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Tamiya 1:32 F4U1-A1 Corsair Build Thread

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  • Member since
    March, 2012
  • From: Louisville, KY
Posted by Builder 2010 on Sunday, December 02, 2018 3:12 PM

Thank you! And that's a great suggestion. Unfortunately, I've already applied the decals to the wings. I'm comfortable finishing with the decals, but if I do it again, I think I will paint them on.

How long do you think delivery is to Kentucky, USA?

  • Member since
    November, 2004
Posted by snapdragonxxx on Monday, December 03, 2018 3:32 AM

I would allow 2 weeks from order to delivery. I ordered Japanese insignia for my ZM Shinden and Ki-45 Nick and they took about 2 weeks for delivery.

It is well worth having a good look around the website and they might do custom stuff too, but I am not sure.

  • Member since
    March, 2012
  • From: Louisville, KY
Posted by Builder 2010 on Monday, December 03, 2018 7:03 PM

Happy Monday. Started the day visiting my cardiologist to see how to stop my latest AFib experience. It's not too bad. The last time, a year and a half ago, ended itself after 11 days. I'm at day 9 of this episode. He wants to do a stress test and another echo cardiogram just to rule out any physiological abnormalities. My BP was actually pretty good considering. 

Then went to the LHS to buy some AK Ultra Matte, of which they were out, so I bought some Tamiya Flat Clear instead. I also bought a Badger 200 (made in USA) single action detail air brush to replace the Chinese ones that are less than a year old and working poorly due to their dissolving O'rings. They are incompatible with acetone, but they don't mention this in the instructions, and to get dried acrylic out of the fine passages, acetone works great.

I got to work after 2:00 p.m. and finished stenciling the wings on both sides. The top side (which will be practically invisible in the folded position) has some skinny walkway decals which gave me a little trouble, but they're okay. He wings now have to be flat coated which will disguise all the contrast inconsistencies.

Got to work on the Fuze decals starting with the big stars and bars on the port side. It went on nicely without tearing.

Of course, all this success can't be allowed without another ridiculous setback. The wing support spar that has broken 2 times, broke completely off again when I inadvertantly put some side pressure on it. Believe me, it was not a lot of pressure. The cause: the styrene walls of the holes holding the metal pins were so thin that the side pressure broke them out and the pins were FREE. This time, I could no longer drill and pin... there wasn't any material left in which to do it. It was like when you have a previously filled tooth break, especially one with a big filling. There's nothing left to hold any more filling and it's time for a crown. Unfortunately in this case, a crown was not an option. 

So I turned to my next standby, J-B Weld. I got the pins back into their now-open grooves and held them temporarily with thin CA and then applied the epoxy which will cure overnight. It should hold... hopefully. If it doesn't, I'm kind of at a loss. I could get a new part from Tamiya, cut off the entire hinge assembly which is molded with the main spar, and then glue and pin the hole assembly to the spar. That would be the end game.

I may clean up the epoxy when cured to give a bit more definition to the now-lumpy detail. Moral: don't break the darn thing in the first place.

I just went down and checked it, and it's already cured enough to tell me that it's holding. So here's hop'n.

  • Member since
    June, 2008
Posted by lewbud on Monday, December 03, 2018 8:33 PM

That's a beautiful build you've got going. I haven't seen that Corsair book in ages. I had it in the stacks, but a puppy got a hold of it and there wasn't much left afterwards. I'm glad you went in another direction with your paint choices. The Tamiya rattle cans for Navy Blue and Intermediate Blue are way off. Looking forward to watching this come together.

Buddy- Those who say there are no stupid questions have never worked in customer service.

  • Member since
    March, 2012
  • From: Louisville, KY
Posted by Builder 2010 on Tuesday, December 04, 2018 6:14 PM

Thank you! Today I actually made it through without breaking anything...

The Life Color paint hasn't disappointed. It's also easy to touch up scratches since it seems to blend back nicely with the airbrushed coat when dry. It cleans up with isopropyl alcohol, but I don't thin with it. I use Testor's universal acrylic thinner for non-Tamiya paints. For Vallejo, I only use their thinner.

Before I discuss today's progress, I finally got a handle on spilling stuff. Even though the Tamiya glue bottles are wider on the bottom than the top, they DO SPILL and often with horrendous results (see my repair on the island of the USS Essex...). And the Microscale bottles are far, far worse. They spill even if you open them carelessly.

So for the Tamiya bottles I took a piece of scrap and routed out a cavity for the bottles and then used some servo tape to secure them into them. I could have made the plank wider, but it seems to be working. And for the Microscale decal solutions I simply clamped them into my woodworkers vise... not to tightly, but enough so they WON'T SPILL. 

