For those who can’t afford the big Tamiya – try the 21 Century Toys Corsair
Here is the 21st Century Toys F4U-1A Corsair, done as Ike Kepford’s VF-17 F4U-1A, and another one modified with the Montex conversion set to do an anonymous Marine F4U-1 “birdcage” circa the Rabaul campaign in late 1943.
Originally priced at $10 at Walmart, the 21CT kit can still be found for less than $20 at eBay. Outline wise, the kit is quite accurate (moreso than the Trumpeter kit) and the cockpit gives you what you basically need. The one failure is the landing gear, since it was supposed to be able to be folded. The forward door and the area of the well need re-shaping.
Also, the outer wings do not have sufficient dihedral. However, if you take a piece of plastic sheet about the thickness of a credit card and run it along the lower center wing joint, it will provide the necessary dihedral. Since you’ll already be using lots of putty and sanding sticks to smooth over the holes for the screws on both the fuslelage and the wing, this extra bit of filling/sanding/re-scribing will be hardly noticeable.
I used the Eduard photoetch interior for the instrument panel and seatbelts, and an out-of-production aftermarket Aeromaster decal sheet for the Kepford Corsair, an Eduard cockpit and Montex conversion for the F4U-1 with decals from the dungeon. I would suggest now that you get the Scale Aircraft Conversions metal landing gear, since it will be correct in its geometry.
Even if you do all this: kit for $20 on eBay, Eduard set for around $25, decals from eBay for around $15, you’re only hitting $60 total, which is one-third the price of the big new Tamiya Corsair. The surface detail on the 21CT kits is heavier than what you find on the Tamiya kit, but after looking closely at these two models when I was out a Chino today, I can say that with a good paint job and weathering, the 21CT kit can sit next to the new Tamiya uberkit and give it a run for its money in a contest.
If you want a big Corsair, these kits make up better in looks and accuracy than the Trumpeter or the Revell 1/32 F4U-1A kits.
BTW – there was a recent extended discussion at the World’s Most Wonderfullest Model Site about whether it would be accurate to display the Tamiya Corsair with wings folded and flaps dropped, with a considerable body of opinion that it looked cool to do that but wasn’t right. This morning at Chino, the Planes of Fame Corsair was sitting on the tarmac with wings folded and flaps dropped – so it can indeed be done.
22 additional images. Click to enlarge.