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Heller AU-1 converted to F4U-7

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Wow - just really let myself get irritated at all the people repeating the same garbage over and over again - that the 1/48 Heller Corsairs are short.

One person starts an idea and so many people repeat it without ever checking the facts - so sad.

The Heller F4U-7 and AU-1 kits are NOT SHORT!!!!!

Here is a picture of the Heller and Hasegawa AU-1 kit fuselages taped together, side by side - the Heller kit is the EXACT same length as the Hasegawa kit!!!!!!!


Since the Hasegawa is a much better AU-1, I was just going to slap the Heller kit together for paint and decal practice - but when I put the cowl ring on I noticed that it was much too low, and that the propeller shaft was sitting too high in the cowl front opening, not dead center like it should be. So, when I moved the cowl ring up to where it "should be", I could "see" the F4U-7 just waiting for its chin scoop and cheeks.


So I made a chin scoop and cheeks out of Milliput - easy peasy. My new cowl is not quite pear shaped, but it's not round either. I think once it's under a coat of gloss sea blue it will really look the part.

I'll show a better picture of the cowl bulges tomorrow.

Also, for all those that have asked - I think that the Heller F4U-7 (NOT the Heller AU-1 that I'm using - it didn't have a chin scoop until I made one out of putty) could make an EXCELLENT LATE F4U-4 with canons and raised canopy/dorsal hump - all you would have to do is use a little putty or thick Mr. Surfacer and some sanding to make the fabric wing panels and cut the extension off of the cowl piece. Since the Heller cowl is missing the cheek bulges, by cutting the extension off behind the cowl flaps it makes a perfect F4U-4 cowling. Anyone spreading rumors that it would be a poor F4U-4 because it is short - STOP MISLEADING PEOPLE!!!!! All you would have to do is make the fabric wing panels and cut the spacer off the cowl piece. Oh, and add oil coolers in the wing intake . . . but the rest of the shape and dimensions of the Heller kits are excellent, in my opinion. Oooh, but it has soft interior detail and the dreaded raised panel lines! Run. . . run away!!!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, doesn't look like a lot of progress, but it was.

Wings are glued together, fashioned wingtip lights, some bolts and a seam on the crankcase, .020 styrene push-rods, drilled out blast tubes which are waiting for 1/64 brass tube for 20mm guns, One blast tube split while drilling it out, so had to reconstruct one, and an OK picture of the milliput fashioned cowl/intake. A coat of filler/primer showed some more smoothing/filling is needed, but it already looks a lot better than the round stock cowl. Cowl is only taped on so it looks a little crooked, but it's fine. Going to be a real trick to shoe-horn a painted engine in a painted cowl interior. There is no tail wheel opening, but I already figured out a way to make a quickie fix. That will be the next update. The canopy is a little thick, and I'm going to build it closed, so I may only add a couple red knobs to the consoles and a seat belt and call it quits for the interior.

More information on this kit - somewhere on the web I read that this kit is VERY CLOSE (copied?) from the Hasegawa (ex Mania) F4U-4, with modifications such as the longer cowl and the hump/raised canopy. Now I'm going to have to get a Hasegawa F4U-4 and compare!

The whole build was almost sh-canned when I realized the decals were FUBAR - no blue - almost black, but I found an inexpensive set on ebay, so, on with the show.

I love how these birds were asymmetrical in their loads - the fuel tank always seems to be loaded on the starboard wing root. What size are these bombs, 500lbs.? They just look small for some reason.






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The carriage of a single tank on the right pylon rather than the left had to do with helping to counter torque. As the tank would normally only be jettisoned in an emergency, the extra weight on the right side opposed the left-rolling tendency in the event of rapid power application in a wave-off, but if the tank was on the left pylon it would exacerbate the rolling moment.

It was common in USN/USMC to carry a single tank on the right pylon for the same reason.

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  • 1 month later...

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