Spent the entire work session putting on decals and I'm almost done. I first coated the underside with the Testor's One-coat Clear Lacquer since I had forgotten to do it. I used the Tamiya Clear flat on the wings, and caught myself only matte finishing one nav light before I realized I had to remask them if I ever wanted to look through them again. So I stopped and quickly added liquid mask to all the wing transparent parts... and then did the flat painting. The results are good. The Tamiya flat seems to lay down more evenly than Dullcoat.

Still to be done with these is some very mild powder stains from the gun ports and ejections chutes. 

I brush painted some Tamiya gloss onto the upper part of the landing gear strut to prepare it to receive the trickiest decal to apply in the whole model; an specification plate on the Oleo Strut. I let this dry and worked on getting some more stencils on the fuselage. I took the decals off their backing with tweezers and placed them on the two main struts and then used a toothpick to manipulate them to get them in place and vertical. It was finicky and my hands were very shaky. I hadn't had lunch. When I had lunch I also took a shot of some wonderful 18-year-old, single barrel Elijah Craig 90 Proof Bourbon. In about 10 minutes, my hands were much steadier. It would have been much easier to put on this decal during gear assembly, but that would have made it impossible to airbrush the entire assembly. Instead, I held off until I was doing all the other decals.

There were tons of tiny stencils on the fuselage and some big and tricky decals. I worked methodically from aft to front and held the plane in the Panavise during most of it. The big stars, like on the port side, went on nicely. I had no tearing after coating them with the Microscale Decal Film. Then I got to the white striping in front of the cockpit.

What this detail actually represents is sealing tape that was put on the early Corsairs to prevent fuel from seeping from the fuel tank compartment and fouling the windscreen. I've also read that it was to stop fumes from entering the cockpit. In later iterations, they no longer needed this taping. Until my research I thought it was some kind of identifying feature, but it wasn't... it was operational.

So I got the decal wet and then realized, after looking more closely at the positioning, that part of the decal wraps around the FORWARD CANOPY. Yikes! I wasn't planning on installing that now! And before you can put it on, you need to glue on the bulletproof glass shield and reflective surface for the gun sight. So I have an important decal sitting there all wet and I have to get the canopy on. I needed to kill the gloss on the top of the instrument panel too. I moved quickly and got it all glued in without screwing anything up.

Once I was applying the decal it went on pretty smoothly and needed a lot of setting solution since it bending around some curves.

I finished all the rest of the stencils, painted the gas cap, and got walkway strips on the tops of the mid-wings. 

I flipped the plane upside down and started working on more weathering and stenciling on the belly. The Tamiya Panel Line Highlighter works much better on a sealed surface and its low surface tension lets it flow down the seams pretty easily. I used some mineral spirits to clean up excess since it is solvent based. I used some black weathering powder to add more exhaust stains. I then got all the bottom stencils in place. I added the four remaining little gear doors that close behind the extended landing gear. These too had to wait until all the hydraulic piping and detail painting was finished since they really block access to the front gear well... and blocks seeing some of the neat details too.

There are a smattering of stencils left for the horizontal stab and elevators, and then the plane's decals are done. What's left? The entire model minus the wings need to be matte coated, and I now know that the Tamiya bottle flat finish does airbrush very nicely. I have to put on the wheels and attach the tail hook. I need to paint and build the beautiful propeller, which also has some decals. The yellow tips are actually a decal in this kit. Never had that. There are two added vertical antenna masts that need to be installed and then some radio antenna wiring (E-Z Line) that I need to run. And I have to build, paint, decal and install the one piece of ordinance; a 500 lb. bomb. I can't forget the pitot tube, which should be the last thing to add since it will be the first thing to break. And the model will be finished.

  • Member since
    March, 2012
  • From: Louisville, KY
Posted by Builder 2010 on Wednesday, December 05, 2018 5:33 PM

Getting near the finish line. I put liquid mask on the windscreen and stuffed some wet tissue up underneath so I could air brush the flat clear on the entire plane. I also wanted to hit the pilot since he has a bit of a sheen that I didn't want. But before I did that I also put liquid mask on those cool, clear goggles so they wouldn't get totally fogged. After the flat spray, I went back and did a very minor additive to the exhaust stains with some flat black and my new Badger 200 detail gun. I then took a bunch of pictures. Note: all the complex decals laid down beautifuly with the MicroSol and MicroSet. I also airbrushed powder stains on the wings (maybe overdid that a bit).

I repainted the wheels as you might see in the above. The "Flat Aluminum" I was using out of a Tamiya Jar of that name seemed very dark. I found another bottle and it was much, much brigther. I suspect, the former was a mix I made to simulate galvanized steel. I also used the black panel line enhancer on the wheels to give the castings more relief.

