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F4U-4 Corsair

Revell Germany, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Revell Germany Kit No. 03955 - F4U-4 Corsair
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media: All plastic injection molded kit including parts in gray styrene with recessed panel line and rivet detail and clear parts for canopy.
Price:

USD$13.99plus shipping available online from Squadron.com
GBP£5.99 EU Price (£4.99 Export Price) plus shipping available online from Hannants

Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Crisp moldings, affordable price, good registration on decals.
Disadvantages: Incorrect cockpit details, complicated parts breakdown, poor detail on cannon inserts, no wing ordinance options typical of the variant.
Conclusion: Revell-Germany’s new F4U-4 is a mixed bag. Many details are incorrect or omitted. At the same time, the general shape looks good and what is provided should provide the basis for an attractive and accurate model after a good bit of work. The price is certainly attractive. While I still hold out hope for a better kit down the line, experience suggests it is unlikely. I think using the Revell kit as the base and supplementing with parts from the otherwise inaccurate Italeri kit may be the best approach for those wanting a later model ‘bent-wing bird.’


Reviewed by Rafe Morrissey


Revell's 1/72 scale F4U-4 Corsair is available online from Squadron.com

 

Background

 

As a dedicated Corsair fanatic, it is always nice to see new kits of the bent-wing bird brought to market.  That said, it is even nicer when they turn out to be good.  The Revell-Germany kits have some pluses, but fall frustratingly short of the mark through some complicated engineering to accommodate different versions and indifferent detail.  When all is said and done, an attractive model can be produced and the price is pleasing, but the kits come in far below the state of the art being set by other manufacturers.

 

 

FirstLook

 

A “F(aux)4 U- 4?”

While the earlier Corsair variants have been well covered, an accurate good quality F4U-4 in 1:72nd scale has proven to be truly elusive.  Earlier efforts by Italeri and Hobbyboss have significant detail errors or are greatly simplified.  I was hopeful that Revell Germany might finally fill the gap for a small scale F4U-4.  Building their F4U-1A kit did not bolster my confidence.  That kit had some good points but was let down by incorrect details and complicated engineering.  Unfortunately, the new -4 reflects many of the same issues. 

 

  • Revell 1/72 scale F4U-4 Corsair Review by Rafe Morrissey: Image
  • Revell 1/72 scale F4U-4 Corsair Review by Rafe Morrissey: Image
  • Revell 1/72 scale F4U-4 Corsair Review by Rafe Morrissey: Image
  • Revell 1/72 scale F4U-4 Corsair Review by Rafe Morrissey: Image
  • Revell 1/72 scale F4U-4 Corsair Review by Rafe Morrissey: Image
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Detail Fail

It is probably best to start with the kit problems.  The most significant occur in the cockpit.  In an effort to get the most out of one set of molds, Revell seems to have taken all the details in the early and late Corsair cockpits and split the difference.  The result is that neither is truly accurate. 

In terms of parts provided, the cockpit in the -4 is identical to the earlier -1A kit.  The upshot is that it is wrong in many respects.  The biggest issue is that the cockpit has no floor which was added in the -4 variant.  A good overview of the -4 cockpit is provided in the photo below. 

 

 

Sadly, Revell Germany only provides an approximation of the floorless design, so it isn’t right for the earlier version either.  On the plus side, the instrument panel includes a center panel, wrong for the -1A but correct for the -4. 

 

 

The side consoles look more like those used in the -4, so that is a plus. 

 

 

The seat is poor for either variant but especially for the -4 which had only a seat pan using the rear armor as a seatback. 

 

 

The rear bulkhead is problematic in that it has seat rails that must be removed as well as cutouts for the ‘birdcage’ rear windows that must be filled.  My hope is that by adding a floor from sheet plastic, cutting the pedals to attach to it and reworking the rear bulkhead to add the armor panel, a fairly decent cockpit will be achievable.  It will take a fair amount of work.

 

 

A second issue is a sin of omission.  As the Corsair evolved, it was used more and more for ground attack.  By the time of the -4, this was its primary mission, but Revell provides no ordinance or even stubs for the outer wings.  I have looked at a hundreds of F4U-4 pictures and almost all of them show rockets, bombs or stubs or pylons under the wings.  The Revell kit uses the same wings for the -4 as in the -1A.  This was tolerable for the earlier version because they did not carry wing ordinance typically. (The fact that Revell included the center wing pylons mostly used on the -1D is another issue!) For the -4, it is a major omission.  I would have been happy if they molded at least the stubs on the bottom of the wings so one could cut them off.  As it is, I am going to have to scratch up a set.

The attempt to model the cannon configuration is also half-hearted at best.  The cannon parts look more like the mountings on the earlier F4U-1C and would need to have the barrels trimmed to look right.  It would also be necessary to fill one of the shell ejector ports under the wing, but the placement of the ports for the .50 machine guns is different, so the placing won’t be correct.  A lot of F4U-4s had the 6 .50s, so my advice would be to bin the cannon parts.  There is enough work to do to build the wings as Revell provides separate wing tips, presumably so they can do a clipped wing British version at some point.  The engineering for the tips is awkward and requires some careful filling and rescribing, though.


 

Silver Linings

To end on a more positive note, I checked the major parts against the drawings in the Bert Kinzey ‘Detail and Scale’ book and they matched up pretty well. 

The extension behind the tail looks a tad shallow, but pretty close.  I am not into red lines and this is close enough for me.  The rendition of the cowling looks much better than the earlier -1A kit and I anticipate a better fit.  There are gaps in the open cowl flaps but a closed set is provided and should look fine. The crank case for the engine is a fairly decent approximation of the later style used in the -4, but not as good as the one Revell Germany put in their P-47M kit.  The propeller looks quite good.  The clear parts are clear and reflect the later squared off windscreen. 

 

 

Both drop tanks and bombs are included for the inner wing pylons giving some recognition of the -4’s role as a ground pounder. 

 

 

The decals look nice and are for a reserve unit which may be an attempt to get around the lack of wing ordinance (though all the reserve -4 pictures I have still show the rocket stubs mounted).

 

 

Conclusion

 

Revell-Germany’s new F4U-4 is a mixed bag.  Many details are incorrect or omitted.  At the same time, the general shape looks good and what is provided should provide the basis for an attractive and accurate model after a good bit of work.  The price is certainly attractive.  While I still hold out hope for a better kit down the line, experience suggests it is unlikely.  I think using the Revell kit as the base and supplementing with parts from the otherwise inaccurate Italeri kit may be the best approach for those wanting a later model ‘bent-wing bird.’


Review Text Copyright 2017 by Rafe Morrissey
Page Created 16 February, 2017
Last updated 16 February, 2017

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