Xotic 72 1/72 F2G Corsair


AU 2022




four aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Short run with etched fret and vac canopy



In early 1944, after U.S. Naval Intelligence revealed sketchy details of Japanese plans to organize special attack (a.k.a. Kamikaze) units, a greater urgency was affirmed regarding an already-established need for a specially-designed carrier-based fighter with great speed and superlative climbing ability to intercept Japanese reconnaissance planes at altitude, and this new threat. It was in response to this need, that the remarkable Goodyear F2G Corsair program was born. Earlier, in March 1943, a BuAer directive initiated the loan of a USN Vought F4U-1 Corsair to Pratt & Whitney of Hartford, Connecticut as a test-bed airframe for mating their new experimental 3,000hp. XR-4360 Wasp Major 28-cylinder air-cooled radial engine. This became the granddaddy of the F2G Super Corsair with the designation of- F4U-1WM, and the project was turned-over to Goodyear Aircraft, of Akron, Ohio, for further testing and development.

A subsequent BuAer directive in Feb. 1944 initiated the F2G program contract which was issued March 22, 1944 for a total of 418 F2G aircraft to be built, as a development of the in-production Goodyear FG-1 Corsair. Two bubble-canopied, turtle-backed versions were called-for: the fixed-wing F2G-1 to operate from land bases, and the folding-wing F2G-2 for carrier operations. Required top-speed for both types at 16,500ft. altitude was stipulated for the dash-one at 428+mph and two miles per hour less for the F2G-2. The first aircraft was to be delivered and fully flight-ready in one year. Nine different FG-1s were employed for various design & modification tests in the F2G program. Though the first test run-up of the XR-4360 engine on the F4U-1WM came on May 23, 1944 - production delays at Pratt & Whitney seriously slowed down completion of the first two XF2G prototype test aircraft, which were BuAer Nos. - 13471 & 13472. Goodyear’s chief test pilot- Don Armstrong made the first flight in 13471 on August 26, 1944. Armstrong loved the new fighter’s performance and feel, dubbing it a - “Homesick Angel”, and noted in his own autobiography (“I Flew Them First”) and in subsequent interviews - his belief that had WW2 not been halted by use of the Atomic Bomb, thus requiring invasion of the Japanese homeland- the F2G would have ably-fulfilled its’ designated role as a Kamikaze interceptor.

Though the first production F2G-1 was accepted for delivery on July 15, 1945 - the contract was cut-back two months previously, amending the total production run down to five F2G-1s and five F2G-2s. The future service roll for virtually all the great production propeller fighters was coming to a close with the advent of the first Jet-Era fighter designs being tested and heading for the assembly lines.

The Air Racers:

The Golden Age of Air Racing traditions at Cleveland- with its exciting Bendix Trophy long-distance speed dashes and spectacular Thompson Trophy pylon events, were temporarily-halted in 1939 following the annual running of the September event, in deference to the obvious signs of impending world war. The end of WW2 combined with a new Jet Age, to set the stage for resumption of the popular motorsport and aerial extravaganza in 1946. A completely-different level of top-competition pylon racing was introduced to the public by the appearance of new-government surplus propeller fighter planes, which had recently won the war in the air.  Although the days were gone where civilian home-built race planes showed the military the cutting edge of propeller & piston engine aviation technology, and 3-time Thompson winner- Roscoe Turner would not be defending his champion title against former war ace rookies -  the old guard was well-represented by the likes of Tony Le Vier in a P38, Earl Ortman in a Mustang and Steve Wittman in a P63. To show they still knew how to bend a pylon - they respectively-finished in second, third and eighth spots behind Tex Johnston’s souped-up P39. (Note: the old style of home-built racing planes challenging each other around the pylon course was revived the following year, with the advent of the Goodyear Trophy midget class - forerunner of today’s- Formula Ones).

To all those attending or following the results of that first year of Post-WW2 pylon racing at Cleveland, it was obvious by the fighter aircraft types on hand to compete, the event was for the most part - an “All-Air Force Show” in the racing department. This fact was sorely-noted by the pilot of the only Navy-type there to race: Cook Cleland, who’d flown an outclassed- FG-1D Corsair nicknamed- “Lucky Gallon” to finish a respectable sixth. Likewise, only one Navy plane was entered in the 1946 Bendix, also an FG-1D, finishing 15th out of twenty-two entries.

