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Soccer War Corsair

by David W. Aungst

 

 

Soccer War Corsair

 

 


Tamiya's 1/48 scale F4U-1D Corsair is available online from Squadron.com

 

Background

 

Every so often I run across an aviation picture or artwork that captures my imagination and inspires me to build a model. The box art on the Hobby Craft FG-1D "Post War" Corsair kit (stock #HC1529) is one such occurrence. The box art depicts a Salvadoran FG-1D as seen in the 1969 time period. I do not remember seeing this box art when the kit was first released some time ago, but when I came across the kit on the shelves of a hobby shop this spring, I had to buy it (Click thumbnail at left to view the larger image).

What really got me was the fact that I had almost never seen a Corsair in any colors except blue (all blue, tri-color blue, blue/gray, etc...). Here I have a shape that everybody recognizes in a color scheme that just looks wrong. I had to build it. The background aircraft in the Hobby Craft box art is a Honduran Air Force Corsair (either an F4U-4 or F4U-5). The two countries participated against each other in a minor conflict known as the "Football War" (or "Soccer War" as it is known in the States). The background aircraft may someday be the subject of another Corsair model to go with the one built in this article.

 

 

The Kit

 

While I loved the box art, I was not particularly happy with the actual model kit in the Hobby Craft box. It is not that the Hobby Craft kit is a bad kit. The trouble was that I had just recently completed the new F4U-1D Corsair from Tamiya and the Hobby Craft kit is not as nice as the Tamiya offering (in my opinion). I decided to secure another Tamiya kit and build it using the Hobby Craft kit decals.

 

 

The Tamiya Corsair builds extremely easily. I had no construction problems (especially since this was my second time building the kit). I mostly built the kit straight from the box, only adding the following items:

  • Weapons    The Tamiya kit already provides the launchers and pylons. All I needed was the weapons. I wanted 5" HVAR Rockets and a couple of W.W.II vintage bombs. I obtained all of these from the Hasegawa P-38L kit.
    • I had trouble with the size of the rockets. Either Tamiya made the wing launchers too small or Hasegawa made the rockets too big. It is hard to say which is the case. In either event, I was only able to mount two rockets under either wing. The fins on the rockets would not clear each other if I attempted to put any more rockets under the wings.
    • I think the bombs are 750 Pound bombs. I understand the F4U-1 kit from Tamiya actually provides bombs. Why Tamiya chose to delete them from the F4U-1D kit is a mystery to me. I did need to add bomb sway braces to the pylons, though. I obtained these from a Monogram F-8 Crusader kit.
  • Antennae     I wanted to add a DF "football" antenna under the fuselage and a large blade antenna on top of the fuselage. I obtained these from the Hobby Craft FG-1D kit.

 

 

Camouflage and Markings

 

The model is painted in Testors Model Master and Floquil Military enamel paints. All the interior portions of the kit, including the cockpit, were painted in Zinc Chromate Green. I used Testors Model Master Interior Black to paint the instrument panels in the cockpit. I heavily weathered the interior surfaces as the airframe was pushing 30 years of use by the period of the "Soccer War". I used washes of tans, brown, and black with dry brushing of light green, light gray, and silver.

 

 

The camouflage is the whole reason I built this model. The colors I settled on for the camouflage are different from those specified in the Hobby Craft kit instructions. The kit instructions only call for three colors on the upper surfaces and are much more gray, instead of the greener colors present on the box art. The painting instructions are also somewhat lacking as they do not show both sides of the aircraft and give a completely different pattern from that seen on the box art. They also provide a scrap view of a second aircraft tail to show the placement of the optional aircraft serial number, and this scap view has a different pattern than that on the main drawing. I took all these disagreeing sources to mean I was on my own for the camouflage pattern and chose to use the box art as my guide, not the instruction sheet. After some playing around, I came up with the following colors to match the artwork on the cover of the Hobby Craft kit:

  1. Dark Green (F.S.34079)
  2. Tan (Custom Mix)
  • 10 parts Tan Special (F.S.20400)
  • 5 parts Insignia Yellow (F.S.33538)
  • 5 parts Flat White
  • 1 part SAC Bomber Green (F.S.34159)
  1. SAC Bomber Green (F.S.34159)
  2. Aggressor Green (F.S.34258)
  3. Light Ghost Gray (F.S.36375)

All of these are Testors Model Master enamels except the Dark Green (F.S.34079) which is Floquil Military enamel.

  Model Picture

These are my interpretations of someone else's artwork interpretation. I have not found it written anywhere what the true colors of the Salvadoran camouflage were. Hence, I have no idea what the real colors actually should be. I have seen a single color photograph of an FG-1D in this camouflage, but the picture is grainy and taken from the shadow side of the aircraft, making it hard to determine the colors. It does look much darker, overall, than the Corsair on the Hobby Craft box art. Whether my model is right or wrong, I built it to represent the aircraft in the box art.

I started by painting the bottom of the model in Ghost Gray and the entire upper surfaces in the Aggressor Green. I then added a random coverage of about 50% of the upper surfaces in the SAC Green. I continued with a random covering of the Tan color, keeping in mind that I wanted to simulate a person with a spray gun just standing next to the aircraft and creating patches of tan that were within an arms reach. I finished with the Dark Green, applied using the same consideration that I used on the Tan color. The box art showed that the Dark Green was also used for smaller "highlight" spotting around the airframe. When I was done, I felt I had captured the spirit of the box art as well as creating the most complex camouflage I had ever attempted (except for a couple of JAWS camouflaged A-10 Warhogs).

 

 

The decals came from the Hobby Craft kit. They presented no real difficulties and reacted well to setting solution. I only needed 12 decals for the whole model. I did note that the kit decals were very brittle compared to other decals I have used. I tried to move one of the decals off of its backing paper before it was completly ready, and the decal started to break up. I gave it another minute to free itself of the backing paper and then had no trouble moving it. The breakage was internal to the decal (not a full tear) and did not effect movement or placement of the decal after it was free of the backing paper.

I heavily weathered the airframe with thinned down enamel paints using washes and air brush shading. Then I applied a significant amount of silver dry brushing. Additionally, I picked off a significant number of bolt heads on the removable forward fuselage access panels using the tip of a 10/0 brush and silver paint. From what I read, the Salvadoran Corsairs were well used and abused. For a more complete discussion of what I do to weather my models, see my posting on "Weathering Aircraft".

 

Additional Images and Project Summary

 

Click the thumbnails below to view images full-sized.
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Project Statistics

Completion Date:

18 August 1999

Total Building Time:

36.8

Research:

2.8

Construction:

7.2

Painting:

23.7

Decals / Markings:

1.3

Extra Detailing / Conversion:

1.8

Text and Images Copyright 2001 by David W. Aungst
Page Created 31 July, 2001
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

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