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 Corsair build I came across this very unique one off scheme and knew I had to add it to the collection.
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 aircraft that would be given the name of 'Sally'. This was an F4U-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.
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.
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.