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KIT REVIEW


Revell F4U-1B Corsair Royal Navy -- 1:72 Scale



The Vought F4U Corsair was one of the most legendary airplanes of the 20th century, serving the U.S., U.K., New Zealand, and the free French.  Yet, in its early days, the Corsair was far from a feasible carrier-based fighter in the eyes of the U.S. Navy.  But, necessity is a powerful force, and so desperate were the British for carrier based aircraft to fight the Nazi threat that they adapted the Corsair to their carriers.  Corsairs went on to have a long and distinguished service life with the Fleet Air Arm.  In this recent kit, Revell has reissued their 2014 tooling of the F4U and included FAA markings.  Let’s check out their “Bent Wing Bird.”  

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In early 1938, the U.S. Navy Bureau of Aeronautics published a request for proposal for a high-speed, single-engine fighter that had a range of at least 1,000 miles.  Vought’s winning design featured the ultra-powerful Pratt and Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial engine that sported the largest diameter propeller ever fitted to a fighter up to that point.  Consequently, an inverted gull-wing design was used to keep the landing gear as short and robust as possible while also providing ground clearance for the prop.  

The Corsair became legend.  The Japanese deemed it as the most deadly fighter of the war, and it eventually accumulated an 11:1 kill ratio.  Yet, the early days of Corsair operations were not as auspicious, with problems including troublesome stalls, a landing “bounce,” and the birdcage canopy and high nose that made on-deck taxiing precarious.  These problems were all eventually solved, but not before the F4U was first adopted by the British Fleet Air Arm beginning in 1943.  Royal Navy pilots equally found the early Corsair to have dangerous landing characteristics, but despite numerous mishaps, it was still the best available option.  In Royal Navy service, Corsairs were modified to overcome some of these problems including the retrofitting of a bubble canopy and higher pilot’s seat.  Most conspicuous were the wingtips. Due to low hangar deck height, many FAA Corsairs had the outer eight inches of each wingtip panel removed.

The F4U-1 was designated the Corsair Mk. I in FAA service.  Corsair Mk. Is helped go after the feared German battleship TIRPITZ.  In the Pacific, these and subsequent Corsair marks famously participated in raids in the Dutch East Indies and eventually the Japanese mainland.

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Revell’s 1:72 scale Royal Navy Corsair kit comes on five injection molded polystyrene sprues containing 62 parts.  One clear sprue contains two parts.  The full color instruction booklet organizes the build over 28 steps.  Decals for a single airplane are provided:

Strengths:  This is a fairly simple but really nice injection molded kit of the Mk. I Corsair in 1:72 scale.  It is also modern tooling, based on a Revell of Germany kit that first came out in 2014.  The overall accuracy appears excellent.  The fit is quite good, and the surface details are really excellent.  For 1:72 scale, the recessed panel lines are very delicate and restrained - just like they should be. 

Many of the finer details, such as the landing gear, wheel hubs, and engine (parts provided for the double row rather than a just a simplified engine face), are reasonably detailed for an injection-molded kit.  Exhaust stacks are well represented with recessed concave faces – a nice touch!  I also understand that the centerline top cowl flaps were wired shut on FAA Corsair Mk. Is to prevent oil spray and exhaust from spreading onto the windscreen.  In the kit, it looks like they have represented this detail.  The clear parts are really nicely done and they possess excellent optical quality.

Optional single-piece cowl flap assemblies allow the scale modeler to build them as open or closed.  External stores are limited to a pair of underbelly drop tanks.  The decals were printed by Zanchetti and look okay from a technical perspective (though see below).

The ‘clipped’ wingtips of a FAA Corsair come on a tiny sprue inserted for this kit (Parts # 42 and 43 which represent the entirety of Sprue C). They look just fine and capture the shape and configuration of the modified assembly.  

Weaknesses:  There are a few observations to share.  First, the cockpit is a bit simplified and inaccurate, even for 1:72 scale.  To really have any detail in the cockpit, you have no choice but to use the decal instrument panels and decal seat belts.  The yellow border on the fuselage roundel is slightly but perceptibly out of register, as are the Hamilton Standard logos for the prop blades.  Also, calling this a F4U-1B Corsair is something of a terminological error on the box top and markings guide.  It really should be referred to as a Corsair Mk. I.

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Revell’s 1:72 scale Corsair kit continues to get good mileage.  Fans of Fleet Air Arm and WWII subject matter more broadly will certainly enjoy this issue of the kit, and its accuracy, relative simplicity, and nice detail extends an invitation to a wide range of scale modelers.

Sincere thanks are owed to everyone at Revell for the review sample.  You can find them on the web at https://www.revell.de/en/home/

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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** Click on the thumbnails below to view a larger image.**


   

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Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
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Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
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Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

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Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 1: Atlantic
Coast Squadrons
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Colors & Markings of the F-102
Delta Dagger

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Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 2: Pacific
Coast Squadrons

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