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Jonathan Mock

Revell new tool 1/72 F4U-1 Corsair

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Picked one up today from the most excellent Frome Model Centre, Somerset. Have not had a chance to start checking on a few things, but here are an initial batch of photos I've taken and some impressions.

Canopy chucked in with the rest of the plastic- bzzzzzzzzzz, points off! Luckily it wasn't damaged. Kit is moulded in white, recessed detail is very nice and fine, overall the kit is very sharp though some parts do have a slight burr to edges - nothing that basic modelling prep won't solve. Breakdown is interesting - the upper nose is separate and the cowl is made up from separate panels that bolt onto the intake ring. Wing tips are separate with a British aircraft clearly in the loop for the future. Prop looks a bit odd to me, but I need to break open the Corsair box and start trying to sort my 1As from 1Ds. Decals are very well printed and include plenty of stencils.

It's an intriguing kit, Revell have replaced their ancient F4U-1 like-for-like, which makes commercial sense. How the breakdown translates into fit will be telling - I made the Academy F4U-1 kit a few years ago and the breakdown was less ambitious and the fit exemplary.

Clear the bench, pass the modelling knife!

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That's most assuredly a -1D prop. The -1 prop was much curvier.

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OK, a few hours at the workbench and the one word that keeps bounding around is "why?". More specifically, why have Revell taken what should have been a relatively simple kit and over complicated it.

I get the separate wing tips fir the RN variant, even if I'd have gone about it another way (mould them full span with a cut line for adding the shorter tips later) but the cowl is broken down into a separate lip and two halves - why? The Tamiya and Academy kits are one piece, even their old Corsair kit was able to mould the cowl in a single piece (with a separate lip/engine). There's not any detail that required this breakdown. Likewise, the fuselage has the separate upper decking, something that Academy and Tamiya did without, opting for a conventional left/right full fuselage. Why? I can't think that is any detail or moulding reason to do this.

I can imagine the wing radiators were done separately to capture the shape mores accurately, the fit is fine on the underside but leave a triangular shaped gap on the upper section. Separate gun ports? Why? One half of the fin is moulded to the fuselage, the other half is a separate piece. Why? Is it to accommodate the recess for the rudder? Why not mould it to the other fuselage half?

I've yet to bring the major assemblies together but have found a constant need to check and de-burr mating surfaces. It's basic modelling 101 I know and I don't mind it, but I am starting to notice (on my model at least) tiny areas where the plastic just hasn't quite filled out, creating gaps between parts.

It's not a bad kit - it's nowhere near that - but in terms of how other Corsairs have been broken down, my personal feeling is that in trying to get more mileage out of these moulds, it's just ended up over engineered and a touch too busy. And it's a touch less refined compared to the stuff they were doing in the mid/late 90s.

I'll persevere, but sheesh, I remember my Academy kit went together in almost an evening. Even the old Hasegawa from the 70s fell together. This one?

Why?

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Well, a -1a, but a -1d prop. No backing plates for the cooling gills, to add to a complex assembly...For a coupla bucks more, I'l stick with the Tamiya. I wonder of they engineered the fin that way due to the fact that it should be offset from the fuselage centerline. Thus to counter torque from that 2000 hp engine. Gun inserts may indicate day that maybe down the line, they plan a cannon equipped bird. Yeah, I'll stick with Tamiya.

Edited by Hal Marshman Sr

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I fondled the sprues at the Revell stand last week at the IPMS Nats. It looked nice..the only real thing that stuck out to me was the seat seemed to be shaped a bit strangely. I've got the Academy Corsair which is quite nice for those on a budget, and I've got the Tamiya which is still the "gold standard" for detail and accuracy, so I doubt I'll pick up the new Revell one.

SN

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Over engineering seems to be a common problem in modern kits. Take a part that can easily be done as 1, and make it 2. Harder for the builder, and for no real reason except to up the parts count.

This is disappointing news about this kit. After being underwhelmed by their Eurofighter and it's fit issues, this info about the Corsair will probably cause me to move on.

Thank you for posting your results.

Jeff

Edited by ST0RM

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Some progress from last night, mostly the cowl which can be assembled without need to have the engine in place. Now I can understand breaking down a cowl like this is there are covers and detail that would lost if moulded in one-piece, even with slide moulding, but there is no detail to lose. It will require some clean-up, there is a step between the cowl and the lip, some of which may be me, but I did take care in aligning everything up before reaching for the glue. But I find myself baffled as to why I'm having to do this, the cowl is pretty much something that everyone solved decades ago which Revell have over complicated in this kit. The phrase "jack of all trades, master of none" is starting to hang over this one.

