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Otaki/Arii 1/48 F4U-1A Corsair


Navairfan
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Here’s my rendition of the Arii 1:48 scale F4U-1A Corsair. Though this kit was originally released by Otaki in 1972 (!), it still builds into a nice Corsair. The good points are very accurate outline and shapes, finely recessed panel lines, and good parts fit. Drawbacks are a simple and inacurate cockpit, wheelwells and wheels, and an engine that doesen’t remotely resemble any engine ever used in any aircraft. Here’s how I upgraded the kit: I replaced the cartoonish engine with with a resin R-2800, updated the cockpit with Eduard photoetched insturment panel, seat and sidewall details, used seatbelts and wheels from True Details, and added a Falcon vacum-formed canopy I replaced the kit tail wheel with a more accurate-looking one from the spares box, and attached it at an angle for a more candid appearance. I also cut away the flaps and dropped them, added resin exhaust stacks from Ultracast, and added a small whip antenna to the fuselage spine. I couldn’t determine if this plane had the tail hook removed or not, so I left it on.

 

VF-17’s Corsairs didn’t have the standard forward antenna mast, and photos indicate this aircraft had an unusual field-modified antenna. Based on photos, I built an antenna that runs fron the top if the vertical fin down to the tip of the right horizontal stabilizer. From there, it runs into the usual antenna lead-in on the right side of the fuselage, behind the cockpit. I don’t know for certain if it’s accurate, but that’s how I interpreted the antenna arrangment in photos.

I used a Pasche VL airbrush to apply the three-toned camouflage scheme, though most photos of the actual aircraft indicate it was very weathered, with almost no distiction between the non-specular sea blue upper surfaces and the intermidiate blue sides. For markings, I used a SuperScale sheet to portray “White 29”, the plane flown by Lt. Ira Kepford of VF-17 while based at Ondonga, New Georgia, in the Solomon Islands in late 1943. I made a mistake in not placing the kill markings at the correct angle to the tape covering the seams of the forward fuselage cell. Finally, I used clear decal strips painted very light grey to replicate the six-inch-wide medical tape ground crews used to tape over the gunports to keep out coral dust and debris.

VF-17 was the second navy squadron to be equipped with the Corsair, and the first to deploy aboard a carrier. Assigned briefly to USS Bunker Hill, the unit was soon transferred to the Solomon Islands to serve as a land-based squadron. In its two tours of duty in the Solomons, VF-17 was credited 156 aerial victories and produced 12 aces, the most of any squadron in the Navy when it completed its tour in 1944. Kepford was the U.S. Navy’s 6th highest ranking ace, with 16 victories and 8 probables.

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Edited by Navairfan
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At one point in my life, that kit was my Holy Grail and Great White Whale wrapped into one--I wanted one badly, yet could never find one. When I finally did, I botched the job and had to wait to find another a few weeks later.

 

Those old Otaki kits were some of my favorites back in the day, and most still hold up today. Nice job!

 

Ralph

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At one point in my life, that kit was my Holy Grail and Great White Whale wrapped into one--I wanted one badly, yet could never find one. When I finally did, I botched the job and had to wait to find another a few weeks later.

 

Those old Otaki kits were some of my favorites back in the day, and most still hold up today. Nice job!

 

Ralph

Thanks, Ralph! Even after Tamiya released their outstanding 1:48 Corsairs, the Otaki kit still holds up realy well.

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Excellent old-school modeling! That's a great looking Corsair, and goes to show it's the skills applied and not just what comes in the box. Congrats, and thanks for sharing. I too love those old Otaki kits!

 

GIL :smiley16:

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Excellent old-school modeling! That's a great looking Corsair, and goes to show it's the skills applied and not just what comes in the box. Congrats, and thanks for sharing. I too love those old Otaki kits!

 

GIL :smiley16:

Thanks, Gil! I've admired your work for years, and your comments are always appreciated.

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Nice going Drew! The old Otaki kits bring back many pleasant memories.

 

Mark

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Minor detail; Otaki came out with this line of 1/48 fighters in (like you said) 1972, went out of biz around eighty-nine when Arii bought the company assets.

 

Most modelers viewed these kits as a blessing even though some of the detail was fiction. As you've demonstrated, with skill and some upgrades they turn out quite nice. They make great palettes for the leftover decals from newer releases.

 

Really love your paint job and detail work!

 

Cheers

K

 

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As Einstein pointed out, everything is relative!

 

The Otaki kits WERE a blessing when they came out in the mid '70s, especially compared to most of what else was available. They were releasing kits that either hadn't been available, or hadn't been available in the US, or that were a step up from what could be had. The Japanese and USN subjects were their best compared to the competition, while their USAAF kits were a notch below and more on a par with the Monogram equivalents of the day.

 

They had more detailing than most of their competition, and as far as accuracy was concerned, they were at least as accurate as most of their counterparts, especially considering the state of knowledge about such things at that time. Our knowledge on modeling subjects has increased exponentially since that time, not to mention the manufacturing capabilities of the mold makers.

 

They've faded in comparison to many newer kits that have been released since the '90s, but as proven by Drew's build, still can hold their own with a little skill and elbow grease. Put his Corsair on a table next to a 1/48 Tamiya -1a and from 2ft away you wouldn't know the difference!

 

GIL :smiley16:

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