During the war in the Pacific, Cleland had heroically-distinguished himself as a carrier combat pilot- winning the Navy Cross, an Air Medal with three stars, a Purple Heart and numerous commendations and citations. He finished his wartime duty as a USN test pilot  at Patuxent River in Maryland, and gained the rare experience of flying many types of captured enemy aircraft. Furthermore- he was a local boy, and with a name like-‘Cleland’, he was determined to improve his odds in Cleveland’s- Thompson Trophy Race the following year. Cleland got the scuttlebutt that Admiral Halsey shared his ambition to see a Navy fighter win the Thompson, and he went to Washington to see Halsey in-person. From his test-flying experience, Cleland presented his case in wanting to field the F2G - the World’s most-powerful piston-prop fighter plane. He won the Admiral’s full-support by assuring Halsey that if he could secure one of the Super Corsairs- the Navy could thereby- ‘whip the Air Force’ in the pylon classic. Halsey’s tremendous clout cut through government red-tape in short-order to promptly declare an F2G surplus for Cleland to bid on, thereby getting his first Super Corsair racer at a cost of $1,250.00!

Cook Cleland wanted to tie-up all the F2Gs as they came out of Navy inventory, to field an all-F2G racing team at Cleveland for the 1947 Thompson , and got three of the four F2Gs which had become available. He fell short when Ron Puckett made a successful bid on one to join the competition. Cleland enlisted- Dick Becker, an old pal from his Navy test squadron, and Tony Janazzo, a naval reserve Corsair pilot to complete the team. They stripped-down their F2Gs as much as possible to lighten their gross weights for the race, and had them painted-up in racing schemes and fully-prepared in time for the forthcoming event. It was a classic showdown of the brute horsepower of the round-engine Corncob Corsairs, versus the sleek, aerodynamically-refined, liquid-cooled inline engine fighters. Cleland, in Racer #74, was top-qualifier for the ’47 Thompson and thus-earned the pole position in the line-abreast spotting for the Thompson’s deadly race-horse style start.

Thirteen racers were lined up and ready for the starter’s flag: four- F2Gs, four- P51s, two- P38s, a P39 and a P63, along with an ultra-rare XP40Q- which had qualified too-slow to make the field. The 300-mile race was 20-laps around a 15-mile course and from the very start- the 1947 Thompson proved to be the fastest and most-destructive running ever of any race meet in history: One Mustang bellied-in when its’ engine quit during the start, and one of the P38s pulled-out on lap 2.  Dick Becker in F2G #94 stole the lead from the P39 during the same lap, but was overtaken by Cleland’s F2G two laps later. On the 7th lap, disaster struck the Cleland team when Tony Janazzo’s F2G #84 flew into the ground at speed in a fiery crash, after turning Pylon 2. Another P51’s engine blew-up in catastrophic-fashion during the eleventh lap and crashed in flames while attempting its’ emergency landing. Then on the 13th lap, the unlucky P40Q’s engine failed and after pulling-out and up to gain altitude - the pilot took to his parachute, and the Curtiss plunged down to its’ demise on a railroad track below! Ron Puckett moved his F2G #18 up through the dwindling pack of racers past Thompson-veteran Tony Le Vier’s P38 into the fourth spot, after a getting a very late start. On the 19th lap, Puckett’s corncob engine gave up its’ ghost, forcing him out as well. Cleland led the five survivors across the finish line to take the 1947 Thompson at a record average race speed finish of 396.13l mph. Six miles behind him- his team mate- Dick Becker came in second- to give the F2Gs a decisive win. Cleland’s prize money was $19,500 and Becker’s booty amount was $8,100. The loss of their fellow team member sapped-off much of the victory nectar, and tests later determined that Janazzo had been overcome by carbon-monoxide exhaust fumes during the race. As a result- henceforth oxygen masks were required for all racers in competing in the Thompson.

The serious and dedicated race teams (brave enough to return to competition) always used the learned lessons from previous races and testing, along with educated recommendations- to find and try new tricks to improve their racers’ performance. For the 1948 Thompson, Cleland & Becker swapped planes - flying #94 & #74 respectively, and modified their F2G engine cowlings by adding a longer carb-air intake scoop to improve engine efficiency and gain as much as 300hp. when running wide-open throttle during the race. In addition, Cleland was convinced to try using a special Shell triptane fuel cocktail to up the octane rating above 200! Hydrogen-peroxide injection systems completed the ambitious power formula. Cleland further-modified #94 by clipping a foot and a half off of each wing to gain a few more knots of airspeed. The ten-plane field for the 1948 championship 20-lap race included- five P51s, two P63s, the hot P39Q which won in ’46, and the two Cleland F2Gs. The race start went off without any disasters occurring, and the P39 grabbed the lead, and held onto it for 19 laps at record speeds. The cool and moist weather of the day, created havoc for the hot-running race engines burning their exotic fuel mixtures at high-manifold pressures. The most dramatic example happened to the F2Gs: An tremendous explosive back-fire displaced the new intake fairing on Becker’s #74, forcing him to pull-out on the third lap. Cleland was running #94 at record speeds trying to overtake the Airacobra, when the backfire gremlin also claimed his F2G two laps later. Three of the Mustangs and one of the Kingcobras dropped out as well, leaving only three finishers led by Anson Johnson’s P51. It was back to the drawing board for the Super Corsair team, to sort out their troubles in preparation for the next year.

