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Drew Tarter
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1/48 Hasegawa F4U-4 Corsair

October 3, 2013 · in Aviation · · 14 · 4.7K

Here'a another one of my older builds, 's -4 . Released in 1981 (over 32 years ago!) the Hasegawa -4 features good fit, excellent overall shape and outline, raised panel lines for those who care (I do not), and very basic cockpit detail. The main gear doors have fine detail, but the gear wells are featureless and too shallow, but I left them as is. I did make the following improvement to address some of the kits' other shortcomings:

I replaced the canopy with a vac-formed one from Falcon, and dressed up the cockpit with an Eduard photo-etched instrument panel and cockpit detail set. I cut away the wingtip lights and made new ones fro Micro Crystal-Clear, and used my wife's hair to make a scale antenna wire. The kit comes with no under-wing pylons or ordnance, just a pair of drop tanks. I scratch-built the pylons and raided my spares box to come up with four HVAR's, a 1,000-pound general purpose and two small anti-personnel bombs to hang under the wings. The load-out of five-inch rockets and bombs is typical for a ground attack mission during the Korean War. The biggest change I made was to cut out and drop the flaps.

I used kit decals to depict an F4U-4 from VF-192 'Ghostriders', deployed aboard USS Princeton on a 1951 Korean War cruise.

Reader reactions:
8  Awesome

3 additional images. Click to enlarge.

14 responses

  1. Really nice job Drew, but did you have to remind me that 1981 was over 32 years ago ? I was all smiles till I read that ! lol Looks great !

  2. Excellent build, Drew...and eye-catching photographic work as well. The stark difference between the model and background really does the trick. (how'd you set that up for the pics, anyway?)

  3. Thanks, Craig! I use a very simple setup to shoot my models - just a large piece of poster paper, placed on a table on my patio. The patio is covered, so I shoot in open shade, which provides soft, even light. I put some small flower pots behind the paper to curve it upwards gently behind the model, which gives me a smooth, seamless background. I'm a professional photographer, so I have all the gear I need. Usually, though, I take the overall shots with a 105mm lens, and the closeup shots with a 28-75mm wide angle zoom, that has a macro, or close-focusing, capability.

  4. Actually, the model would have been the last release of Mania, the Japanese model company that revolutionized plastic models (the one before this would have been theKi.27) - they started in 1/72 around 1972 with a ki.27, a B5N-2 and a Ki.15. First company to do engraved surface detail and provide some detail in cockpits. They went out of business in 1975 and were bought out by Hasegawa, who also hired their designers, after hiring away their first designer in 1972 to create the Hasegawa 1/72 P-40N and P-40E. Bf-109g, J2M Jack, N1K2-J Geeorge, Fw-190A and D, P-47s and P-51D kits of the early/mid 70s. The Ki.27 was the very last one released by Mania, with the F4U-4 and A6M5 being the first (Mania) Hasegawa releases.

    It's amazing that the 32 year old Hasegawa F4U-4 is still the only good kit of this airplane out there - it still beats the new HobbyBoss kit for accuracy.

    One thing they missed with these decals (admittedly a real nitpick) is that USN F4U-4 squadrons in the first part of Korea, 1950-51, were most all the early F4U-4 with the F4U-1D canopy, the Navy having let the Marines take all the late production F4U-4s and F4U-4Bs with the later canopy. But that's no put-down of this really nice model. Lots of good work there, Drew.

    • said on October 7, 2013

      Yep right with you there on the Hasegawa being the best for accuracy- not sure what the overpriced fuss of the HB kit is all about. Wings with a fold option, but a "hinge" that was never on any corsair- yadda, yadda, ad infinitum on the errors, and yet many rave about it- can't figure it out.

      I have some academy kits too- once I fix the fuselage width (vac replacement canopy) and adjust the tail to be offset (like on the real plane), it looks pretty good with a replacement prop- I consider the Academy second to the Hasegawa but it is work to correct.

  5. Thanks, Tom - I always appreciate your comments, and the backstory you so often provide on kits and aircraft.

  6. Another fine example of a true "Mud Mover", GREAT JOB!

  7. You've certainly got the way with the camera, Drew, the headline picture almost looks like a print of the aircraft. Very nice finish on this, especially the details on the armament. Age is a wonderful thing, I've been watching an old Rod Stewart concert, when introducing one song he said "my wife was only one year old when I recorded this!".

  8. Drew,
    I really like what you have done here. You have brought this Corsair to life. I have built a number of these and I agree it is probably the best overall regardless of lack of detail in some areas. But then again the industry has changed so much over the years that some of these gems have been overlooked. What you did with this one is the reason that some of these older kits should never be overlooked or forgotten. This is outstanding.

    • Thanks very much, Frank. I did break down and buy the new 1/48 HobbyBoss F4U-4. Haven't built it yet, but it looks terrific in the box. It's got some shape issues the old Hasegawa kit doesn't have, but it does has a lot of features I really like, such as the option to drop the flaps, fold the wings, and display open gun bays. But as Tom Cleaver correctly says, the three-decades-old Hasegawa kit is still the most accurate 1/48 F4U-4 available today.

  9. A nice clean job on "the whistling death"...Always a favorite Naval aircraft of mine, great job!

  10. a stunning job on one of my favorite kits...i'm working on one right now myself...other than the anemic landing gear it builds a beautiful corsair...super job

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