1/48 Hobbycraft Vought F4U-1 Corsair

Gallery Article by Robert-Jan Willekens on Nov 27 2003


Kenneth Ambrose Walsh was the pilot of this early F4U-1 Corsair, White '13'; BuNo. 02350.The model is by Hobbycraft, with a few modifications. The drooped flaps give the bent-wing bird a very impressive look, heightened by the use of True Detail weighted wheels and resin cockpit update. The model itself has a totally inaccurate cockpit; early Corsairs had no floor, one could look straight down to the bottom of the fuselage! The True Detail update corrects this error. In my opinion the gullwing has too little of an angle; the Tamiya kit looks better in this respect. I also thinned down the cowl flaps, opened them and added detail to the back of the exposed engine. Markings come from an old SuperScale decal set called "F4U Corsair Aces" (No.48-97). I think it's out of production.

Walsh, at the time a 2nd Lieutenant with the US Marines, was based out of Munda, one of the many small islands in the Solomons, Pacific. Number 13, for many an unlucky number, was regarded as quite the opposite for Walsh. Indeed, all his aircraft had this number, including the later F4U-4 which he flew at war's end. The date set for this model is exactly the 13th of May, 1943, as shown by the three "kill" marks on the fuselage. On that day, again "lucky 13", Walsh was engaged in combat together with his unit (VMF-124) and downed two Japanese aircraft, gaining him Ace status. A magnificent painting by Roy Grinnell called "Zero Fighter Sweep" depicts this day. See it at www.brooksart.com/Zerosweep

This "Birdcage", as the early-canopied Corsairs were known, is camouflaged in the early colours of Blue Gray over Light Gray; cockpit is Green Chromate, wheel wells are White. Paints are by Humbrol. The markings are partly repainted; at first the markings were black below the canopy sill and on the front of the engine cowling, later they were repainted in white and relocated on the fuselage.

Robert-Jan Willekens


Photos and text by Robert-Jan Willekens