Now and then I build an airplane kit, so I am not the world's best aeronautical engineer at correcting kit manufacturers' flaws.
With this kit, I didn't have to be anything but a recreational modeler having a good time.
If you read no further, you will know that I recommend this kit.
Just a bit of history of the actual plane:
"Introduced into service in 1942, the Vought F4U-1 featured inverted gull wings and a massive 2,000hp engine spinning the largest propeller mounted on a fighter at the time.
While the fighter's performance and toughness was quite impressive, deficiencies such as inadequate forward visibility, restricted all-round visibility due to the early frame-like canopy, and the tendency for the left and right wings to stall at different speeds led to various improvements being added throughout production, eventually resulting in the F4U-1A version.
These improvements included a longer tail wheel leg for better forward visibility, a new canopy for better all-round visibility, and an almost unnoticeable 15cm stall strip fixed to the leading edge of the right wing to ensure both wings would stall at the same speed."
This kit has some good surprises and few disappointments.
If you like WWII subjects in 1/72 scale, I think you are going to like this kit.
Tamiya also makes the "Bird Cage" version which is a natural next step for me.
The -1A was a pleasurable build for me, and I recommend it to others.
- The parts trees, three sprues of gray and one of clear, each come individually bagged, as do the decals.
- An instruction sheet of eight pages gives directions in four languages.
The instructions are clear and well illustrated, including clues on placing more difficult parts.
The landing gear assemblies' places in the wheel wells stumped me for few minutes until I saw an insert that shows how to mount them.
- There are markings for three different aircraft and the instructions indicate which of the optional parts choices you should use to match your chosen markings.
The builder can recreate Lt(JG) Ira C. Kepford's plane from VF-17 "Jolly Rogers," a fighter from VMF-111's "Devil Dogs," or the famous Major Gregory Boyington's bird of the "Black Sheep" VMF 214.
There are two tail wheels, two props, a drop tank or a bomb, and other extras.
Very cool assist on the prop - there are markings where to stop painting the yellow blade tips, so I couldn't guess wrong!
- While decal seat belts are included, the cockpit is a nice little "office" that I thought deserved photo etch.
I used Eduard's pre-painted seat belt and shoulder harness set from their #73-004 to dress it up a bit.
- The instrument panel decal was easily improved upon by dry brushing the well detailed part and putting a drop of Future for gage faces.
- The painting instructions give clear directions with no small or hidden aspect overlooked and paint colors notated in Tamiya Paint brand numbers.
Large interior sections of the fuselage halves were marked for painting, so I did as directed.
Be sure you paint the underside of the pilot seat, foot troughs, control stick as there is a belly window (to help the pilot cope with that humongous wing, I guess) that also allows a view up and into the fuselage.
So, you can see the painted (or unpainted) interior.
Glad I followed directions.
Not noted in the instructions, the tabs which mount the empennage can be seen through the opening for the retractable tail wheel.
You may choose to paint them Interior Green so as to be less visible.
- The kit decals went on easily and settled down well with only a bit of solution.
The colors look right and "stay within the lines." I was surprised that the large decal depicting the distinctive white box outline just forward of the windshield conformed to the plastic well and assumed a "painted-on" appearance.
There are enough of the small "lift here" and "no step" sort to please the most detail oriented modeler.
- As I mentioned at the start of this review, I like kits that go together without my re-engineering them.
An example of this kit -- the landing gear wheels had a keyhole opening that fit a tab on the struts so that it all went together decisively and added strength to the finished product.
My notes don't show a single part that needed much sanding and no seam that required filler.
- Panel lines and other details are excellently cast and urge you to apply washes and other techniques to show them off.
The box art showed an aircraft that had visible wear and tear, so I used salt to simulate chipped paint in areas that might take get more wear.
The sample kit was provided to IPMS by the Tamiya America, Inc., to whom we express thanks.
The MSRP is listed by the manufacturer as $23.00, and the kit's general availability date is January 2007.