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Dark Blue Killer - Tamiya 1/32 F4U-1D Corsair

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This is just spek-tak-yoo-lar ... the subtle paint chipping, the lovely paint ... just gorgeous!     :thumbsup:


... oh, and your pix are great too ... nice and clear ... we don't hafta strain to see your details!

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Looking fantastic!  I think you absolutely nailed the soot around the gun ports.   How did you do that (or did I miss it?).


Makes me want to start my Trumpeter -1D kit.


Looking forward to seeing this one finished!



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Thanks very much for the compliments guys, it's much appreciated.   Derek - I touched on the gunports in one of my recent updates but essentially, I used a mix of brown-ish grey paint, followed by brown pastels to replicate that mess.  Prior to that step, I used a few tiny bits of tan painted scotch tape to replicate the blasted packing tape used to seal the muzzle ports on the real thing.   Check out the color pic I posted of a Corsair being loaded with HVAR's, I tried to my best to replicate that look.   As mentioned, I'm removing some of the pastels, I do think I went a bit heavy.


One thing I forgot to mention in my last update -  I sprayed the top of the engine cowling with dullcoate.   Have no idea if My Nell had a painted flat blue anti-glare panel (as some -1D's did) or if it just weathered to a flat finish but the reference pics I've seen show this area looking pretty flat.   Previously, it was way too shiny.    May not be that apparent in the pics above but it's pretty noticeable in RL.  I'm very happy with the way it looks.   

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  • 3 weeks later...

So, just to prove I haven't been totally sitting on my butt for the last three week, I figured I'd post a few pics to show my very limited progress.    I've been adding the hydraulic lines in the wing fold area.   I also added the kit's actuator linkage from the wingfold to the outer flap.  Kudo's to Tamiya, this area is incredibly complex and yet they seem to have replicated pretty much all the major bits, down to servicing placards.  They even provided the gun camera and landing light fixtures that are mounted within the outer wing.   Just as importantly, they designed everything in a manner that makes a very complex area fairly easy to build.  All I can add is to study the instructions closely and when in doubt, dry fit before gluing.   My modifications were pretty basic.  I drilled some small holes in the wingroot base for a couple of hydraulic lines (the remainder go through one of the lightning holes or just connect to one of the hydraulic actuators)  and added a total of 7 lines using small dia copper wire painted grey.  Note on colors - from the pics I've seen, these hydraulic lines came in multiple colors, including GSB.   I opted for a darkish grey just to add a bit of color vrs everything being dark blue.  There was also a larger dia (also made from copper wire) line in the aft section of the wing, this was painted flat black.   


I know I sound like a record here but Dana Bell's book has some very clear pics of this area that I found to be invaluable.   Regarding reference pictures - one word of caution -  I've noticed that if you are just googling pictures on the net, many of them are of restored warbirds.   Take these pictures with a big grain of salt, most warbirds are not 100% accurate replicas in all areas.    Many WW2 cockpit details are stripped out (armor, avionics, various small fittings, etc) and modern fittings added.  Same applies to hydraulic lines, etc. No guarantee that stuff like this is the same color or even in the same configuration as on a military F4U that was in service back in 1945.  In this regard, good period reference pics, such as those in Bell's book are invaluable.  


Anyhoo...  Here are a few pics of the wing fold.  Since this is sadly a football-free weekend, I'm hoping to get the other wing completed as well.  Wish me luck and as always, thanks for looking. 


This pic highlights some of the weathering I did with that artists silver pencil.  I really like using this!  Weathering is still ongoing, got to add a few black-ish scuffs and some chipping around the fuselage, below the cockpit.  The rest of the airframe will be left in it's current shape. 






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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks Southern!   I haven't built there 48th F4U's so I can't add much but maybe someone does aftermarket resin wing folds?


