Hobby Boss 1/48 F4U-4B Corsair

KIT #: 80388
PRICE: $55.99 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The F4U-4 was the last variant to see action during World War II. Deliveries to the U.S. Navy of the F4U-4 began late in 1944. It fully equipped several squadrons four months before the end of hostilities. It had the 2,100 hp (1,600 kW) dual-stage-supercharged -18W engine. When the cylinders were injected with the water/alcohol mixture, power was boosted to 2,450 hp (1,830 kW). The aircraft required an air scoop under the nose and the unarmored wing fuel tanks of 62 gal (234 l) capacities were removed for better maneuverability at the expense of maximum range. The propeller was changed to a four blade type. Maximum speed was increased to 448 miles per hour (721 km/h) and climb rate to over 3,800 ft/min (1,180 m/min) as opposed to the 2,900 ft/min (884 m/min) of the F4U-1A. The service ceiling also increased significantly from 37,000 feet (11,000 m) to 41,000 feet (12,000 m). The "4-Hog" retained the original armament and had all the external load (i.e., drop tanks, bombs) capabilities of the F4U-1D. The windscreen was now flat bullet-resistant glass to avoid optical distortion, a change from the curved Plexiglas windscreens with the internal plate glass of the earlier Corsairs. Vought also tested the two F4U-4Xs (BuNos 49763 and 50301, prototypes for the new R2800) with fixed tiptanks (the Navy showed no interest) and an Aeroproducts six-blade contraprop (not accepted for production). Later versions were armed with two 20mm cannon in each wing. There were some night fighter and recon versions, but few were actually built.

This is the latest version of HobbyBoss' -4 Corsair to be produced and it is pretty much the same plastic as what came in the late version released about 8 months back. In fact, it is the same plastic with all of the sprues in this kit being the same as what was in the previous release. The only difference is that this one does not have the two weapons sprues that came in the -4 (late). Instead, one uses the cannon barrels located on the F sprue for this and you have to open up some additional holes on the underside of the kit. One thing that was changed is that the clipped wing tips in the previous boxing has been corrected, so that is nice to see.

To review; it is quite typical of new Hobby Boss kits with the usual engraved panel lines, individually bagged sprues with the fine parts protected. There is a nicely detailed interior that offers the option of decals for instruments. The engine is also well detailed and an accessory section is also provided. The wings can be folded if need be. Ailerons and flaps are separate pieces, though the instructions do not show the flaps being lowered, a common sight on parked planes. One also gets the opportunity to show off the open gun bays if so desired. For things under wings, there are two inner wing drop tanks and outer wing rocket stubs for four rockets per wing, but no weapons.  A rather odd option is to have the tail hook lowered while on the ground.

In line with the late -4 version, this one has the canopy with a flat center section. This is correct for the type and it appears that perhaps the fuselage halves are different from the early version to accommodate this feature. The cowling is the same as on the earlier kit so that has not been altered. Fortunately, True Details provides a resin replacement that is closer to the real deal.

Instructions are well drawn and offer a variety of paint company references. The full color markings guide provides for two overall gloss sea blue planes. One is the box art aircraft from VMA-332 aboard the USS Bairoko in 1953. The other is with VF-53 from the USS Essex in 1952. This is a rather colorless offering with no squadron colors anywhere on the aircraft. Decals are well printed and include instrument panel and side console decals as well as decals for the tail hook. These latter ones are in a right and left mode rather than the usual wrap around most other companies use. Personally, I would paint these as I cannot see how the decals would work successfully. I have darkened the decal sheet considerably to allow the white bits to be seen.

It is nice to see the cannon armed version done as it is a major improvement over the Academy kit and will allow the Corsair fan to have a more modern version for the shelves.



My thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. You can get yours today at your favorite retailer. 

July 2013

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