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F4U1a Corsair: VF-17 – 1/48 Tamiya

This is the Tamiya 1/48 F-4U1a Corsair – an older build of mine when I first tried out Lifecolor Acrylics. These went on very smoothly but tended to clog the airbrush until I got them thinned correctly. The color differentiation between the non-specular sea blue and ns medium blue is not very strong (especially when the darker blue is weathered) but neither is it very clear on photos of Ira Kepford’s a/c, which this represents.

I tried to weather the finish to show the effect of the coral dust on the runways VF-17 used as well as sun-bleaching (as is well known). I re-sprayed lightened shades over darker and also used pastels over an oil pin-wash. I didn’t go for a lot of chipping, though. I will embark on a couple of versions of the 1/32nd Tamiya eventually and photographing this again is interesting when considering painting challenges all around.

As for mods and after-market, the cockpit is partly Eduard and I wired the engine with a homemade ignition harness made from fine solder. All the rest of the detail is Tamiya, which is very fine in 1/48. The Tamiya kit is very well designed and very accurate, as most of you know, except for the step cut into the inside flap, which I filled. A pleasure to build and a relaxing way to get out of a modeling slump.

I hope you like this. Comments welcome.

16 additional images. Click to enlarge.


18 responses to F4U1a Corsair: VF-17 – 1/48 Tamiya

  1. Very sharp looking Corsair Colin.

  2. Beautifully done!

  3. Nice and subtle weathering….love it

  4. Very sharp, as Dale said.

    One thing (which you can see in photos), when these airplanes operated from those coral runways on places like Bougainville, not only did they get dusty, but the prop tips got sandblasted. There’s a well-known photo of this airplane, with the sand-blasting up about 1/4-1/3 the way of the blade from the tip, with the tip totally paint free. Easy to do. Information for future projects.

    Attaching a photo that shows this, since a picture is always worth several thousand explanatory words.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  5. Very nicely built, Colin!

  6. Great work Colin, I like what I see!

  7. Colin, Very nice looking Corsair, and I like the clean build (light weathering touch), remember they were all pretty at some time, so you can’t go wrong with less weathering, but you can go wrong with too much. Well done !

    • Thanks, Terry. I generally go for color schemes that are pleasing to the eye and the US Navy tricolor scheme is striking. I wanted to get as close as I could to authentic wear, especially for Kepford’s plane (which looks a bit darker than his squadron mate’s) but I wanted to keep those blue tones.

  8. One thing that about aircraft is that they had a life span either being around for hours,days or years and you can really only model a snap shot of the career of a aircraft. Or a moment in time. So Colin your paint job is apropos. The Collings Foundation has a Hellcat in their collection and they have restored it to represent a day or two from the leaving the factory with the correct paint job. Your interpretation could easily be on the side of a Tamiya box too.

    Two thumbs up.

    • Thanks, Stephen. I agree completely about not depending on small numbers of photos. I do my weathering slowly and often in a reversible way before I put the final flat coat on. That’s why I like oils and pastels, very forgiving and allowing for experimentation until it looks “right.”

  9. Great looking Corsair! Paint work looks nice. I’ve had similar issues with Lifecolor – not sure I want to use them again…

    • Thanks, Greg. I’m really glad you like it. I have continued to use Lifecolor. I am very happy with the low toxicity – no smell at all and with very clear labeling about ingredients (or lack of dangerous ones). I’ve learned to use them and they are very durable over top of a primer coat. They also don’t react over or under other acrylics like Tamiya. My biggest discomfort with them now is that they can dry out in the bottle suddenly but I make sure I seal them well after each use.

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