1/144 AFV F4U-1A Corsair plus AFV P-40B Warhawk

Gallery Article by S K Loh on Feb 1 2019



I was so excited when I read of the release of AFV Club 1/144 F4U Corsair kit AR14408 on the net recently. I was elated when I managed to get hold of the last box from the local hobby shop. This box come with two kits; one with standard wings while the other with a folding wing option. You have the option of building it in F4U-1/1A/1C or 1D variant with the corresponding canopies.

And you are spoiled for choice with different decals for US Navy, USMC or British markings. The kits are very detailed with crisps panel lines and sprues were plenty. For example, you can have extended or tail wheel and cowling flaps for stationary or in flight build. Choice for drop tanks and armaments were provided too. As a boy, I was fascinated with the Corsair given its unique 'bent wings'. Then I remembered watching in the 70s the TV mini series of "Baa Baa Black Sheep".

Boyington came to mind. I began my search on Boyington and came to know that he served with AVG Flying Tigers flying the P-40B Warhawk before he was given the command of VMF214 Black Sheep Squadron in the Solomons. I decided to build both birds flown by him.  I went back to the local hobby shop and managed to pick up an old stock AFV P-40B/C Warhawk AR144S01 kit. Unfortunately the kit markings were for that flown by Charles H Older of 3rd Pursuit Squadron "Hells Angels", AVG in 1942. Boyington was with 1st Pursuit Squadron "Adam & Eves" AVG in late 1941.  I researched for details of the markings for both the P-40B Warhawk as well as the F4U Corsair flown by him. He flew a/c number "21" with the AVG but I learnt that he flew in several of the Corsairs in VMF214 and so I decided to build one he flew which was featured more prominently BuNo 17883.

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The building of the Corsair was pretty much straight forward and the parts fit well. I implement the following to enhance the look to resemble BuNo 17883:- 

  • a.  Replaced the kit seat with scratch-built seat to accommodate the pilot figure. 

  • b.  Added the short antenna mast on the rudder for the aerial cable 

  • c.  Replaced the wing pitot tube with a metal pin to withstand the pull of the rigging line as the aerial cable on the pitot tube. Unfortunately I was not able to implement the short post on the pitot tube as in the real aircraft 

  • d.  Decided to enable the spinner to rotate. Cut away the shaft on the spinner and drill a guide hole instead. Have a 6mm shaft incorporated through the opening of the engine and secured with plastic chucks before gluing the fuselage halves together. 

More effort was needed building the P-40B Warhawk as the kit was very simple. The molded tail wheel was incorrect. Had it removed as I intend to build it in flight anyway. The following were done to make it more realistic:-

  • a.  The orientation of the propeller blades was wrong. A gentle twig with tweezers had it corrected.

  • b.  Had to scratch built the main landing gear doors as they were missing.

  • c.  Scratch built a cranked pitot tube with stretched sprue

  • d.  Added scratch built seat and pilot figure

  • e.  Added the antenna using rigging line

  • f.  Opened up the oil cooler air intake by drilling and filing and added the vanes with plastic strips

  • g.  Added scratch built gun sights in front of the canopy

  • h.  Created a rotating spinner by removing the spinner guide post on the fuselage half and incorporated a rotating shaft

Paint scheme for both birds was a mix of Tamiya and Mr Hobby acrylic basic colours. This is so to match the self made decals. A light coat of gloss was airbrushed prior to application of decals. This was followed by another coat of gloss to seal and level the decals.

Moderate weathering was applied on the P-40B while pretty heavy weathering was done on the F4U-1A Corsair due to the extreme operating as well as weather conditions in the Solomon Islands then. Two light coats of flat finish were then airbrushed on.

I really enjoyed the build. Had both planes on the special display base. It is my tribute to Pappy Boyington. This year marked the 75th anniversary of his last engagement flying with VMF 214. He was shot down flying Corsair BuNo 17915 by a Zero on 03 Jan 1944, overwhelmed by the large number of enemy planes. He became a POW for the rest of the war in Japan. 

I further wish to express my thanks to fellow ARC member, Milo who has responded and provided me with the correct info on the antenna and aerial run configuration for Corsair "883".

Enjoy the photos. They may not have been well taken as I was using an old digital camera.

Have a great year ahead building models.

S K Loh

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Photos and text by S K Loh