|Kit:||Hasegawa, 1/72; bought for $9.63 in 2012. Model finished on 2022-02-05.|
|Aircraft:||Bu.No. 17832, "34", VF-17, US Navy, early 1944|
The model represents an aircraft flown by Lt(jg) Doris C. "Chico" Freeman of VF-17 "Jolly Rogers", US Navy, in early 1944, based at Ondonga in the Solomon Islands. Freeman scored two victories while in the VF-17, and 7 later while with the VF-84. He was killed in a kamikaze attack on the carrier USS Bunker Hill (CV-17).
The Hasegawa kit (which technically represents an F4U-1D) is generally accurate and reasonably well detailed. I added some structure into the main wheel wells, and used Eduard photo-etch seatbelts in the cockpit. The kit goes together well, and the fit of the parts is good; so good, in fact, that I almost thought of not using any glue with the canopy.
I painted the model with Mr.Color lacquers and Tamiya acrylics (XF-50 Field Blue for the US Navy Sea Blue, and XF-18 Medium Blue for the US Navy Intermediate Blue; note that Mr.Color #366 would have been a good choice for this too). There is no need to be too dogmatic about these colors, as they were mixed in the field when the US Navy camouflage directive changed. For detail colors, I had to make a choice about the landing gear: after studying photographs (including photographs of restored Corsairs), I ended up making the struts steel color (I used Alclad) and the wells white. I also cut off the tail hook, since many island-based Corsairs had this part removed; I could not find any photo of this particular aircraft that would have confirmed this, though. To convert the model from a -1D to a -1A, I painted additional frames on the cockpit canopy.
For decals, I used Eagle Cals' sheet EC#162 "F4U-1 Corsairs, Part 2". It gives you the "Stars and Bars" outlined in a lighter color blue. Some references of this aircraft show the outlines as dark insignia blue, some show them as red. I found several photos of this particular aircraft that show the outline clearly as different from the dark insignia blue, and I found color photos of other aircraft, taken at the time in the same theater, with the lighter blue outline, so I went with the decals from the sheet. The decals were excellent and did not need any reinforcement with Liquid Decal Film. Note that this aircraft earlier in her life had the tactical number "36", later to be changed to "34". Photographs show the last digit overpainted with some light color, I guessed it might have been Intermediate Blue. The decal sheet gives you a white digit "6", so I scanned it and made a mask using my Cricut cutter, and sprayed it before applying the final tactical number. I am happy with the result, as it matches photographs of the real aircraft (see photos about the process below).
One mistake I made was that I have the very small "US Navy" and "F4U-1A" stencils in the vertical tail mixed, the latter being where the former is, and vice versa; I noticed this after I had already applied Future over the decals, and since the text is really small, I decided not to fix the error.
The aircraft, based on photographs, was heavily worn, so some serious weathering was called for. I mostly did this with Tamiya Chrome Silver X-11 as well as some AK washes. Exhaust stains were airbrushed at low pressure using heavily thinned Tamiya flat black. The model was finished with several coats of Testors' Glosscote/Dullcote mix to get a nice semigloss surface.
Initial camouflage applied; feathered edges, everything airbrushed freehand
Some (deliberate) chipping
Tactical number masked
My guess was that Intermediate Blue would have been used for overpainting
Before applying decals; note the overpainted tactical number
With some details and most of the weathering still missing
The database for my personal library shows over 100 entries for the Corsair. References particularly useful for this model project are listed below.
The model received 3rd place in the category "Aircraft: Single-engine prop 1/72nd scale and smaller" at Downeastcon 2022 (Southern Maine Scale Modelers; Sanford, ME) on 2022-04-10.