Anyhoo...  So I've got a bit more completed.   I added the hydraulic lines to the port wing fold (no need for pics, it looks identical to the ones above) and I started adding some details to the canopy.   I never noticed previously but there is a good amount of hardware present that strangely enough, Tamiya missed.    See below (thanks to Jennings and Mike Maben over on LSP for these great pics):






This includes the red painted canopy locking handles, the yellow canopy release lever and a very complex pulley and cable system that runs from the exterior canopy release push-button to the yellow release handle.    I started out with the easy stuff - I fabricated the release handle from a thin diameter styrene rod, that I filed down to represent a more rectangular cross section.  I thought about using scrap PE but this handle is thicker and PE wouldn't look as realistic.   The knob on the end is simply multiple dabs of superglue that were allowed to dry between applications.   Aside from that, I just used a smaller diameter rod and a square of styrene as the base.    The locking handles were just a small section of .025" rod, cut to length and topped with a wafer thin section of .040" to represent the flared section at the end.  


Here is my progress so far....  I'm not totally happy with the outcome but I think it will look ok once the canopy is installed on the aircraft.   I'm on fence about the yellow handle that might be a bit too "chunky" but again, we'll see how it looks a bit later...  sometimes close up pics tend to exaggerate small details like this.  






Now I'm trying to figure out how to replicate the pulley system.   Space is pretty tight due to those mirrors and they kind of throw off the geometry of the system.   Not sure how I'm going to approach this one.   Stay tuned....

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Thanks for the compliments guys.   Geoff, I know I sound like a broken record but I can't recommend this kit enough.   Even if you are just a straight out of the box type of builder, you won't be disappointed.  Rocat - Yeah, I never noticed any of that stuff either but once I saw the pics above, I had to at least give it a shot.  



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So the canopy work continues.    Very time consuming and given my inherent laziness, still not close to completion.    Based on the pics above, I've done my best to replicate that very complex locking system on the interior bow.  Unfortunately, I've had to simplify things quite a bit due to the geometry of the Tamiya canopy when the mirrors are installed and just the very small size of the hardware involved.    All in all, at this stage, I've added a total of approx 18 parts so far and still have a ways to go.   The pulleys were very short bits of .020 rod, glued to styrene bases.   Hard to really tell what color they were from those pics, I opted for a light grey with black centers.  Although the pics show two parallel runs of cable from each pulley, I just couldn't do it.   I hang my head in shame, please don't judge me harshly for this transgression. 


The cables were simply very fine lengths of stretched sprue, glued in place using very fine needle nose tweezers and a drop of white glue on either end. I won't using anything except white glue for this type of work.  CA can leave soot and if I screw up, I'll never get it off the clear plastic.    


I also added some scratches to the canopy release lever and locking handles.   To complete this, I still have to add some bits to the base of the canopy and then final runs of cable.   As noted, these bits are simplified and the geometry is off but I think it's still better than nothing.   Anyway, here are some pics.



I''ll fix that silvering on the fuel tank cover decals before this is all over.  Trust me!






A few other pics to show the canopy and some additional weathering.  I used pastels to replicate the scuffing on the inner wings and added a few more scratches using that silver artists pencil (this thing is great for this type of work, well worth the $5.00 I paid for it at Michael's). 






In the pic above, you will note that notch cut out of the rear of the canopy frame.   Previously, pilots would notice that the radio would sometimes short out when the canopy was open.   Come to find out, the rear edge of the canopy frame was coming in contact with the antenna wire that entered the fuselage right beneath it (this hasn't been added to my model yet).   Rather than spend money and time moving the wire entry point or insulating the canopy,  Vought just simply took some tin snips and cut away a small portion of the canopy frame.   Easy-peezy!  



Anyway, that's it for now.  Thanks for looking.  

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11Bee, that really is some amazing work. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and struggles with us. I  like to see your forethought and planning as you went about the build. The results certainly are astonishing.  Kindest regards, Dutch

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Hey, thanks very much Dutch, greatly appreciate the compliment!


I'm calling the canopy complete.   I added some hardware behind the red "push to release" button and at the base of the canopy to replicate locking hardware.  As noted, I couldn't get it 100% accurate but to me at least, it looks better than the just the bare canopy bow that Tamiya left for me.    Maybe some kind soul would be interested in casting a bow interior in resin? 


I never noticed all this hardware before but now that I saw those pics, it'd be pretty hard to just use the kit parts.  Final parts count (not including the canopy and kit mirrors) is 23.  Add another 5-6 for parts I built and then launched into a different time zone with my tweezers.  Wow... such fun! :)   


Here are some pictures of the finished canopy.  Better to take them with the canopy off the aircraft, with the wings folded, they block the view.  I also added some paint scratches to the interior of the bow.  












