Corsair WIP

Tamiya 1/48 Scale F4U-1D Corsair

In Progress Page

Early Painting

Here I’ve pre-built a few parts so that I can airbrush the chromate green of the interior. I’ve airbrushed and post-shaded the internals. I then did some dark green and gray-tan washes for depth and a used/dirty feel.

The Cockpit

Here are some updates of the cockpit detail before assembly…

I added the seatbelts. They’re masking tape stuck to Kleenex. I cut the strips and painted the Kleenex side.

I also added about seven little pieces of plastic sprue melted, pulled, bent, smashed on a flat screwdriver (makes disks, like the gray trim handles on the left), etc… I found by “happy accident” that if you pull out a thin piece and actually let it catch fire then blow it out, it hardens into a little plastic ball. Great for handles! I used it for the gray and red throttle handles on the left side of the cockpit.

Other Details

Here are the landing gear and prop, ready to go. The gear were painted a slightly-darkened Tamiya Chrome Silver and washed with Delta Ceramcoat paints mixed to a slate gray, and thinned with a lot of water and a drop of dish soap. I rubbed off the excess darkness (carefully, or you’ll take off the paint, too) with 30% 409/70% water on a Q-tip.

Here’s the engine. It got the same wash as the landing gear. Then I painted it with Tamiya smoke (very subtle on the engine, worth doing???) as well as the inside of the cowling. It was worth it on the cowling (sorry you can’t see it in this pic). I figured the inside of the cowling just can’t be a nice new green. It should be sooty like the inside of a used car’s hood. In researching my kit I saw a wonderfully weathered Corsair model with bright fresh green interiors, it just didn’t look right.

Here’s the fuselage built and sanded, ready for masking and painting. I cut the elevators off the stabilizers so I could lower them. When the engine was turned off, the hydraulic pumps stopped, pressure would drop and the elevators and flaps would droop.

Graphic Visualization

I have the game “Il-2Sturmovik” with the “Pacific Fighters” add-on. I used Corel PhotoPaint to make a “skin” for the Corsair model in the game. The game came with a skin with these markings already, but I made my own using decals made from scans of the Tamiya decals and lighter colors that would let me test weathering ideas for my Corsair. I wish there was a Gundam simulator where I could test color schemes on 3-D models like this!

Exterior Painting

Finally, painting the exterior! Here is the base coat of blue:

Here it is with the post-shading, Future glosscoat and decals applied. The decals were very thick for my taste, the only part of the kit I could complain about. I had to work with a lot of Microsol to get the silvering out and after 3 clearcoats and other partial coats of weathering effects, you can clearly see the edges of the decals in the right light…

Here it is with the weathering effects applied, except for panel lines:

My sacrifices to the weathering gods! These are the dragon claws from my Gundam Nataku test model. Everything I did to my Corsair I first did on these pieces. I even put decals on them! One is way overdone. It was the one I did first. The other I did second and is closer to the level of weathering on my Corsair. They both have a rain streaking effect that I opted not to put on the Corsair. It made them nice and streaky, but way too gray for my taste.

Interior Summary

  • Painted and post-shaded a zinc-chromate green.
  • Added stretch sprue levers and dials to cockpit.
  • Gloss clearcaoat of Future.
  • A dark-green wash on all green surfaces.
  • A black wash on engine and landing gear parts.
  • A dirty tan/gray wash on all green surfaces and wheels.
  • A Tamiy Smoke coat on engine parts and interior of cowling.
  • Paint chip effects on cockpit interior and front of engine.

Exterior Summary

  • Painted a the yellow cowling and post-shaded it then masked it.
  • Painted a lighter blue base coat.
  • Mist coated my darker post-shading over the entire bttom to make it a deeper “unfaded” blue.
  • Post-shaded all surfaces with the darker blue.
  • Glosscoat of Future.
  • Decal Application.
  • Dullcoat of Future and Tamiya Flat Base.
  • Mixed a lighter “sunbleached” blue and applied it in varying densities over tops of wings and satbilizers and top of fuelage.
  • Re-post-shaded some of the bleached areas.
  • Used Tamiya smoke around gun ports and exhaust.
  • Airbrushed dirt/dust color in patches over all surfaces. More on top surfaces.
  • Paint chip effects.
  • Oil paint streaks to simulate fluid leaks (hard to see on the dark surfaces, but they’re there)
  • Glosscoat of Future.
  • Panel lines (gray) with Rapidograph pen.
  • Dullcoat of Future and Tamiya Flat Base.
  • Final Assembly.
  • Added the stretched sprue antenna wire.


A very nice kit. A zillion times better than the old Monogram kits I built as a kid. Finer detail and much better parts fit! Building an airplane is so much more work than a Gundam, even though the parts count is so much lower! The only difficulty I had was with the fit of the flaps (I just had to cut out the holes that the tabs went in, they aligned poorly, about the only thing on the kit that didn’t align perfectly), and the thick decals. Maybe I’m spoiled by Pete Savin’s Gundam decals! I wish he’d make more… Maybe when I get to my Mustang I’ll pick up an aftermarket set of decals, or I’ll just take the time to cut them at the panel lines and re-apply more microsol. The stock decals just didn’t want to lay in the panel lines and so I ended up (mostly) not doing the panel lines over the decals, a break in the realism… This was my “learning experience” for this kit!

Still these are 2 small complaints on what is a complicated (folding wings, flaps, open gear, floorless cockpit) but very well-engineered and executed airplane kit. Phew! My next project will be something much easier!

Click the picture link below to see the completed model.

Completed Model

– OR –

Return to the In-Progress Launchpad

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.