I brought the model back to the panavise and finished up all the wing joint stuff. I had three lines that needed connecting to the outer wing, and then add the outer flap actuating rod. Due to my constant messing around with that errant wing joint, the wing position changed slightly, and the rod was a bit too long and needed so custom fitting. It wasn't Tamiya's problem. It was definitely mine. And, although I tried, one of my pre-fit lines had fallen off. It took me 20 minutes to get another wire into those tiny holes. And to make matters worse, I had no more 0.011" carbide drills. I have ordered more and I'll have them in a couple of days, but I won't need them anymore. I was able to finally get them all fit and repainted Rubber Black for the flexing ones. I retouched all the paint, did a bit of weathering and the wings joints are finished. Of all aspects of the Corsair and this model, the intricacy of the wing joints is one of my favorites. Having the flaps split and having them lying on a curve adds to the complexity. Tamiya did a great job engineering this. The Avenger's flaps are all contained on the fix-wing portion so the swing joint is much less involved.

Getting down to the last parts: 

The prop consists of three separate blades, a two-piece hub, the hydrodynamic piston cover and a polycap to hold the prop onto the propshaft. I glued all together and then filled the little gap that exists. Tomorrow, I'll sand the filled joint, paint and finish the prop.

While I'd love to have a chrome dome, this particular plane had a red hub and red dome. 

Making the prop blades separate alllowed Tamiya to mold them almost joint line free. There was almost nothing to clean up except for this joint.

Last up was the bomb and bomb rack. After assembling, I airbrushed both Olive (Bomb) and Insignia White (rack). I then shot the upper surface of the bomb to accept a large decal with all the bomb's specifications. There's still some detail painting on both pieces and some PE propellors for the front and rear fuses.

Tomorrow the bomb will be finished and installed, and the prop will be ready to go also. That leaves the antenna and pitot tube. After that, I think it's done.

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Wednesday, December 05, 2018 9:20 PM

Looking good. Again, this is fun to watch and thanks for sharing.


  • Member since
    January, 2015
Posted by TheMongoose on Thursday, December 06, 2018 5:20 AM

This is looking really good! It’s all come together and looks sharp. You’re going to have to go right into another build log, lest i miss your mullings over missing parts that flew to the stratosphere and parts that keep breaking Oops it’s like I’m building it along with you for sure.

In the pattern: 1/32 BaaBaa Black Sheep Corsair for a tribute build!

  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: 37deg 40.13' N 95deg 29.10'W
Posted by scottrc on Thursday, December 06, 2018 8:29 AM

This build is really looking good. You give a lot of nice close up shots and details of your progress. 

  • Member since
    March, 2012
  • From: Louisville, KY
Posted by Builder 2010 on Thursday, December 06, 2018 7:04 PM

Thanks guys! It really helps that phones have such wonderful cameras in them. I have a iPhone 7 which has a 12 MP camera in it. I'd like to get the 10 with the two-camera with telephoto. The wide angle can distort perspective a tad. When I'm finally done tomorrow, I'll take some final beauty shots with the Canon EOS and control for full depth-of-field.

So... Then there were none...

The bomb is now hung below the pilot where it belongs, the prop is almost finished and will be tomorrow. The antenna is in place and will be rigged tomorrow. And the last tad that goes on are the wing tie backs and the pitot tube. The version I'm building "Big Hog" has a very simple antenna rig. I even got the three rear-view mirrors hung from the front edge of the movable canopy. Took a couple of pics tonight with the canopy in place. The prop is not fully on. It has some final finishing and decals to go on.

What really helped the photos is that piece of backdrop paper. My lighting is very, very simple; just a big two-tube, Costco LED shop light. It comes through a bit towards the yellow end of the spectrem and I correct it in Apple Photo Preview.

I really don't like the red prop hub, but that's what this plane flew. I've got the painted and clear cowls so I can change off. I like the clear because that engine needs to be seen. It was too much work to hide. It's bad enough that you'll never see that beautiful cockpit again.

And I know y'all want to see another plastic build, but you'll have to be patient. I'm onto my next structure for my railroad. This one is a selectively compressed Victorian structure that still exists in the Bronx. It was a picture in the New York Times which I found online and drew it up in SketchUp. This model will be truly 21st Century: laser cut parts and what's not are 3D printed. There will a little bit of crafting work to do, but not much.

I drew these parts in SketchUp and exported them as STLs which are 3D printable. It makes the building possible since making those ornate eyebrows very doable as well as the cornices and corbels. Scratchbuilding them and making resin castings was a possibility, but it wouldn't have been easy.