The other thing, which is illustrated in the bottom pic, is how the plastic doesn't quite seem to fill out on the finer edges of various bits in my kit - and yes, I will happily acknowledge that it may just be my copy. It's easy to fix so I'm not going to go all fatally flawed here, but on a 2014 kit?

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More pics later!

Edited by Jonathan Mock

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The cowling is split like that so they can do a -4 at some point. The lower half of the cowling, cowling lip, prop, exhausts, gear reduction casing and cockpit floorboards are all on the same small sprue. The upper decking on the nose is separate to preserve the fuel tank panel detail so there's no seam through it and is also moulded at an angle on the sprue so that you get a nice clean deep slot to mount the nose aerial post in. The fin half is separate because of it's offset design and I'm guessing the wingtips are separate so that the wing fits on the sprue, otherwise you might be looking at a bigger box and a higher price. All in all it looks like a clever little kit that's had some thought put into it.

I'd agree the moulding could be a tad better in one or two spots but given that it's £6.99 vs £8.25 for the old Academy kit and £19.99 for the Tamiya kit it's a bit of a no brainer really.

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It's here a major difference between Tamiya and Revell. Tamiya cost in Czech 18Euro/24USD/500CZK. Revell 8Euro/10USD/200CZK... Mustang or Emil was cheaper (Around 9Euro/11USD)but Corsair is brutally overpriced... The price is the same, no wait - highest - than 1/48 kit - from Tamiya !!!

Look here: 1/72:http://www.mpmshop.cz/letadla/172-3/vough-f4u-1a-corsair.html -459CZK

&

1/48:http://www.mpmshop.cz/letadla/148-3/vought-f4u-1a-corsair.html - 469CZK

Lol, this is Japanese vendetta for most successful US NAVY fighter in WW II in "braile scale".... The same price as for it's biggest brother...

200CZK vs. 460CZK - hmm, i think it is a good deal. In the same price as Revell you can choose between obsolete Směr (ex Heller) or Academy with ugly decals and bad cockpit tub...

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The cowling is split like that so they can do a -4 at some point. The lower half of the cowling, cowling lip, prop, exhausts, gear reduction casing and cockpit floorboards are all on the same small sprue. The upper decking on the nose is separate to preserve the fuel tank panel detail so there's no seam through it and is also moulded at an angle on the sprue so that you get a nice clean deep slot to mount the nose aerial post in. The fin half is separate because of it's offset design and I'm guessing the wingtips are separate so that the wing fits on the sprue, otherwise you might be looking at a bigger box and a higher price. All in all it looks like a clever little kit that's had some thought put into it.

I'd agree the moulding could be a tad better in one or two spots but given that it's £6.99 vs £8.25 for the old Academy kit and £19.99 for the Tamiya kit it's a bit of a no brainer really.

I understand what they're trying to do with this kit, and their need to replace the old -1 kit, but personally I think in trying to be all things it starts to fall down. When they tooled their 109G and Hurricane kits in the 90s, they didn't start overly breaking down the tooling in order to facilitate future variants (like Revel did with the 1/32 kit or Hasegawa with their Hurricanes), they just did what was needed for that variant top hand and did it very, very well. There are some odd tooling decisions on this kit - the wings clear are meant to facilitate the British variant later, hence why the tips are separate, but by put that break across the fabric portion when there's a natural break line a few more mm outboard? Why mould one part of the fin separately when it could have easily been moulded to port side or split port and starboard fuselages, and still accommodated the offset? Yes, the breakdown is clever but I do think ambition has got the better of the final result, resulting in an overly fussy construction whose merit points are outweighed by the demerit points.

As for price being a no brainer... well £8.25 for the Academy kit is not absolute, shop around and it can be found for less than the new Revell kit. Me personally, I'll finish this one, but if I want to make another -1 in future, it'll be the Academy kit as a no brainer.

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Academy ?! Academy is bad kit - many details are wrong:

Cockpit - it is classic floor with seat and armor.... looks as cockpit from Hellcat and no Corsair !!!!

Shape of cowling is too bad....

Exhausts too isn't good.

Wheel bays are shallow.

Add to this ugly Academy "home printed" decals (no Cartograf)...

Simple - Academy isn't good choice...

Best WW II Corsair in small scale is Tamiya... But price is +120% as Revell offering.

I must build my Revell soon :)

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A little progress tonight, mostly painting the interior and trying to sort that cowl out - I gave it a blast of black primer and gently sanded the join on the intake ring to remove the step. It's about passable.

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Gently sanded to remove the step? On a kit designed using CAD and CNC milling in 2014? Although clearly it isn't, that should be an oxymoron.

