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David Hansen
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ALMOST as good as the 32nd scale Tamiya Corsair…… The 72nd scale Tamiya Corsair

January 27, 2014 · in Aviation · · 26 · 2.2K

Following on James Kelley's excellent article on the 32nd scale Birdscage, and because i am totally bereft of originality, i thought i'd post an article on my latest labour of love.

This is my latest 72nd scale , Number 3, done in the markings of Major Herman Hansen of VMF-112, while deployed aboard USS BENNINGTON. This plane is fairly well documented in photographs, but not built nearly as much as Roger Hedrick's infamous "This End Up" Corsair deployed aboard USS BUNKER HILL.

I'd be insulting everyones intelligence by saying, "Basically it was straight out of the box", but what i will say is the model looks just as good built from the box, as this one does here. But for those of you who want the rundown, here goes...

1) The R-2800 engine was rigged with an ignition harness. I had to add a ring of styrene behind the kit crankcase so i had enough surface area to drill holes with a #80 drill bit to rig ignition lines through.

2) The landing gear was improved by adding tie down rings from HO scale eye bolts, and shrink rods and brake lines were added. God do i hate doing that. The tail wheel truss was opened out, the catapult holdback fitting was replaced, and a new tailwheel post was made from plastic rod. The arresting hook was cut free to get it out of the way, then re-attached using a piece of copper wire as a locating pin.

3) The wingtip lights were notched out and replaced with chunks of clear sprue. Tamiya has since discovered that the wingtip lights are a lot bigger than what they put on the 48th and 72nd scale kits. I also bored out holes near the wing fold line and added windows for the gun camera and LSO Line Up light. That white thing was the beginnings of a re-built wing stall warning strip. The ID and formation keeping lights were sourced from MV lenses, found in the model railroading section.

4) The elevators and rudder were cut free of the empennage and repositioned in a more realistic fashion, and new antenna posts were made from brass rod, filed down to a more or less aerofoil shape. The light in the tail cone is a piece of Plastruct .010 styrene rod.

5) This is from my NEXT Corsair project, but i added Plastruct rod to build up the back of the seat frame. i also added photo etched belts and buckles from Eduard (not shown)

6) The underwing flap fairings are a bit undersized in the kit, so i removed them and built new ones from Evergreen bar stock and carefully sanded them to the right profile.

7) The model was painted with a mix of 70% Model Master Insignia Blue, and 30% Model Master Gloss Sea Blue. I applied a glosscoat of Future and used mostly the kit decals, although i overpainted the stars and the BENNINGTON Pine trees with Flat White to fix the ivory-coloured tone of the kit decals. After sealing the decals down with another coat of Future i applied an enamel wash of Model Master Gloss Engine Gray to the panel lines. This was then sealed with a semi gloss made from adding Tamiya Flat base to Future. The anti glare area on the forward fuselage is just Future, with even more Tamiya flat base added to it. It's a cheap way to go and it gives me lots of control over how dull or shiny the final surface is. And then i got up to this point, and lost interest. And there it sat on the Shelf of Doom for over a year...

8) And then finally i got a burr up my backside and finished the thing a few weeks ago.

These kits really are great. They have more foibles than the 32nd scale Corsairs, but they are easier than the 48th scale ones. Roy Sutherland once said that 72nd scale was made for paint schemes, and there's a lot of truth in that. Between this kit, the Eduard Hellcat, the Academy Helldiver and the Hasegawa Avengers, Wildcats, and Dauntlesses you could pretty much spend your entire career building carrier based subjects. I'm well on the way now. I'm doomed. No hope for me.

Hope you likee.


Reader reactions:
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26 responses

  1. I have done a very few 1/72 scale models, and a few Corsair kits, but none as nice as this one. One 21st Century in 1/32, a couple of Tamiyas, an Academy, a Revell or two and straighened out the wings on another - all in 1/48. My current WIP is the 1/48 Acc Min F-2G Corsair racer version, and the landing gear assemblies are adjusting my attitude. Wonderful results!

