1/48 Tamiya F4U-1 ”Birdcage” Corsairs……………

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  • Last reply 1 week, 5 days ago
  • 1/48, Birdcage, Corsair, F4U, Tamiya
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  • Louis Gardner said 1 year, 10 months ago:

    Earlier today I finished up the excellent 1/48 scale Tamiya Ki-61 Hien “Tony” kit, and the bench was momentarily cleared……………..but not for long. I have a few other projects that still need to be finished, but a good friend of mine has asked that I start building up a few Corsairs. These are for you David…………… @dirtylittlefokker

    Since this is my favorite all time plane, it didn’t take too much convincing to start work back up on them again.

    I had some work started on these two models previously, so I’ll begin posting up pictures of how these two look as of now and will go on from there.

    It all started when I saw this photo of an early F4U that was practicing landings at NAS Jacksonville during the War. It was love at first sight……………

    Fast forward a year or so after I saw this picture online, and this excellent book was new on the market. It was the first of a series by Dana Bell on the F4U. This book is something that every die hard F4U Fanatic needs.

    As I was looking through the book for the very first time, I ran across these pictures inside. The caption is wrong, since these planes are from Jacksonville NAS.

    I knew right away that I would have to somehow, someday build a model of this plane……………….. It’s an overall Dark Sea Blue painted birdcage variety. As luck would have it, Barracuda Cals came to the rescue and released this same plane as a decal option. I immediately made a purchase…………..

    Here’s a few pictures showing the overall Blue F4U.

    Another plane jumped out to me that is pictured in the book.

    After corresponding with Jim Sullivan, I decided to build this FG-1 up too and started scrounging decals for it. This one is a Goodyear built plane, and it is shown with a lighter colored cowling and a large “Black 2” shows up nicely against the light color.

    I have quite a collection of new / unbuilt Tamiya F4U kits in the stash. I also have a lot of decals for various Corsairs. This build of two F4U planes might evolve into something more, or it may just remain “as is” with only two builds from the “Iron Werks”.

    Time, outside influences as dictated by full scale “Life” happenings, and your responses will tell. I’ll base this build journal on the feedback received.

    These are the 3 different Tamiya kits that I have multiples of each type in the stash.

    I hope that you will follow along with me on this build. And I sincerely thank you David, for taking the time to post up all of the wonderful F4U’s in your daily series. Now this doesn’t mean that you are off the hook with posting up pictures of my favorite plane…………… but you can take a little break and post them up every “other” day for me 🙂

    As always,
    “comments are encouraged”.


  • Deleted User said 1 year, 10 months ago:

    Those Tamiya Corsairs are “the bomb”….an extremely well engineered kit as you are undoubtedly aware. I’d built several of them and never tired of their ‘fall-together’ qualities.

  • david leigh-smith said 1 year, 10 months ago:

    Well, Louis, I knew if I kept at it I’d tempt you. In actual fact i’m certainly not finished with this theme; I have some more great Bentwing photos coming up soon on ‘On This Day…’

    I’m right on board with this build – my absolute favourites are the three colour Corsairs, something about that plane in that scheme just talks to me. That said, the ‘FG-1’ is a really unusual subject and ought to be a show stopper when you’ve finished.

    Already loving this thread; great photos, beautifully painted profiles, iconic models. And the patented Gardner ‘Iron Werks’ to look forward to. Like Christmas in Spring.

    As FG-1{s go, this is probably more my style as a modeller…

    Less the Tamiya “fall together” qualities and more the Leigh-Smith “fall apart” treatment.

    Looking forward to seeing these take shape.

    Full ahead and damn the torpedoes…

  • Louis Gardner said 1 year, 10 months ago:

    Thanks for the wonderful comments Craig and David……………

    Yes these Tamiya kits build up nicely, but there are a few places you need to be careful with, even though they are “Tamiya” kits. There’s a problem with the wing seam if you decide to build this one with the wings extended. The seam line is very noticeable right where the wing fold joint is located between the inner and outer wing sections.