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I will add the caveat that some of the step may have been of my own making, but even having to do this on a part that kit manufacturers figured out how to mould in one piece going back to the ancient Revell, Airfix and FROG kits is rather jarring in 2014. And yes, I do know they're trying to do the multi-mark Corsair out of this tooling, but there are other ways they could have done that without complicating the breakdown. I honestly think someone should have taken a step back and said "you know what, this is getting too complicated now, let's concentrate on doing a good, easy to build F4U-1 and worry about other variants later".

I shall persevere, if only because I want to try out my Gunze USN paints. But what I should was going to be an easy weekend ride has started to need the lower gears.

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A bit more progress today, namely applying the cockpit decals - which are excellent and trouble free - and then turning my attention to getting the wings together.

First up those separate wing tips - if the kit has to be broken down to accomodate the clipped wings of the British versions, why not break them further out on a natural panel line instead of half way through the fabric area. Ok, this can probably be fixed with some careful filling and sanding, but it illustrates the odd breakdown design of this kit.

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On the underside the radiators are moulded as separate parts, presumably to get some depth and capture the shape more accurately. The edges though do stand a bit proud which doesn't appear to be the case with the real thing - I tried carving away the lip that they sit on but still could not fully get them to sit a bit more flush. It's on the underside and I can disguise any shortfall with weathering. This photo also illustrates the holes for the pylons - according to Joe Hegedus, not only are these the wrong shape but they are not needed for the options in the kit and so will beed filling. Why didn't Revell moulded the wing smooth and just flash over some holes to attach the pylons? Again, odd design decision.

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I've only pinched the wing together here, but the radiator intake will need a smidge of filler on one side due to the plastic not filling out properly. The separate gun ports are baffling - yet they could be there to accommodate the four gun fit, but there are still six ejector slots moulded to the wing.

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I need to go down to Yeovilton some time to measure up KD431, especially the length of the cowl and the cowl to cockpit, as well as the tailplanes. My initial concerns are that the Revell kit is too long and this extra length is happening somewhere around the break for the cowl flaps. I'm also not sure about the shape of the elevators, they seem to fade in too much on the trailing edge. Like I said, I need to go measure!

I also dug out my Academy F4U-1 that built a few years ago and never quite got around to decalling. Yes it has faults, but for the most part they either really don't bother me that much and the ones that do (exhausts) were an easy fix with plastic tube. And while the cowl may not be 100% correct, it's a simple push fit onto the fuselage. And to my eyes it looks Corsairy enough for my wants.

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A bit more progress today, namely applying the cockpit decals - which are excellent and trouble free - and then turning my attention to getting the wings together.

First up those separate wing tips - if the kit has to be broken down to accomodate the clipped wings of the British versions, why not break them further out on a natural panel line instead of half way through the fabric area. Ok, this can probably be fixed with some careful filling and sanding, but it illustrates the odd breakdown design of this kit.

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Actually, the fabric goes out to the very tip of the wing: http://mysite.verizon.net/resttsdu/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/1945_02_16_circa_CV-17_F4U_1_MTK_4x3_1200x.jpg

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Actually, the fabric goes out to the very tip of the wing.

Indeed, what I meant to say was break it where the last tape seam is where it's easier to disguise the join. I've been referring to Dave Morris' invaluable book on KD431. As to the fit of the tip, I eventually had to cut the locating tab off and butt-join the tip to the wing so that it would align better top and bottom. In fact building this model has felt more like making a limited-run kit than a mainstream one.

A word about the instrument panel - very nice in itself but its location is a little vague which means that it could throw the fit of the upper nose panel if placed too high. The solution here is to fixed the nose panel in place and then slide the instrument panel in from beneath where it then has more points to fix onto.

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I laid the side wall decals over the moulded detail for a bit more depth, these settling down nicely with a generous application of Micro Sol. There are some clear stringer details on one side of the fuselage, but then barely any on the other, further fuelling the inconsistent nature of this kit.

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Finally a fuselage! The nose panel drops in place but can be further helped by cleaning up any minor burrs or flash on the mating surfaces. As everything falls on natural panel lines, I'll give the join a rub over with Scotch-Brite, maybe a thin bead of Mr Surfacer to even out any steps. The starboard side of the separate fin overhangs the fuselage slightly, I'll bridge it with Mr Surface and forget about it.

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Going back to the tailplane again, there's a good shot in the KD431 book that shows the elevator deflected to a near plan view that gives some idea on how the leading a trailing edges near the tip relate to each other. To my eye the kit part tapers too much on the trailing edge, something which is born out by the Granger drawings. I'd need to measure up Yeovilton's aircraft to see what's going on, but this very crude (and not scale) drawing gives an impression of what I'm seeing, with the kit shape in red.

