will release an injection molded F2G kit and Pend Oreille has released a resin kit. Both of these will are in 1/48 scale. Aviation Usk has released a kit of the F2G in 1/72 which I understand is quite nice although I haven't actually seen it. All of these kits are very likely to eclipse the Lone Star conversion, but for quite a long time it was the only game in town.
My primary reference for this project was a single picture in an old issue of Air International magazine which, unfortunately, I can no longer find and the old "Aero Series" book. Other contemporary and some more recent references which cover the F2G include:
Model, Images and Article Copyright
© 1999 by Mike Millette
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