Academy 1/72 F4U-1D Corsair
You'd think a decal company from down under would know their subject fairly well but this is apparently not the case when it comes to New Zealand national markings. I found out after I finished this model that the blue Ventura used for the Kiwi markings was far too light - they should be closer to Roundel Blue. So now I'm either going to find some new decals to apply over these or try and paint over them using a circle template. Frankly, I'm in no hurry to do either!
I have to say also, that these were some of the worst decals I've ever used. Completely impervious to even the strongest decal setting solutions and silvered badly even over a glossy surface. I ended up painting around the personal marking behind the cowling with Sea Blue to cover up the nastiness. I had to apply two sets of national markings on the wings because they were so translucent the Sea Blue showed through the edges - this is very visible on the fuselage decals because I didn't have another set that size so had to make do with one layer. The decals were also extremely brittle and the first one I applied broke into several pieces when I tried to move it into position. It's a shame because Ventura puts out several sheets of very interesting subjects such as Canadian Sea Furys and Seafires and New Zealand Kittyhawks, but I loathe the idea of finishing any of those subjects with Ventura decals now.
The Academy Corsair on the other hand, is a very good kit. It is basically a copy of the old Hasegawa offering but with recessed panel lines and better detail. Academy managed to include most of Hasegawa's mistakes as well which is what gives its origins away. Both firms moulded the outer flaps as fabric covered when in fact all the flaps were skinned in metal. They also both moulded the cockpit with a floor which is incorrect for the F4U-1 - cockpit floors didn't show up until the F4U-4. Several small details such as the trim tab on the left aileron, sprung footstep covers on the wing root and fuselage side, handholds in front of the windscreen, identification lights under the starboard wing tip and fuel filler on top of the forward fuselage are missing and need to be scribed in. The tailwheel is the early short version and needs to be lengthened for later F4U-1s and the step cut out in the starboard inner flap didn't appear until late in the F4U-1D production line. Again, these errors are applicable to both Academy and Hasegawa.
I added the pylons under the wings to make this an F4U-1D. Out of the box the kit best represents an F4U-1A. I figured New Zealand would probably have gotten older models so I used the early style canopy with the horizontal frame lines (Academy supply both this and the later F4U-1D canopy without the horizontal frames) and filled in the step in the inner flap. The cockpit floor was cut away and the seat was replaced with a True Details resin one. The kit seat is actually fine but the resin seat has seat belts moulded in and I was feeling lazy.... ;-}
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