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F4U-4 Kit

Hobby Boss 1/48 F4U-4 Corsair (Early) Kit Review Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2012 Manufacturer Hobby Boss
Subject F4U-4 Corsair (Early) Scale 1/48
Kit Number 80386 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Lots of details Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $56.00

First Look

F4U-4 Kit
F4U-4 Kit
F4U-4 Kit
F4U-4 Kit
F4U-4 Kit

The first F4U Corsairs were developed in the late 1930s which featured the visually unique gull wing design. This was the result of an engineering trade-off to provide the longest propeller and the shortest practical landing gear strut.

For carrier landings, the longer the strut, the heavier and more vulnerable the gear is to impact stresses. Nevertheless, the F4U packed a huge engine under that long nose and the only way to translate all of that horsepower into thrust was by turning as large a propeller as possible. To provide the greatest ground-handling stability, the landing gear had to be spaced as far apart as practical. These requirements summed together yielded the now familiar gull wing design that, in turn, translated into a tough aircraft that would not only see combat through the end of WW2, but also serve on the front lines during the early years of the Korean War.

Hobby Boss has released the latest in its 1/48 F4U Corsair series, this one being the F4U-4 Corsair in its early production block configuration. These 1/48th scale Corsairs retain much of the same level of detail as their larger-scale cousins, the Trumpeter 1/32 F4U Corsair series. If you didn't know, Trumpeter and Hobby Boss are but two of the many brand names from one company in China that turn out some great kits.

Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on 10 parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. The kit doesn't rely on any photo-etched parts so this project is great for those who are not as comfortable with multi-media kits. The skill level is still set to Experienced because there are still lots of smaller parts that make up this detailed model and a little patience and skill will be needed to make this project go together.

The layout and features of this kit are similar to the Trumpeter kit and offers many of the same features:

  • Detailed cockpit (instrument panel and side consoles provided as decals)
  • Positionable canopy
  • Detailed R2800 engine
  • Cowling features open cowl flaps to show off the engine details on the back side
  • Positionable gun bay doors with detailed gun bays
  • Wings can be positioned extended or folded
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Positionable elevators
  • Positionable rudder
  • Positionable mult-segment flaps

For external options:

  • 8 x HVAR (rockets)
  • 2 x external fuel tanks

Markings are provided for two post-WWII examples:

  • F4U-4, 81048, VF-61, C/116, USS Midway, 1949
  • F4U-4, 80887, VF-22, C/317, USS Coral Sea, 1948

The decals provide the modeler with some nice shortcuts to marking including stripes for the tailhook, yellow tips for the propeller, red faces for the VF-22 drop tanks, as well as the more visible airframe stencils and propeller markings.

This looks like a very nice kit of the Corsair. The test shots of the F4U-1 that were on display last year at iHobbyExpo were impressive in the level of detail provided in the box without any sign of the 'mad riveter' that has appeared previously in both Trumpeter and HobbyBoss kits. This too is also a very nice kit straight out of the box while the AMS modeler will also benefit from the wide range of aftermarket details and decals already available for other 1/48 Corsairs. Until now, the best F4U kits available in 1/48 were from Tamiya, though I actually preferred the Minicraft kit. For a quick-build project, either of those two kits are still your best bet, but for an eye-catching detailed Corsair, the HobbyBoss kit assumes the title of best Corsair in 1/48 scale.

My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!