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“LIFE” of a F4U-1 Corsair in the Solomon Islands.

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This model depicts the "LIFE" of a Marine F4U -1 Birdcage Corsair (02576), from it’s early days in the Solomon’s, until it’s final days when it crash landed on Torokina, December 1943 .

Early in the war the shade of QMS #12 Blue Gray was found to be to light when viewed from above over the waters of the South West Pacific.


In October of 1942 the Navy issued a directive to formulate the shade of Blue Gray to match Munsell 5.5PB 2.6/3.3


Early missions showed that the black aircraft numbers were hard to distinguish, as a result the numbers were painted in white and moved towards the rear of the aircraft.



To avoid confusion when more Corsair squadrons became operational at Munda, the one and two digit aircraft numbers were replaced with a three digit number. These were usually the last three digits of the BuNo.


With the changes to the national insignia in June of ‘43, only the white bars were added to this aircraft.


To comply with the change to the tri-color paint scheme, the areas viewed from above were painted in the field with a Sea Blue paint mix.


The rest of the aircraft retained it’s faded Blue Gray / Light Gray finish.


To create the changing weathered appearance of the model, it’s entire finish was faded by over-spraying with Dullcote plus a few drops of white mixed in.

A few reasons for the unkempt appearance of the aircraft in the Solomon Islands.

Quotes are from the excellent book, Corsair Aces of World War 2 by Mark Styling.

"When operating from Munda our beautifully marked planes were put into a pool and assigned to different pilots from different squadrons every morning. That alone was enough to break our hearts, but when the SEEBEEs (who had been pressed into service as mechanics) asked us where to inject the gas and oil we were almost tempted to draw our pay and go home. There were a few bona-fide mechanics on the strip, but they had always worked on Grummans, so our sleek little planes went without much maintenance. They rapidly became dirty and undependable. They always kept going, but little things were always cropping up to annoy you."

Major Bob Owens, July 1943;

Reason for the three digit numbers.

“When we went into Munda it was the first time ( since Gaudalcanal) that there was a group of squadrons flying similar machines. Each aeroplane had a number from 1 to 16. Having been assigned to fly a mission in “No 5”, I’d get out there on the line and there would be five “No 5s”- five squadrons each with a ‘No 5”! So we repainted the aircraft with numbers that weren’t like those of other units, most squadrons tending to use the last three digits of the BuNo.”

Capt. James N. Cupp, August 1943;

Capt. Ed Olander claimed a Zero on 17 October 1943 on a fighter sweep over Kahili flying this aircraft.

Edited by David Rapasi
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It's always interesting to see the fading/weathering progress of an aircraft in a specific operating theatre. Equally interesting would be to see how an abandoned Corsair would look like in the specific region.

Fantastic builds!!!!

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Wait. One week? To build, finish, and photograph, and then refinish and photograph, refinish and photograph, ..., and finally refinish and photograph one last time!?!?!

I need to stick with crayons and coloring books...

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