1:48 Arii F4U-1A Corsair, Kepford’s “White 29”
Here’s my rendition of the Arii (originally produced by Otaki?) 1:48 scale F4U-1A Corsair. Even though it’s well over thirty years old, the Arii kit builds into a nice Corsair. The good points are very accurate outline and shapes, finely recessed panel lines, and great parts fit. Drawbacks are a simple and inacurate cockpit and wheels, and an engine that doesen’t remotely resemble any engine used in any aircraft. Here’s how I upgraded the kit: I replaced the cartoonish engine with with a resin R-2800, updated the cockpit with Eduard photoetched insturment panel, seat and sidewall details, and used seatbelts and wheels from True Details. I replaced ther kit tail wheel with a more accurate-looking one from the spares box, and attached it at an angle for a more candid appearance. I also cut away the flaps and dropped them, added exhaust stacks made from drilled-out styrene rod, and added a small whip antenna to the fuselage spine. I couldn’t determine if this plane had the tail hook removed or not, so I left it on.
VF-17’s Corsairs didn’t have the usual antenna mast, and some had unusual field-modified antennas. Based on photos, I built an antenna that runs fron the top if the vertical fin down to the tip of the right horizontal stabilizer. From there, it runs into the usual antenna lead-in on the right side of the fuselage, behind the cockpit. I don’t know for certain if it’s accurate, but that’s how I interpreted the antenna arrangment in photos.
I used a Pasche VL airbrush to apply the three-toned camouflage scheme, though most photos of the actual aircraft indicate it was very weathered, with almost no distiction between the non-specular sea blue upper surfaces and the intermidiate blue sides.
For markings, I used a SuperScale sheet to portray “White 29”, the plane flown by Lt. Ira Kepford of VF-17 while based at Ondonga, New Georgia, in the Solomon Islands in late 1943. I made a mistake in not placing the kill markings at the correct angle to the tape covering the seams of the forward fuselage cell.
VF-17 was the first navy squadron to be equipped with the Corsair. Assigned briefly to USS Bunker Hill, the squadron was soon transferred to the Solomon Islands to serve as a land-based squadron. In its two tours of duty in the Solomons, VF-17 was credited 156 aerial victories and produced 12 aces, the most of any squadron in the Navy. Kepford was the U.S. Navy’s 6th highest ranking ace with 16 victories and 8 probables.
7 additional images. Click to enlarge.