Thanks for looking!  Next up is will be my feeble attempt at the wire antennas.   I'll be honest, I've never done these before and am not sure how it's going to work out.   In retrospect, I should have done this before I installed the wings because my access to the forward antenna post is now somewhat limited.   Any tips are much appreciated, especially since the Corsair's antenna configuration is somewhat involved.   

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I've got the weathering 95% done.  As mentioned, these aircraft stayed in relatively good shape compared to their land based brothers but that being said, a close look at a couple of the color pics in Dana Bell's book shows that they still managed to get pretty grungy during sustained operations.   Aside from the wing roots which seemed to always show pretty heavy chipping due to the high foot traffic, most other chipping was pretty limited.  However, they did get pretty filthy from engine / gun soot and scuffing from maintenance crews.  Here are a couple of good reference pics I posted earlier, both from Dana's book.  As a coincidence, both aircraft are on the USS Block Island at the same time as My Nell III so I think they are very representative of my model.   Note the worn off the rivets on the wing leading edge. 





This pic does a good job of illustrating how dirty these aircraft got.  Note that this Corsair has an aluminum sheet metal panel double riveted to the fuselage directly above the wing root.  This was a late modification to reinforce the fuselage in this area.  During heavy landings, this area often was distorted.   Tamiya didn't include this on their model and I missed it on mine.   Sorry guys!!  Note the greyish exhaust and the scuffing on the wing root and bottom of the aircraft number from boots.    Also note the general filth on the upper fuselage in the fuel tank area. 



Here are some pics of my progress.  I used a black wash on the wheel hubs to pop out some of the awesome detail Barracuda included.   Used a mix of black, dark brown and grey pastels for the grunge and used my trusty silver artist's pencil to pick out some rivets and scratches.   Need to go easy in this area.  I limited them to the front cowling, wing leading edges (a few on the vertical / horizontal stabs), around the canopy / cockpit and the wing root.  


Here are some shots of my progress.   I also added the fuselage navigation light and the pitot tube.  Still messing with the decal on the fuselage fuel tank filler.  I'll get it squared away before I'm done. 













That's it for now.  At this point,  I just have some paint / weathering touch-ups and I need to figure out how to add the antenna wires (including the lower fuselage IFF antenna) and this baby will finally be done after 10 months of mostly enjoyable work.    Thanks for looking. 

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  • 1 month later...

Ok lads, I think I'm calling this one done.   I added the antennas (probably the hardest part of this entire build).   It's not really up to my standards (such that they are) but it's all I could manage.  My hat is off to all the modelers who do such a good job in this area!   A couple of notes - I thought about painting the sprue black but in looking at my references, it seems like the antenna is a natural metal with whiteish insulators.   Not sure I like the current color, I may go back and try to gently apply a dark wash to the antennas.    Also, the lower antenna is a bit loose.  In some pictures, it does appear to have some sag.  I plan on going back and CAREFULLY apply some heat to try to tighten it up. Given that the last time I did this, the entire assembly collapsed, I figured I'd better my pictures in her current state.   If I can improve this area, I'll repost a couple of shots.     


This build kept me happily employed for nearly 3/4 of a year.  It's the most fun I've had modeling in ages.  I just want to thank every one who contributed all their feedback and more importantly their advice.  Two people I want to personally thank - Jennings, first off for his awesome decals, without which I never would have been interested in building this aircraft and secondly for his generous contribution of the Brassin resin 500 lb bomb.   I also want to thank "One to One Scale".  He generously bailed me out twice.  First with a replacement landing gear leg and second with some extra decals.    Thank you guys so much.  Here are some final pictures, I'll also post some shots in the Ready for Inspection forum later.   I'll also pull together a summary of all the modifications I did to this kit, in case anyone is interested.    














Note that the reflection of the GSB adds a weird tone to some of these pictures, trust me - it's the camera, not the paint job!




