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Tamiya 1/32 scale Corsair

RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT | MILITARY
Kit:60324 // Scale:1/32 // Price:$199.99
Manufacturer:
Tamiya America, 800-826-4922
Pros:
Top-notch fit; excellent surface detail; crystalline clear parts; best R-2800 engine I’ve seen in this scale
Cons:
Low-quality decals; wrong tire tread for Navy variants; non-blistered canopy not included
Comments:
Injection-molded, 549 parts (68 photoetched metal, 2 cast metal, two vinyl), decals
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Having set a high standard with its 1/32 scale P-51D, Tamiya had a lot to live up to with its new F4U-1. However, if anything, the new 1/32 scale Corsair exceeds the Mustang in fidelity and ease of assembly.

Don’t be discouraged by the high parts count; many of the parts are not used. Molds are clean and detail is crisp with very fine rivets. The export version of the kit provides clear parts for the cowl, and cowl flaps can be removed to show off a nicely detailed engine. There is a stand if you choose to pose the Corsair with the landing gear up, and both seated and standing pilot figures are included. The vinyl tires have a pesky seam in the middle of the tread — and the tread pattern is incorrect for Navy aircraft.

The 54-page instructions are clear, easy to follow, and include a brief history of the Corsair as well as stencil-placement and color-reference charts. A separate aircraft walkaround is provided, too.

Three variants can be built; choose before beginning. The main differences are the radio antennas. You must also decide whether you want flaps up or down and the wings folded or not; each option has its own instructions. 

The build begins in the cockpit and rear fuselage area (steps 1-19). No aftermarket products will be needed — detail here is simply outstanding! The instrument panel, seat, and side walls are amazing.

Detail on the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engine is fantastic. Unlike other R-2800s I have built, all the exhaust piping is present. Ignition wires are not included, and I foresee an aftermarket set that will include an engine mount along with all of the detail behind the main fire wall. Pay close attention to the instructions to make sure all of the exhaust piping is correctly placed.

Whether you choose wings folded or lowered, the detail is great. However, I am not sure what parts A4 and L4 were; I couldn’t find this light in any reference photos. Some may be disappointed by the lack of gun bays, but it would have complicated the build; you will need an aftermarket set if you want them.

Landing-gear and wheel-well detail is superb. All the springs on the landing gear are where they should be.

Modelers debate the color of the wheel wells; I referenced photos of a birdcage Corsair that was pulled out of Lake Michigan. It showed white over a salmon-colored primer. I assume that a freshly painted plane would not have showed primer, so I painted my wheel wells white.

The wing to fuselage joint was perfect — no filler needed. 

The canopy and windscreen were crystal clear and scratch-free. I didn’t use Pledge  Future floor polish as I usually do; it simply wasn’t needed. However, unlike Tamiya’s 1/48 scale birdcage Corsair, the 1/32 scale kit includes only the blistered canopy.

I painted my model using Testors Model Master insignia white for the undersides, then applied decanted Tamiya intermediate blue (AS-19) and navy blue (AS-8) according to the instructions. Before painting, I pre-shaded the main panel lines to lend a little variety to the finish. I laid down a clear gloss coat to prepare for decals.

Markings are provided for three aircraft, but the decals are terrible — a big letdown in an otherwise masterful kit. Most of the stencils silvered. Even six coats of Solvaset wouldn’t make the decals lie down. I strongly recommend the aftermarket for better results.

Even with the decal troubles, it was an enjoyable build. My Corsair took 65 hours, about what I expected, and I am very pleased with the result. I can recommend this kit to builders of all skill levels! So now what is Tamiya’s next super kit going to be?

Note: A version of this review appeared in the November 2013 FineScale Modeler.

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