Pacific Pappy Punch: 1/48th Otaki F4U-1A Corsair
Updated: Sep 27, 2021
This kit dates back to the 1970s and has some good features (especially for its time) such as overall shape and fine panel lines but unfortunately it also has some lacking areas, such as the cockpit, gear and engine. The same plastic was also released under the ARII brand as well as the Airfix label.
Notable Kit Features:
Simple build with few parts
Fine recessed panel lines
Baa Baa Black Sheep may have had influence on this build ;)
Notice in the initial shot on the left the press crew hastily put the 'kill' decals on getting some of them facing each direction (hence you find model aircraft decals depicted like this, as my examples were). Later when they noticed their error the 'kill' markings were made consistent as per the press shot on the left. The center photo is Greg "Pappy" Boyington's in one of his many reputed mounts: Bu No. 17740 of VMF-214 based on Vella La Vella in 1943.
Ejector pin marks are common
Cockpit is inaccurate
Engine isn't based on the R-2800 and is a single row mounted on a flat plate
Gear is "off" in a number of areas
No wing-fold or control surface options
Kit Additions / Modifications:
Built this one out of the box with the exception of the Microscale decals
The paint scheme for this aircraft was the standard USN Tri-colour scheme of the time consisting of FS 35042 / FS 35164 / FS 36231. I was using this kit to see how well a free-hand spray would work (not that well using the old airbrush, so I went back to masking). As it turned out the Microscale decals also had errors contained in them... but then there is an interesting story behind that.
During the filming of Baa Baa Black sheep, Boyington did a publicity shot standing beside a Corsair decorated with the same graphics used in 1943 including Lulubelle, the nickname of his girlfriend, on the fuselage... Or so it was thought.
Many artists, model makers, die-cast companies, and custom decal printers issued renditions of Boyington’s F4U-1 as it was pictured in the show. Many portrayed it as his personal plane, though he never flew it in combat, let alone with such markings. These markings were actually applied for a publicity photo shoot with the squadron when in November 1943, Pappy was publicly credited with 20 aerial victories and the press eagerly jumped in to feature the Marine Corp Ace.
What wasn't widely known at the time of the show's filming, was that Boyington refused to acknowledge his former sweetheart (due to some legal and financial issues with her) so when he staged the photograph for the show, he portrayed the plane’s name as Lulubelle, thinking no one would be the wiser. When much later, a photo of this aircraft surfaced (with Pappy and then Jim Hill in the cockpit) it was proven that the name written below the cockpit was actually Lucybelle.
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.
The Tamiya kits (representing the early variants) are very nice, not too expensive and would be my recommendation for the -1 series. Note these kits feature folding wing and dropped flaps by default, so are a bit more of a challenge (however they do feature the excellent Tamiya engineering and fit).
Completed build #50 - December 1998 using the 1/48th scale Otaki #OT2-27-500 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 suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers