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  • Writer's picture@PlaneThought41

FAA Top Gun: 1/48th Otaki F4U-1A Corsair

Updated: Jun 28

This is an old F4U-1 Corsair kit dating back to the 1970s. It has some good features (especially for its time) such as overall shape and fine panel lines but, it also has some lacking areas, such as the cockpit, gear and engine.

Notable Kit Features:

  • Simple build with few parts

  • Good overall shape of a Corsair

  • Fine recessed panel lines

  • Good parts fit

Build Inspiration:

At the time I was building a 1/48th scale Hasegawa F6F in FAA colours. I decided to add this old kit into the mix, as it was in the stash just waiting for an opportunity for a quick build. Out came my Osprey Series reference book "Royal Navy Aces of World War 2". Featured on the cover was 20 year old Canadian pilot, veteran of the strikes against the German battleship Tirpitz in Norway a year earlier and now flying Corsairs off HMS Victorious in the PTO, Sub Lt. Don Sheppard. I selected one of his aircraft that I could reproduce the markings of and I was all set for a quick add on build.

Donald J. Sheppard (right) from Toronto, Ontario was the top air-to-air pilot of the Commonwealth in the Corsair with six victories (pictured here with a couple of fellow Canadians / "Canucks").

Heads-Up Report:

  • Ejector pin marks are common

  • Cockpit is sparse and inaccurate

  • Engine isn't based on the R-2800 and is just a single row of cylinders mounted on a flat plate

  • Gear is "off" in a number of areas - tail wheel seems too tall

  • No wing-fold or control surface options

  • Very basic instructions (in Japanese only in my example)

Kit Additions / Modifications:

  • Built out of the box with the exception of the decals


As is typical, I started the paint scheme for this aircraft with the lightest colour first. British "Sky" was typically used on the undersides of FAA aircraft, which I interpreted as ANA 610 (or roughly FS 34424). Masking that off I later sprayed the upper camouflage of Olive Drab (ANA 613 / FS34087) and Dark Gray (ANA603 / FS36173). Both these tones were faded and varied in colour during the spray session to produce a more weathered look. After the paint dried sufficiently, a shot of Pledge Klear floor finish was used as the gloss coat. Decals were applied followed by the weathering tones. After all that had cured, I top-coated everything with Model Master Flat and added the final details.

The After-Build Report:

Although this is a decent kit and looks alright on the shelf, I would stop short of recommending it, unless you get the kit for a real bargain and are looking for a simple build. Note: This same plastic has also been released under the ARII and the Airfix labels.

The Tamiya 1/48th scale kits are very nice, not too expensive and would be my recommendation for the F4U-1 series. Note: The Tamiya model features folding wings and dropped flaps by default, so are maybe a bit more of a challenge to construct (however they also feature excellent Tamiya engineering and fit).

Completed build #177 - December 2014 using the 1/48th scale Otaki #A336-600 kit.

Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers

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