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And that's a wrap for tonight!

Edited by Jonathan Mock

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Jonathan,

I appreciate you being the Guinea Pig on this kit. Sadly, despite it's lower price, it doesn't appear to be a "must buy". Your build review says it all.

It seems that Revell wasn't concerned with quality and the builder, but how much they can get out of a single major mold, with sub-molds for future variants. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Jennings made a good point. In 2014, with CAD and CNC machines, this is unacceptable.

Good luck. You've got a large audience following you.

Jeff

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Well I appreciate the sentiment and I'm not trying to put people off the model, in fact I'd be interested to hear other experiences.

Tonight, numbnuts here took some pics then managed to lose them so a few key ones are missing. Before adding the wing to the fuselage I remembered to paint the centre section of the wing green and also the underside of the instrument coaming black. The instrument panel was slid into place, vindicating the decision to put the upper deck in first. I also added the other wing tip - this one slipped in no problem with no adjustment needed.

With that all done, finally time to add the wings! I had to trim a bit from the forward bulkhead before the wing locked in. I'll fill any gaps with Mr Surfacer, which I've used to check the seams on the fuselage panels.

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Tailplane again, and I remembered it all wrong - it's the leading edge that appears a bit shallow. I hate resorting to plans, but the Alfred Granger ones are well regarded and illustrate what appears to be the shortfall. Fatal flaw? Nah, I'll glue in place and forget.

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Sorry for the interlude, some progress. Tonight I added the gun ports - these are supposed to drop into a recess on the leading edge but the fit is indifferent so I added them with black superglue (gel type mixed with pigment) which enabled me to sand them into the leading edge and check for gaps. Same with the rear of the wing fit to the underside, this bridged with black superglue and wet sanded. One plus of the kit plastic is that it is easy to sand. I still have no idea what to do about those holes for the pylons - it's a poor tooling decision that should have been solved by flashed over holes and a butt-joined pylons. As it is I may just add them and forget about them being not right for the kit schemes.

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The wing roots, tailplanes and upper cowl have all had the Mr Surface blended in with a cotton bud and Mr Color lacquer. At this stage it doesn't look too bad now. Almost.

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The one area I'm still concerned over is blending those wingtips across the fabric areas. For this I used a slightly softer filler, Deluxe Materials Perfect Plastic Putty. Tonight was also cleaning up the undercarriage parts and setting them aside for - hopefully - priming tomorrow.

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And now the (almost) scientific bit - no red pen here. According to the Vought GA drawings I have here the F4U-1 was 34.4.125 feet in length and this was measured from the rear to the tip of the prop. I double checked these dimensions in some trusted sources, so - me making a idiot of myself aside - I'll take them as read.

So I drew a 12 inch square in a leading illustration package and scaled it down to 1/72 (1.38%) then step and repeated it 33 times then added a scaled down 4 inch square - that gave me a near as scale 34.4.125 feet. I printed this out and double checked the print out (allowing for distortion) and it still checked out. I then propped the model up along it's datum line and aligned it to the rear end (a gap in the pic but this was adjusted).

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I assembled the cowl, boss and prop to get the overall length - bear in mind I still have to shave a fraction of a mm from the rear of the engine plate to it will fit flush to the cowl - and checked to see how this lined up with my scale length. It's over by about 6mm which, if scaled up would be around 17 inches. In other words it appears to be over a scale foot too long in length.

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Now I know kit designers and I know the way they plot out dimensions to give them spaces to work inside of - so I'm baffled how this has overrun, I suspect that in trying to eek out the cowl design to accommodate future versions, something got lost and the length was accidentally increased somewhere. I'd need to measure up KD431 to get section lengths to make sure I'm not talking shash here.

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Fatal flaw? Nah, it's possibly not even enough to be spotted expect by the Corsairscenti, and if it really offended then the fix would be a straight chop. I haven't checked the wing span yet.

Right now I am checking that wing join and it's a battle I may concede. Pics later!

Edited by Jonathan Mock

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When they tooled their 109G and Hurricane kits in the 90s, they didn't start overly breaking down the tooling in order to facilitate future variants (like Revel did with the 1/32 kit or Hasegawa with their Hurricanes), they just did what was needed for that variant top hand and did it very, very well.

In all fairness, RoG's Bf 109G-10 does suggest other variants were planned, having seperate upper wing bulges.

I just bought the F4U-1 - let's see how she works out...your reports sure will help!

Cheers,

Andre

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