    The best way to eliminate this problem is to glue both the outer and inner wing panels together as a single upper or lower part first. Then I typically reinforce the spot with some plastic on the inside of the joint. Finally after this is done, you can glue the upper and lower wing halves together.

    If you go with the wings in the folded position, this is not a big deal………………. I also experienced a small step where the fuselage and center wing section are joined together just behind the cowling. There’s a horizontal seam present there and if you are not careful a noticeable seam can be found there as well.

    Another problem is filling in the “open” step area located on the “Starboard” inboard flap. This type of step was used on the later -1D’s, but it was a solid spring loaded affair on the earlier versions of the F4U. The kit instructions call this out, but it’s a major PITA to fill it in.

    I have built this kit several times, and I learn something new with each new build. Even though it’s a Tamiya, it still has to have some careful work done to it to really make it shine…………….. and shine it does……………. even with these faults I mentioned.

    That is an awesome photo !!!!

    Damn the torpedoes man !!!!! Here we go !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Louis Gardner said 1 year, 10 months ago:

    I mentioned that I was going to post up the progress made on the models in my first posting. So these pictures will show you the work that has already been done, as well as some of the additional resin parts I have obtained over the last few years.

    To begin with, the interior of the fuselages were painted using “Interior Green”. I painted the interior of the tail wheel area and rear fuselage in this color also on the Goodyear plane.

    The Vought plane will have this location painted using “Salmon”. Since the Vought plane was refurbished by the Navy later in the War, the cockpit was most likely was painted using “Interior Green” as well. It was noted that the cockpit sidewalls would have been black above the consoles.
    That still has to be painted.

    This is the Vought plane.

    The cockpits have been assembled and a base coat of Interior Green was sprayed on them. More detail painting will be done.

    I might go back and add some “Salmon” color to the “Hell Hole” area on the Vought cockpit. I’m still undecided about this however.

    The engines have been assembled and painted.

    Ditto for the main wheels. The center hubs have not been painted in the correct colors yet………..

    The propellers are ready to install once I get to that point.

    Here’s all of these parts combined for one of the planes.

    and a picture showing these parts together for both Corsairs. “Iron Werks” style……….. even though it’s not a Grumman plane.

    I have painted the cowling in an “Yellow Orange” color……………. but after closely studying the original B&W photo closer I think this could be wrong. If you look at the original B&W picture, the propeller tips are a different shade than the cowling is. This indicated to me that the colors were different.

    I’m going to guess and say the cowling “could” have been left in unpainted with top color blues, and might simply been left in a yellowish green “Zinc Chromate” color. So this cowling will get re-sprayed………. The interior color will remain the same. It’s a light gray.

    I started collecting resin parts. This is what I have on hand at the moment. I picked up 3 sets of flaps.

    This will allow me to pose the flaps easily in the “raised” position, and also eliminate the pesky boarding step at the same time. I will definitely be using one of these sets for the Goodyear Corsair, since I want to replicate the original B&W picture as close as I can.

    The flaps are raised on the Goodyear plane in the photo. I may keep the other two sets for future F4U builds and have them dropped on “485”.

    I also picked up a set of “smooth” tires for the Goodyear plane, and a reinforced “Turtle Deck” area in resin. This last part will most likely be saved for another future F4U build…………… unless I decide to add some more planes during this journal.

    The wheels are also made by “Ultracast” out of Canada. They look pretty nice.

    as does the resin Turtle Deck which is made by Vector.

    This last picture shows the latest F4U addition, and it’s the Yahu instrument panel located in the bottom right hand side of this next photo.

    I have yet to decide on which plane I will use this part on. I’m leaning towards “485” since it will have the canopy posed in the open position.

    There you have it…………….. all of the progress done so far with these.

    As usual,
    “comments are encouraged”.

    Thanks for looking.

  • John Healy said 1 year, 10 months ago:

    Good picks, Louis. That GSB training Corsair caught my eye too. Looking forward to seeing yours take shape.

