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James Kelley
77 articles

Tamiya 1/32 F4U-1 “Birdcage” Corsair

January 26, 2014 · in Aviation · · 20 · 2.3K

It's finished, at last. 🙂

I started this project in August 2013. I finished it up yesterday.

There's really nothing I can say that hasn't already been's the best kit I've ever built. It's built out of the box, with the exceptions of Barracudacals cockpit placards & stencils, and Eduard seat harness, and the coiled solder used as an antennae tensioner.
ID light lenses were created using white glue.

acrylics were used exclusively, mixed according to the kit's suggestions.
Weathering was done with airbrushing and artists' oils.

I realized while editing the photos that I need to add the manufacturer's plates to the propeller blades, and the port elevator linkage must've been brushed off while wiping down the oils. Hope I can find it. I also know that I need to replace the shackles on the hard points...all four broke off while handling the wing sections. Oh, boy...

Regardless, I'm pretty happy with the outcome

Reader reactions:
8  Awesome

24 additional images. Click to enlarge.

20 responses

  1. Nice work, James...your time and effort were obviously well spent. I've yet to begin mine, but assuming there is no such thing as a "perfect kit", is there anything specific I should be wary of?

    • Not really, Craig, no.

      Just take your time, and read the instructions. This kit is legitimately the best, most enjoyable model I've ever built.

      The six months thing was much more of a time constraint on my part - new job, no time, blahblahblah - as opposed to difficulty. It's not difficult at all. Complex, yes. But an easy build.

      I would highly recommend Sutherland's cockpit decals, though. Worth every penny.

      And, with regards to "perfect kits"...this is as close as anyone has ever come. Seriously.

    • Craig, if i may chime in here, i have one under construction as well. James is dead on- This kit really lives up to the hype. However, you really need to study the instructions before starting this project. All the parts fit perfectly as long as you follow the instructions. This includes the part where the wing spar channels are inserted into the wing- without cement. I'm presently bogged down painting the cockpit, but the rest of the assemblies are put together and ready to go.

      Unlike the Trumpeter kit, this kit is NOT over engineered. Every thing that looks like it would be a disaster to put together is not. Plus, this model is beefy- built like the proverbial brick you know what. None of the structural weaknesses found in the Revell or trumpeter kits.

      Worth every penny. So far, it's the best kit i've ever built, too.

  2. James,
    This absolutely stunning. I really like the fact that you did this without an overuse of weathering. Granted, they all showed definite signs of wear but you have brought out the beauty of this airplane. Great work, I can't say enough good about what you have done.

  3. I'd be happy too. It looks great.

  4. Congratulations James, that looks great. I am not at a skill point where it would be worth the expense and effort for me to try that kit yet, but it was a pleasure looking at the work that you did on it. The close up photos show off the detail well and the finish and weathering make it look like the real thing.

    • Actually, if you have the skill to build a Tamiya 1/48 kit, you have the skill to build this. It's designed that way, it just takes a bit longer (and a willingness to be a radical American male and actually read and follow the instructions 🙂 )

  5. Bravo, James, Not more need be said.
    Fly Navy


  6. Way to go, James, it's a beauty. I know some people complain about the price of these kits, but, if you got six months of enjoyable building time out of it, and ended up with such a good looking model, then I think it represents something of a bargain.

  7. Hi,

    Very nice work for this beautiful bird. Congratulations.

    Best regards, Eric from France

  8. Excellent model James. One question tho'. You chose to complete the build with the wings folded. I'm always in a quandry when faced with this option as folding the wings "hides" the view of the whole aircraft, if you know what I mean. Did you have a dilema whether to build it with wings folded or extended? Great looking Corsair either way 🙂

    • Hi Gregor, thanks...!

      I always build the wings folded when given the opportunity. I like the way it looks! If (when) I do another of these kits, maybe I'll model it "wings down."

  9. Terrific. Everything is spot on.

  10. picture perfect...beautiful job

  11. Fantastic build James. I have heard that that kit was top notch plastic and it shows.
    Well done.

  12. Yo0u can get away with not having the prop decals - they frequently wore off. Also no need to worry about the shackles, since they were removed when not carrying a load. In fact, those bomb racks were mostly removed from Solomons Corsairs like the one you have done. You can re-do the linkage with evergren rod if it comes down to it.

    Nice model there.

    • Thanks, Tom.

      I'll probably fix the issues anyways, for completeness's sake.
      I figured that the prop decals didn't last long IRL...I can't remember ever seeing any in photos, now that we're talking about it.

      Learned something new about the shackles, today. Good to know! 🙂

  13. Thanks one and all fr the kind words of encouragement. It really is appreciated.

  14. James, really a beautiful job on this super kit. From all that has been said, it sounds like it is difficult not to wind up with a winner, but yours looks like an extra special success, with a lot of attention to detail. Well done, and thanks for posting. I'm envious!

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