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Thanks much guys.   A few retrospective notes on this build:  I didn't do a good job on the upper engine cowl.   I left it loose so it can be removed but for some reason the gap between panels is wider than I would have liked.   If I had to do it over again, I'd have just bit the bullet and glued the upper cowl in place and filled / rescribed the gap.  I recall a few other builders mentioned this problem, so I really can't say if it's due to the fit of Vector cowl flaps or the Tamiya bits.  Also, I wish I hadn't rushed the engine build.   I should have installed the oil lines that run across the top of the cylinders first, then the ignition wires.  Also, for anyone else replicating the folded wings, do your self a big favor - finish the entire kit (including antennas)  before you add the folded wings.   They block access to a good portion of the upper fuselage.   I should have also used aftermarket national markings.  The Tamiya decals are pretty thick and don't show the underlying detail as well as quality aftermarket decals like those from Fundekals.  


Lastly, if it helps any fellow builders - here's a full list of all the corrections and updates I incorporated into my build.  Not saying it's the complete list of every modification the kit needs or that all of these are even necessary.  Some are just to update the kit to the late -1D variant I was building. Just posting in case it helps anyone else.


  • cockpit flare gun deleted entirely
  • Delete upper wing ID light
  • Delete lower wing landing light
  • Add left side armor plate (installed to protect the pilots throttle arm) 
  • Add under seat armor plate (installed when the Corsair gradually started performing air to ground missions). 
  • Add left side windshield hand grip 
  • Add a thin metal bracket on top of seat for seatbelts
  • Fill in cockpit vent in fuselage (this mod was only seen on post-war Corsairs, with maybe a few limited exceptions). 
  • Fill in wing fuel tank fill ports (these tanks were deemed an explosion hazard and were gradually eliminated from later production runs). 
  • Drill out cockpit frame lightening holes
  • Add rudder pedal adjustment levers
  • Added multiple hydraulic lines on forward cockpit bulkhead
  • Added pins and retaining cables for pilot's back armor plate
  • Drilled out top tubes on pilot's seat mounting frame
  • Removed moulded on seat adjustment lever and replaced with scratchbuilt part. 
  • Drilled out lightening holes on footrest support frames.
  • Added multiple electrical lines underneath instrument panel and side consoles
  • Used awesome Barracudacals cockpit decals
  • Used thin acetate between kit instrument panel and decal, instead of thick kit clear part
  • Added hydraulic line to cockpit accumulator 
  • Added large heating duct to right side of cockpit
  • Added stubs of pencils sticking out of map case
  • Used pilots oxygen hose, to run from regulator 
  • Thinned levers on throttle assembly
  • Drilled out opening of pilot's relief tube and added drain hose
  • Added HGW harness instead of kit PE
  • Added bomb emergency release lever on left side of console
  • Added very basic 2D radio behind cockpit seat 
  • Added multiple electrical cables to radio and IFF control boxes on right sideway of cockpit
  • Added rocket control panel (kit part R-44 but not shown in instructions)
  • Added rocket firing handle on upper left side of cockpit
  • Added electrical lines for MG switches on glareshield
  • Sand down the fabric stitching on wings and control surfaces
  • Added Vector cowling set.  Fiddely but in my opinion, well worth it if you are leaving the cowl flaps open
  • Added cowl flap actuator rods and linkages
  • Added engine ignition lines, with clips to hold the lines together
  • Added oil drain line on bottom of crankcase
  • Added curved oil lines at top of cylinders (see my comments above)
  • Added larger diameter lines that connect cylinder tops to each other
  • Added electrical and hydraulic lines to main landing gear bays
  • Carved out openings at bottom of main landing gear retraction struts
  • Drill out lightening holes in main landing gear bays
  • Thinned kit exhaust openings
  • Opened lightening holes in sides of flap panels
  • Open up lightening holes in LG oleo scissor links
  • Added Barracuda resin wheels 
  • Added ignition "pigtail" leads to HVARs
  • Added Brassin resin 500 lb bomb in lieu of kit 1,000 lb bomb (thanks Jennings!!)
  • Added arming wires to front and rear bomb fuzes
  • Added scratchbuilt wingtip navigation lights
  • Added multiple hydraulic and electrical lines to wing-fold area
  • Added emergency release handles and linkages to interior of canopy frame.
  • Used those awesome Fundekals decals.

I think I listed everything.  Hope this is helpful and thanks for looking!

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