Tamiya 1/72 F4U-1D Corsair






Three aircraft


Scott Van Aken




Another one of those aircraft that has been written about to no end, the F4U Corsair is one of those that always seems to draw a crowd at air shows. There is something about the 'bent wing bird' that people truly like. Perhaps it is the size of the beast that does it as it surely isn't one of your more elegant looking aircraft. 

The F4U-1D is basically a follow on to the very successful F4U-1A version. There are some interesting differences between the two though. For one thing, the -1D was the first type to be used regularly from aircraft carriers, unlike its earlier sibling. Externally, they can be told apart by the twin racks between the gear legs. These racks could hold either drop tanks or bombs. The -1D was also able to carry underwing rockets that the -1A could not. Most -1Ds had no extra framing in the canopy. Though early production aircraft had them, they were replaced in the field as soon as possible. 

The more powerful engine of this model made it possible to carry the extra weight of bombs/tanks and rockets. It also made the plane a lot more fun to fly when unburdened by ordnance. Interestingly, all F4U-1D aircraft were painted overall gloss sea blue. None saw any action prior to early 1945 when they were part of the task group that made the first carrier borne attacks on Japan since Doolittle's raid of 1942. As with most late war aircraft, the -1D soldiered on postwar until replaced the the F4U-4 or some other aircraft. Some F4U-1Ds were overhauled and sold to El Salvador in the 1960s.



One really has to ask oneself if we really need another 1/72 Corsair of this mark. There have been a plethora of F4U-1Ds available, with the Hasegawa kit still makings into a superb model. However, I can understand that Tamiya wants to eventually downsize all of its 1/48 kits and that is commendable. I mean, a Tamiya kit has always stood for superior engineering and ease of construction. It is what I build when I am getting stressed by other model kits!

At least this one takes up more room in the box than some of the earlier WWII kits. And it should as the price is over 20% greater than the previous releases. For the $22 that this one costs, you can get two or three Hasegawa kits. Getting back to the kit itself, detailing is quite reminiscent of the larger scale kit. So is the general part breakdown and options. Speaking of options, you get the option of a framed or unframed canopy, drop tanks or underwing rockets. I would have liked to have seen bombs included as that is what most Corsairs carried when doing ground attack work.

The interior detail is just superb and rivals that of the 1/48 version, including the see-through cockpit floor and underfuselage window that just about all other Corsair models miss. There is no decal for the instrument panel, though one is included for the seat harness. There is good sidewall and wheel well detail and the wells themselves are properly deep. The engine has both rows of cylinders and there is an option for open or closed cowl flaps. There is obviously a Birdcage version due out as this has the insert for the different aft canopy section. I personally don't like these inserts, but the Tamiya ones usually fit very well. As many of you know, the small scale Tamiya kits don't have the dropped flaps of the larger cousins. Interestingly, this has an insert for the inboard right flap. This is so you can have the version with the hole it in for a hand hold. There is some discussion as to if this was on all -1D Corsairs. I can only suggest you check your references.

Instructions are superb and the standard of the industry. There are three decal options included with the kit. All of them are for overall sea blue Corsairs. F4Us of this period were generally not very colorful, differing only in unit markings. Tamiya have picked three nice ones, though you will have seen them all before. First is a VF-84 aircraft from the USS Bunker Hill with yellow nose ring and large arrow marking. From the USS Bennington comes a VMF-112 F4U-1D with small arrow ship markings. The final scheme is from VMF-312 on Okinawa. This aircraft has the extra frame in the canopy as well as white checkers on the nose and rudder. If you don't like those choices, there are a lot of others available on various aftermarket decal sheets. (Note: sheet at right deliberately darkened so you can see the white markings.)

Overall, it looks like another superb kit from Tamiya. It will be interesting to see how well this one sells, especially at the premium price asked for it.

Review copy courtesy of your increasingly impoverished editor.

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