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1/48 Academy F4U-1 Corsair USAAC

by Larry G Johnson


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One of the model clubs I belong to, the IPMS: Techmages, is an imaginative modeling group.  Most of us have many modeling interests but we all build sci-fi, fantasy, alternate reality, gaming minis and other such subjects.  This was a foray into an alternate reality several of us undertook.  The concept was to assume the F4U Corsair was delivered to the U.S. Army Air Corp.  We decided on markings for several P-51s of the 4th FG and put them on F4Us.  My choice of markings was for Duane W. Beeson and his P-51B “Bee”.  This is the Academy 1/48th “Birdcage” Corsair.  Having built several Academy and Tamiya Corsairs, I can recommend the Tamiya kit hands down. It’s a much better kit for a couple of dollars more.  I chose the Birdcage version since Beeson flew an earlier P-51B.  Our group’s decision was a P-51B warranted a Birdcage Corsair while a P-51C would use a F4U-1A and an F4U-1D would represent a D model Mustang.  Other than supplementing the kit decals with Superscale decals for Beeson’s Mustang and adding seat belts, the kit was built out of the box.

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The Academy kit lacks mainly in the cockpit and general fit.  The cockpit is very basic and poorly represents the Corsair floor, or lack thereof (of course, not much can be seen once the fuselage halves are together).  Fit in general was interesting but the main points that were troublesome were the gun barrel inserts on the wings, the intercooler parts in the wings, and the fit of the wings themselves to the fuselage.  It wasn’t impossible by any means or even difficult really, but when you’ve built the Tamiya kit and see how easily they make it work…  I painted the model in Model Master Acryls, O.D upper surfaces, medium grey lower, pre-shading the panel lines with a Sharpie marker.  I mistakenly painted the upper wing stripes black when they should be white like the rest of the markings.  I blame the Superscale directions for that (and my lack of attention to my references).  The red cowling and prop hub completed a look that I felt emulated Beeson’s Mustang on a Corsair.  I used the sparse kit decals for Corsair data and these silvered and eventually fell off.  I had thought my finish looked fine and I was exonerated when the Superscale decals applied in the same session went down perfectly.  I added some mild chipping with a silver artist’s pencil around the walkway, cowling, wing edges and liberally around the gun ports.  The quality of these photos lacks, I am sorry to say, as these were really in progress photos to show off to friends via the internet.  The model needed replacement decals for the Corsair data and an antenna wire and final flat coat to be complete but while moving to a new apartment, the model was attacked by a five feet long 10 inch wide piece of oak (intended as a base for a 1/200 Yamato) and completely destroyed along with an equally nearly finished AM Yak-1.  These four photos are all that is left short of some spares for the scrap box.


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Photos and text © by Larry G Johnson

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