    • Larry i have the Special Hobby F2G in 72nd scale and i hope to eventually get round to building it. If you need any help with it i have some F2G stuff so let me know.
      I cannot say enough good things about the 32nd scale Tamiya kit, and there's excellent aftermarket stuff out there for it with more on the way. Building this now, i ask myself why did i ever waste my time struggling with the old Revell kit. Fortunately i managed to dodge that Trumpeter 32nd scale bullet.

      Thanks for the kind words!

  2. Stunning! Fantastically detailed for 1/72 you must have the patience of a saint! The thing i like about 1/72 models is that you have room for more examples than the bigger scales. This one is a beauty. I LIKE it!

    • well, i'm a flight instructor teaching Chinese kids how to fly. Patience is kind of a prerequisite for the job. LOL

      BTW, i still like 48th scale... and a couple of 32nd scale subjects too, heh heh heh...

  3. David,
    Some thoughts ...strong,effective work that makes the viewer think and feel that they're looking at a Corsair in 1:1. Inspirational, where can I sign up for the Tamiya 1/72nd build program?

    Two thumbs up.

  4. Well done David. Good to see someone else working in 72nd scale. As you have shown, small doesn't necessarily mean lack of detail.

    • I'm a believer in the saying, "only add detail if you can see it".

      If details show up in photos taken from 50 feet away or so, they will be incorporated in the model.

  5. Nice clean build, 1:72 is a great scale to model aircraft in. Just in passing, what do the white stripes over the gun port represent? (Just curious, I'm a ship builder).

    • Mike the white stripes are actually some sort of tape that was applied over the machine gun ports to keep out foreign debris. If you look at photos of Carrier-Based Corsairs, you will see this a lot. Not sure if it was simply masking tape, or strips of fabric glued on with nitrocellulose dope.

  6. very nice work...still waiting for the revell 1/32 [smile]

  7. A really nice job done there David. Some great detail added or enhanced.
    Well done sir.

  8. Nice work there. It just needed to age properly. 🙂

  9. Beautiful work on this wonderful bird. Congratulations


  10. Dave, I don't even know where to start. That is one great Lookin bird . Just goes to show what can be done in my favorite scale . When are you going to start teaching the rest of us your Zen and the art of small scale modeling !

  11. Very impressive, David, in any scale, let alone 1/72. I hope you have more success with your Chinese students teaching them how to fly than I do trying to teach them English!

  12. As a "1/72 only" modeler I really appreciate your attention to detail. Inspires me to take it up another notch, though I'll probably have to do so in stages! Really outstanding work.

  13. Great scratch work on the engine considering it's 72nd scale! Your work is an inspiration to me another 72nd scaler!

    • Thanks Farouk. This model was completed several years ago and it is one of ...5? where i added ignition wires to the R-2800.

      I can tell you it took a hell of a toll on my eyesight (i did them before i started using magnifying glasses) and i'm not sure its entirely worth the effort.

      The model won 2nd in 72nd scale, Single-Engine Allied Aircraft- Navy at the IPMS Phoenix Nationals last year, I was beaten out for 1st by Terry Schuler, who also re-wired his Corsair powerplant. Considering how much light gets into the front of the cowling i'd say re-wiring the engine is only recommended for those "Hunting for Bear" on the contest circuit. The model really doesn't look bad without them, and ignition wires on my 72nd scale Hellcat are practically invisible. Given how small the model advice would be to spend your time detailing a model like this only where the detail will be readily visible.

  14. Ahoy David,
    The devil is in the details. After viewing this model, I can only conclude that you and the devil are pals because you sure got the details right. It's always nice to see a real pro at work. I am inspired to do better on my own models. Great job and thanks for the pictures.

    • Thanks Thomas. Believe it or not, 72nd scale aircraft have improved by leaps and bounds, since i built that model. A lot of today's offerings give you the same degree of detail, straight from the box. Hopefully though some of the techniques here can be applied to older model kits that can help bring them up to contemporary standards

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