1/32 Scale Trumpeter kit (cat. no. 02221)
(This model is currently under construction)
The "Bent-Wing Bird" or "Whistling Death" or just Corsair.  Whatever you decide to call it, which may depend on which side of its guns you are no, the F4U Corsair was one of the most distinctive aircraft of World War II.  Its dual-dihedral wing and traditional dark blue upper color gave it an appearance that could be confused with no other aircraft of its day.

The wing shape of the Corsair was not an accident nor was it done for aesthetics.  It was inherent in the design of the airframe.  The engine powering the Corsair, the Pratt and Whitney R-2800-8 "Double Wasp" was, at the time, the most powerful engine ever installed in an aircraft.  It was a dual-row, 18-cylinder radial engine with a displacement of 2,804 cubic inches (that is just under 46 liters for the metric fans!) generating over 2,000 horsepower.  To harness that energy required a Hamilton Standard propeller that was 13'-4" in diameter.  Add to that the necessity for propeller clearance over rough landing fields, and the compression of the landing struts on hard carrier landings, the designers had two choices: 1) Landing gear that was very tall and very spindly on a "Normal" wing, or 2) Landing gear that was short and sturdy on a "Bent" wing.  They chose the latter, the Corsair was built, and history was made.

The airplane was designed in 1938 and first flown in 1940.  It was the first American fighter plane to top 400 mph.  It was designed by Vought Aircraft Company, and during the war years was built by three companies: Brewster, Goodyear, and Vought.  A total of 12,571 Corsairs of 24 variants were built.  Of those 11,798 were built during the WWII years and 773 in subsequent years.  Of those Vought built 7,830 and Goodyear and Brewster built the remainder.

In 1952 the last of the Corsair line, designated the F4U-7, was delivered to the French under terms of the Mutual Defense Assistance Program making it the last piston powered fighter aircraft to be produced in the United States.  Even though Corsair production finally reached a halt with the delivery of these 94 F4U-7s, Corsairs continued to see service for many years thereafter.

F4U-1 SPECIFICATIONS (other variants will vary)
Wing Span:40.9 ft
Overall Length:33.3 ft
Height:16.1 ft
Empty Weight:8,982 lbs
Gross Weight:14,009 lbs
Fuel Capacity:537 gallons (internal fuel (273 gal) plus two 150-gal drop tanks = standard maximum fuel (537 gal). Internal fuel (237gal) plus three 170-gal drop tanks = absolute maximum fuel (747 gal).
Oil Capacity:20 gal
Engine:Pratt & Whitney 18 cylinder, twin row air cooled radial, R-2800-8
Horsepower:2,000 + (depending on variant)
Max. Speed (sea level):425 mph
Cruise Speed (sea level):186 mph
Range at Cruise Speed:1,015 mi
Initial Rate Of Climb:3,100 ft/min
Service Ceiling:37,000 ft
Armament:Six .50 caliber machine guns
1 The kit comes with two sets of decals, one for VMF-312 "Checkerboards" and one for VMF-351.  The decals for VMF-312 are actually from the Confederate Air Force's reconstruction of the aircraft, and one of the decals (that goes below the horizontal stabilizer) reads "Confederate Air Force" and "N9964Z".  If you choose to apply this decal, be sure to leave all ordnance and the gun sight off!  The CAF's F4u-1D (actually it is an FG1-D) does not have any ordnance nor does it have a gunsight.  The original aircraft did not carry any CAF livery nor did it have a civil aircraft registration number.

2 Part number E-22 (I think) is not molded correctly, or I broke mine and never realized it.  It is one of the cartridge belts for the machine gun in the left wing.  When the belts are installed into the belt compartment they should all three be staggered so that they align with the guns.  The outermost belt (I think it is part E-22) is the same length as the middle belt and if it is glued all the way against the end of the compartment as shown in the instructions it will not line up with the breech of the machine gun.

These are images of the Pratt and Whitney R-2800-8W engine before installation in the fuselage. The ignition wiring was not included in the kit and was constructed of 0.015" copper magnet wire.  I did not put much time into detailing the rear part of the engine since it will be inside the fuselage and not visible.  I did run the ignition wires to the cylinders though.

The engine makes up a good percentage of the kit itself as there are 116 parts (including the ignition wires!) in it alone.

Want to see the real thing?  Here is a link to a "Walkaround" of the engine.

The cockpit is from Black Box, and is unfinished in these two photos.  They do give an idea of the level of detail in the Black Box resin cockpit though.

Note that the F4U did not have a floor as such.  The rudder pedals are mounted over foot trays and the actual floor pan is a good distance below the pilot's feet.

Here is a link to a "Walkaround" of the real thing.  Photos of the cockpit are about halfway down the page.

Progress Photos -- March 29, 2004
(Note that the seat shown in the cockpit photo above is not actually some weird golden color as it appears in that photo, it is silver.  I'm not sure where that color cast came from).
Mr. Pete Elizondo Vought Aircraft Company Heritage Organization
MSgt Joe Orr Kadena AFB, Okinawa
And to all the webmasters who provided information and images.  Including, but not limited to:
F4U Corsair.Com F4U Reference Site F4U Corsair Registrations
F4U Corsair Registrations F4U Corsair History Aircraft Walkaround Center
F4U-4 Corsair at Kiwi Aircraft Images F4U-5N at the Indiana Aviation Museum F4U-5N Corsair
Vought F4U Corsair IV Pictures Aeroplane Photo Supply Collection FG1-D Photos
Original VMF-312 #530 CAF VMF-312 #530 CAF #530 Walkaround
PW R-2800 Walkaround Pratt & Whitney R-2800 at FFSMC USAF Museum Engine Gallery
Pratt & Whitney Classic Engines Pictures of Aircraft Propulsion Plants Corsair Pratt & Whitney R-2800-8
Gunsight Images Gunsight Images Gunsight Images
Okinawa 1945 Okinawa 1945 Kadena AFB, Okinawa
KUNSAN AIR BASE: VMF(N)-513 (1951-1954) Vintage Fighters FG1-D Rebuild Naval Aviation History Branch
Vought F4U Vought Aircraft History VMF-312 Official Site
VMF-312 Checkerboards WWII Tech Net - Weapons F4U Cockpit Images
Trumpeter Corsair at IPMS USA    

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