The Cleland F2G race team was augmented in 1949 with the addition of F2G #57, piloted by Ben McKillen, a flight instructor at Cleland Air Service. Cleland & Becker would again race #94 & #74. Ron Puckett’s F2G #18 made a total of four Super Corsairs entered. The competition-level went up several notches with the entry of the J. D. Reed-prepared, ultra-modified razorback Mustang - #7 “Beguine”, owned by famous aviatrix-Jackie Cochrane, and piloted by well-known pilot- Bill Odom. #7 featured a radical relocation of its radiator intake into special wingtank units, tip-tank fashion. Anson Johnson’s #45 P51 also showed up minus its’ stock scoop in favor of a boil-off system using wing leading edge inlets. Cleland & Becker further-modified their F2Gs by adding prop spinners, and polished blades. Cleland’s #94 sported a big fourteen-foot diameter fan on his R-4360, giving it very marginal clearance. In addition, #94’s wingspan was further-clipped down to 33-ft., and custom wingtip plates had to be designed and fitted to maintain an acceptable roll-rate during flight.

The racecourse was changed for 1949 to a more race-friendly oval configuration from previous years, and the 15-lap race distance was pared-down to 225 miles. Again, ten planes made up the field: six-P51s, a lone P63, and only three of the four F2Gs. Dick Becker had set the mark for qualifying ahead of Cleland and Odom, but after completing his run he was knocked-out of competition when the corncob’s reduction gear failed. The Thompson rules of competition did not allow any major aircraft repairs to any entry between a successful qualification and the start of the race. The big race got off to a good start with rookie- Ben McKillen jumping into the lead for two laps before getting passed by Cleland and Puckett. The beautiful #7 Mustang moved up rapidly in an attempt to claim the lead for himself, but over-turned pylon 2. In trying to avoid cutting too far into the course and missing the next pylon- Odom over-corrected and rolled the racer onto its back to crash in flames right smack into a residence. He, and the two occupants were killed instantly. The rest of the racers soldiered-on unscathed to complete the race, with Cleland, Puckett and McKillen taking the top three places- giving the Super Corsairs a clean sweep in what ended up being the final Thompson Trophy race at Cleveland. Cleland’s winning-average speed was a record- 397.071mph, making him the only other pilot besides Roscoe Turner to win the Thompson more than once. Puckett came in second at 393.527mph, and McKillen third at 387.589mph. Even today, there remains much speculation amongst race historians and those who were there, that the outcome might have been in favor of Odom & Beguine- had he not lost control. But the F2Gs showed their mettle and proved Cleland’s racing philosophy of- ‘Might Means-Right!’, and they will forever endure as the grand titans of the Cleveland Era.




This is another of the X-otic72 kits. From the looks of the molds, they are probably done by MPM in the Czech Republic. You'll note that some of the parts appear to have been cut from a larger sprue. I don't doubt it as the box into which these bits fit would bee too small to contain the complete sprue. I surely don't envy those folks who had to sit in a pile of sprues and start cutting! They probably have right arms similar to what Popeye has!

Anyway, this is in all respects a typical Czech short run kit with some mold flash, though I didn't see any sink holes in any part other than the underside of the cockpit floor. Careful trimming will be needed and I'd recommend cutting the fine pieces from the sprue with a razor saw to prevent breakage. Though the attachment points on most parts are commendably small, they are also quite close to the parts.

 There is a nice etched fret that includes most of the cockpit goodies as well as oleo scissors and the oil cooler intakes. Two resin parts are included for the upper nose scoop, which is different on two of the aircraft over the stock part. Instructions are well done with six construction steps. They also show which parts apply to which aircraft. To do one of the three air racers in a later variant, the wing end plates and prop spinner will have to be made. You'll also have to clip the wings, but a set of templates and diagrams are offered to help with that.

A good set of color and markings diagrams are offered for the four aircraft on the decal sheet. First is a standard USN version, probably from some test unit since so few of these planes were built. Next is #94 in white (at least it looks like that, no color info is given for it). This is the plane that can be modified with the clipped wings. The box art #57 is next. This is a rather wild scheme of white and what appears to be orange or red. The decal sheet offers the complete side markings and a bunch of thin black lines for outlining the sunburst paint scheme on the wings and stabs. Finally, a basically stock #18 in dark blue with a yellow cowling as an option. The decals are very well printed and look to be top quality. There are also photos on the back page of some of these planes.


If you are into air racers or just want an injected F2G to add to your collection, then this is the kit to have.


Thanks to for the historical background.

Review kit courtesy of the fine folks at Aviation USK Nebraska. Thank you for your support.

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