Profile Photo

  • 28 articles
  • 3,309 karma
  • 6 friends

Tamiya F4U-1A, 1/48. Silver Sally.

This is a build I started a few months ago as a side project and have slowly got round to finishing this last week. When I was researching for a previous build I came across this very unique one off scheme and knew I had to add it to the collection.



The History

Service Squadron 11 operated from Espirito Santos, an island off the Solomons, in 1943. During this time the Marines of the station built a mysterious Corsair from scrap and spares of the various Corsairs around them.


This resulted in the that would be given the name of 'Sally'. This was an -1A, but with no weaponry or even empty gunports. Most notably of course is the paint scheme, the aircraft was painted in an overall aluminium scheme with a thin black bar on the fuselage acting as an anti-glare strip. Along with the name 'Sally' being painted on the cowling, 'SS11' was also painted on the fuselage and gear legs.

One question is whether the aircraft was truly painted in an aluminium scheme or whether it was just bare-metal, but considering the shine is different to a bare-metal aircraft like a P-51, plus the complete uniformity of the scheme which would be unlikely if the aircraft bare-metal panels from a variety of different airframes, I think it's safe to say the aircraft was painted this colour.

At some point later in its life, 'Sally' would be repainted in an overall sea blue scheme and given the random number of '894'. The aircraft, no longer with its name painted on it, would be taken to Peleliu where it would be used for simple reconnaissance and liason missions whilst remaining unarmed.

The Build

It's a Tamiya Corsair, not much to say. That being said each kit is very slightly different in tolerances and I've built enough to notice this. I did have a little more trouble with getting the wings on straight than I've had in the past, but that's probably just down to me.


I did decide to use an Eduard PE set on this one and it came out quite nicely, though of course little can be seen. If anything though, the addition of some seatbelts should always be considered when the pilot isn't available.

Painting naturally was very simple, I mixed MRP white and titanium together to make a basic aluminium dope. Curiously, Vallejo Air Chrome (the black top dropper bottle, not their proper metallic line) should be the correct FS colour for the general Aluminium paint likely used, but I can't stand using Vallejo and couldn't get it to spray nicely so mixed my own. If anything my one is a little lacking in the lustre department.

Decals were simply the kit provided stars and bars. I then proceeded to wait almost 3 months before summoning the willpower to buy a generic decal sheet for this aircraft to make the 'SS11's, unfortunately I didn't look and assumed the two A4 sheets of various sized US stencils would include the letters I need but unfortunately each sheet included 5 of each sized number, but only 1 of each sized letter. As such the 'SS11' on one leg and fuselage side is just that, the other is two cut up '5's turned into an 'S'.

When I finally got round to doing that last week, I then could do the really heavy weathering consisting of a wash and a tiny amount of dust on the wheels. Nothing else was necessary as it seems possible the aircraft never even flew whilst painted in this scheme, it certainly looks very clean in the photographs.

Conclusions

This Corsair was the longest Corsair build I've ever done, despite being the most simple! It really took a lot of motivation to buy that decal sheet so I could make SS11 instead of just buying another model, but I eventually did so. It's certainly a stand out unique look compared to the shelves of blue bent-wing birds on the shelf.


19 responses

  1. Simply gorgeous! Love the plain looking scheme, too grey or not, and the bit of anti glare in front of the office. The scheme really pick up the lines of the Corsair. You did an amazing job of making the panel lines pop just right to break up the monotony of the light paint.

    I think you will have a bit of a different experience with Vallejo´s metal colours than the usual Model Air/Model color lines. Vallejo´s metal colours are so much thinner and spray beautifully without thinning. They can also be mixed with Vallejo´s other colours if you want to get more tonal variation. Make sure you got a smooth primer on first, like Tamiya fine grey primer, very light layers will do the trick in the end. The Vallejo metal line can be polished to a degree to even make it look more uniform and metal like. Use and old rag and your finger to polish.

    • Thank you! I have heard great things about the Vallejo metals, but I didn't want to go with them as I have a collection of MRP metals as it is and I was worried the proper Vallejo Metals would be too shiny. The Vallejo Air version seems to be the right shade and shine I wanted, but on any test models I tried it on resulted in a lumpy model!

      • Sorry, never tested the MRP metals so I can´t compare. What I can say, though, is that I love the Vallejo metal colours for their ease of use, no smell, no thinners, use from bottle, mix with other colours of Vallejo range for new shades. They take floor polish nicely for that painted aluminium lacquer look or just as a glossy layer before decalling.

  2. Very interesting scheme, well done

  3. I love oddball schemes, and this is one of the oddest-ballest. Schemes like this, with a light single color are often the hardest since there is no way of hiding a mistake in the painting or in what's under the paint. The result here is very nice. Interesting what talented knowledgeable guys with spare time on their hands can come up with!

    • It's definitely fascinating to see what those men on a random pacific island accomplished. I find it funny to think that a scrapyard full of Corsair bits and pieces was just a regular sight for them, but if that existed today it would be worth it's weight in gold.

  4. Now that is one unusual paint job and interesting Corsair story. Something completely different, that’s for sure.

  5. Beautiful corsair and fascinating story to go along with it. Superb!

  6. Amazing result, Harvey!

  7. Well done, Harvey (@scalerambush). I am always looks for unusual paint schemes, and you have really found one here. The paint and finish is immaculate! I would have the same problem with the decals. I have been experimenting with making paint stencils on my wife's die-cut machine, and have had pretty good luck doing letters and numbers in 1/32 and 1/48. I haven't tried 1/72 yet, but maybe soon. You can also get the fonts for the Navy lettering online and make your own decals on your printer.

    • Thank you! The more models I do the more I can see the value in having a die-cut machine or something similar, there are certainly a lot of interesting schemes out there that decal companies don't provide. I think a company does the decals for this plane in 1/72 but no joy in the other scales.

      I tried cutting out my own lettering on a previous build and that really made me wish I had a machine and not just a knife!

  8. Very unusual scheme indeed but like always perfectly executed, Harvey @scalerambush
    Great result on this Corsair, a real gem in this color.

  9. I love it! Well done, Harvey @scalerambush

  10. Nice job, Harvey. Despite the one color/simple markings scheme your paint work and subtle "weathering" make it very eye catching. Hard to do...Well done!

  11. Great looking scheme/build!

  12. That is a beauty! Now I have yet another scheme to have to build - now just need to latch onto another Corsair for the stash...

Leave a Reply