  • Erik Gjørup said 1 year, 10 months ago:

    Ok – not a 109, but I shall stay tuned on this one too 🙂
    Keep ’em comin’

  • David Mills said 1 year, 10 months ago:

    Great to see Louis a nice selection of schemes !

  • Louis Gardner said 1 year, 10 months ago:

    Thanks gentlemen for the kind words of encouragement. I hope that I don’t disappoint you guys.

    Tonight I discovered a little setback. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

    Enough said.

    I’ll have to mix up some more.

    As usual comments are encouraged.

  • Louis Gardner said 1 year, 10 months ago:

    I made a little progress this morning. I mixed up some more “Salmon” color for use in the tail wheel area of the Vought plane.

    I started out with RLM 23 “Rot”

    and some Blue Angels Yellow

    using Model Master enamel. Sadly both of these colors are now discontinued.

    You can probably get by mixing your own using a similar color and experimenting with the ratios.

    I mixed equal parts together. Then I added a few drops of Black until I got it close.

    The next step was to add some white into the mix. So a few drops were added until I ended up with the color I wanted.

    Now I have half of a 23 ML Tamiya bottle size mixed.
    I’m trying to upload the pictures using my cell phone but somehow it’s not allowing me to do this.

    I’ll have to send the pictures to the computer and go from there.

    I just edited the post and added the photos………… The pictures showing the color chips were taken from an old Model Master display rack.

    The lighting when I took the pictures, and your computer screen monitor will affect how these colors look online.

  • david leigh-smith said 1 year, 10 months ago:

    “Ok, so not a 109” – I live for those comments. Well done, @airbum

  • david leigh-smith said 1 year, 10 months ago:

    Great, great work, Louis. Really enjoying this.

  • Louis Gardner said 1 year, 8 months ago:

    Today I finally got around to spraying a little paint on these two…………… They have been neglected for way too long.

    The “Salmon” color that I custom mixed a while ago was sprayed on the inside of the rear fuselage on the Vought plane.

    The lighting is affecting how the color looks.

    The Goodyear plane received the same treatment, but I used a different color. This is a “Yellow Green” Zinc Chromate color that I also custom mixed.

    Here again the lighting is affecting how this color looks. In these pictures, it appears to be more of an interior green, but trust me it’s not.

    This last photo shows the difference between the greens used on the Goodyear plane.

    I hope to get more work done on these two very soon……….

    Thanks for looking.

    As always, comments are encouraged.

  • Louis Gardner said 1 year, 6 months ago:

    Over the past few nights I have done a little more work on these two.
    I completed the cockpit assemblies and installed them in the fuselage.

    Here’s the Goodyear plane,

    and the Vought

    Goodyear “office”

    and the Vought cockpit.

    According to Dana Bell in his excellent books on the F4U. these early birdcage Corsairs often received a coat of Black paint on the interior of the fuselage sidewalls just above the side consoles when they were “refurbished” for training in State Side units. That’s how this one is painted.

    It’s possible the seat and rear cabin bulkhead / armor plate was painted this way too. I opted not to paint these areas black and left them green.

    I’m going to try and scratch build up some seat belts.

    Adding the YAHU instrument panel really makes this one look so much better. If I could afford it, I would use them more frequently. Look at how much more lifelike this one is now.

    After studying the pictures I have of the OTU-4 Corsair from Jacksonville, I’m going the scratch build a triangular shaped head rest for the pilot. It is visible in one of the landing sequence photos. This plane could have left the factory without a head rest, (since it is possibly an early F4U).

    Headrests were often a field added modification to these planes if they left the factory without one. Unfortunately I don’t have the bureau number for this plane. A bureau number was listed with the decal instructions, but after some digging around in some of my other books, it’s possible this number is wrong.

    If anyone has some information on this I’d really like to hear it………… 🙂

    As always, comments are encouraged.


  • Michael E Rieth said 1 year, 6 months ago:

    I like Corsairs and I like this build. Keeping an eye on this.

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