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F4U-1A Kit

Tamiya 1/48 Vought F4U-1A Corsair Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2009 Manufacturer Tamiya
Subject Vought F4U-1A Corsair Scale 1/48
Kit Number 61502 Primary Media Styrene, Metal
Pros Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

F4U-1A Kit
F4U-1A Kit
F4U-1A Kit
F4U-1A Kit
F4U-1A Kit
F4U-1A Kit
F4U-1A Kit

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.

Tamiya's 1/48 Vought F4U-1A Corsair is one of their excellent line of kits that just about falls together without any problems. The fit of the kit is great and ditto on the detailing..

The kit is molded in gray styrene and four parts trees, plus a separately provided cowling and a single tree of clear parts. The standard set of decals for the stock release, and the motorization kit round out this release.

The kit accurately captures the look of the open cockpit floor that allowed the pilot to see through the ventral window. While there are some aftermarket cockpits produced for this kit, the stock cockpit is just fine. All you'll need are some photo-etched seatbelts and a shoulder harness, but even these are provided in the kit as decals.

There are a number of nice options and features in this kit. These include:

  • Detailed cockpit with open floor
  • Optional pilot figure
  • Positionable canopy
  • Choice of open or closed cowl flaps
  • Positionable folding wings
  • Positionable flaps
  • Centerline fuel tank
  • Centerline bomb rack and bomb
  • Extra underwing external tanks not used in this version


Tamiya supplies a tiny electric motor that slips into a hole in the firewall. The motor shaft passes through the radial engine and the propeller slips over the shaft. Simple!

Wiring from the motor passes out a hole in the bottom of the fuselage and through a hole in the display base. These wires attach to the switch and battery holder (1 x AA battery - not included) that are attached to the underside of the base. You can power up your Corsair at will.

Decals are provided for two examples:

  • F4U-1A, VF-17, Ondonga, Nov 1943, 'Big Hog'
  • F4U-1A, VMF-111, Gilbert Islands, Sep 1944