After this building, I'm going to do another super kit....possibly and SWS Skyraider, one of the new 1:32 bombers out there, or maybe one of the new Landing Assault Carriers like the Wasp, new Essex or Iwo Jima. Stay tuned. But there will still be one more report tomorrow when the Corsair is finished.

  • Member since
    November, 2008
  • From: Far Northern CA
Posted by mrmike on Thursday, December 06, 2018 7:27 PM

Many thanks for your time and patience in documenting yet another great model. Your modesty and humor provide a great narrative, and your modeling skills are obvious. I find your RR builds a joy as well - keep 'em coming!

  • Member since
    March, 2012
  • From: Louisville, KY
Posted by Builder 2010 on Friday, December 07, 2018 6:55 PM

Thank you... my wife chuckles about the "modesty" description. She doesn't read my posts so she doesn't understand that side of my personality.Confused

As promised, the model is finished! After painting the semi-gloss black on the prop blades yesterday, I spray the Testor's One-Coat Clear lacquer to prepare the blades for the decals to come. The finish on the blades' front was fine, but the lacquer out-gassed on the blade backs and bubbled. Those bubbles dried that way and made a mess. I let it dry overnight and worked with wet/dry abrasive cloths from 3200 to 8000 grit to restore the surface and then re-shot the black. After that dried, I put on the decals including the yellow decal tips. That needed a lot of setting aids since it needed to wrap around the edges a bit. When it dried well I touched up the edges with Tamiya yellow which matched the decal yellow perfectly.

While all this was drying I added the antenna wire using fine-gauge E-Z Line. I put a small phosphor bronze pin at the base of the antenna mast as a belaying point for the antenna wire. On the "Big Hog" version, there is a single antenna from the top of the rudder to the base of the mast. And then there seems to be a solid fitting just below the rudder tip that also taps into the wire. I used a small piece of Albion brass tubing as the top insulator (painted white) and a piece of thin guitar string as the tie-in. Thin CA holds it all together. E-Z Line is great since you can bump into it without any damage. Try that with stretched sprue.

I put the prop on, and it was done. Oh... and I picked out some details on the bomb rack with the panel line highligter. The sliding canopy just kind of sits over a couple of tiny pins and it's not very secure, but I didn't want to glue it with anything too agressive, so I just added a couple of dots of MicroMark Pressure Sensitive Adhesive to keep it from popping off. I did shoot the plane with the Canon and then used focus stacking software (Zerene Stacker) to merge many images focused at different points on the model to create a totally focused image from front to back. It generally takes 5 to 8 exposures focused at differing points moving rearward to give enough focal spots to make a complete image. If I had more lighting, I would just stop the camera down its smallest aperture, but I just have an LED shop light hanging overhead.

Here's the baby sitting next to my other 1:32 plane, the Avenger. I've talked with my LHS and I'm going to display the Corsair there for a while so others can see it. This picture was taken with the iPhone with flash so you get that harsh shadow behind each model.

So... to sum up, what are my thoughts about the model and what, if anything, did I learn new.

The Tamiya model right out of the box is a very complex and satisfying build. I added hydraulic lines and engine detailing, not because I had to, but because the scale and detail of the basic model made it fun to add to it.

I attempted and was successful in hand air brushing the 3-color demarcation line without resorting to any masking whatsoever. That was new for me.

I furthered my skills at detailing radial engines which I really get a kick out of.

I finally built the plane that was so beautifully detailed in my F4U Corsair Book that I for years and years.

Found more uses for the Molotow Chrome Pen.

Furthered my skills in handling exhaust staining.

And lastly, had a blast building that amazing cockpit that no one else can see. Luckily I have all those pictures. Even if you're not going to post everything you do like I do, you should capture your builds photographically becasue it's just fun to go back and see what you actually did.

  • Member since
    December, 2010
  • From: Salem, Oregon
Posted by 1943Mike on Friday, December 07, 2018 11:42 PM

Outstanding work as I was anticipating from you. Love those F4U's!


"Le temps est un grand maître, mais malheureusement, il tue tous ses élèves."

Hector Berlioz

  • Member since
    March, 2012
  • From: Louisville, KY
Posted by Builder 2010 on Saturday, December 08, 2018 9:31 AM

Thank you! You're setting a pretty high bar... It's putting me under a lot of pressure.


  • Member since
    February, 2012
  • From: Olmsted Township, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Monday, December 10, 2018 1:11 AM
Beautiful! I love this kit...

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"





  • Member since
    March, 2012
  • From: Louisville, KY
Posted by Builder 2010 on Monday, December 10, 2018 5:47 PM
Thank you! The model is now on display in a case with lots of other splendid models by other builders at Scale Reproductions, Inc. in Louisville, KY.


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