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Academy 1/48 F4U-1 Corsair Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2006 Manufacturer Academy
Subject F4U-1 Corsair Scale 1/48
Kit Number 2204 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Simple build Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $16.00

First Look


The Vought-designed F4U Corsair was in response to a 1938 US Navy requirement for a high-performance carrier-based fighter. To accommodate a 2000 horsepower engine and it's associated propeller in an airframe that could withstand carrier landings, the designers adopted an inverted gull wing that would house a shorter, more rugged landing gear than what might have been used in a straight-winged aircraft.

As with all entry-level aircraft of its day, the 'normal' canopy for a fighter was the streamlined type that limited rearward visibility and would lead to the 'blown' canopies of later Corsairs and the teardrop canopies of later fighters. The F4U-1 was found to be less-than-perfect on the carrier deck, though its armament and performance was otherwise outstanding. As a result, the Corsair entered production for land-based Navy and Marine squadrons and would prove a match for the Mitsubishi Zero in the Pacific theater.

This kit was a re-issue of the Hobbycraft 'Birdcage' Corsair. Molded in light gray plastic, the kit is comprised of 90+ parts presented on four parts trees, plus a single tree containing four clear parts for the canopy. The details are nicely scribed throughout the kit.

The kit cockpit is a little on the spartan side, though there are many aftermarket resin cockpit replacements available including one from True Details. Outside, the kit features positionable landing flaps, positionable cowl flaps, and a positionable canopy.

For external stores, you have your choice of centerline external fuel tank or a centerline bomb rack with bomb.

Assembly appears to be straightforward with the only area that may require a little putty is the fuselage/wing joint and the fuselage plug that sits aft of the cockpit and holds the rear transparencies.

Decals are provided for two different examples:

  • F4U-1, VMF-222, USMC, Bougainville, 1943
  • F4U-1, VMF-214, USMC, Solomon Islands, 1943, as flown by Lt Kenneth Walsh

This kit is a nice addition to the Corsair flightline and should pose no problems for the average builder.

This kit is recommended!

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!