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Trumpeter's 1/32 Backdated Birdcage
F4U-1 Corsair

by Damian Murphy



There has always been a fascination with US Navy aircraft and model builders. The appeal of a war torn, hard hitting pacific fighters and there perilous battles in the remote sun baked islands of the Pacific Ocean, have spawned countless scale replica and diorama recreations.

The F4U for me has always held a special attraction having modeled countless kits in many scales and until the release of the Tamiya 1/48th scale Corsair Birdcage, modelers had only the choice of the 1A or 1D or the -4 versions in 1/32nd scale. Recently while browsing the multitude of after market resin kits I happened upon a gold mine for the 1/32nd scale F4U, a conversion kit from Mike West of Lone Star Models. A basic kit, that includes a cast resin aft deck and two styles of the framed canopy fashioned in vacuform.



Finally I had the opportunity to build an F4U-1 Birdcage in 32nd scale I decided to use the Trumpeter F4U- 1D as the basis for the design, the Trumpeter kit while being one of the newest kits on the market lacks detail throughout the kit but panel line detail is abundant.



As with most Trumpeter kits the cockpit on the F4U kit is extremely inaccurate. While the entire late model Corsairs from the -4 model on had floor boards, the early models such as the -1 to -1D were floorless. I decided early in the planning not to use one of the after market resin cockpits. I wanted to do some serious scratch building in this project, with that in mind I used sheet Evergreen to build all the components of the cockpit with the exception of the cockpit seat and control stick.


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Painting and Markings

Paints used:
Polly Scale USN Blue Gray, USN Light Ghost Gray, Flat Black, Flat White.

Painting of the Corsair followed my tried and true method; after all the final assembly was complete I polished all the seams and exterior areas that required buffing. I then primed the kit with gray primer tinted with Polly Scale USN blue gray. This allowed me to see any imperfections in the sanding, after re-sanding and buffing the areas that required attention I primed again.

I sprayed a base coat of light ghost gray to the bottom; added black to the base color shadowed the panel lines, added white to the base coat and highlighted the interior panels.

The top coat follows the lower painting much in the same way with excessive shades of highlight color touching up on the shadows as I go along.



A coat of Future floor wax was applied, and then decals were added after the paint was dry.

A wash of black and rust enamels followed the acrylic painting, allowed to dry 24 hours and cleaned in a shrieking direction of the airflow.


Weathering was applied with pastel oils, and then the entire model was coated in Polly Scale clear flat.

In all I really enjoyed this conversion I really hope you enjoyed the article, so run right out there grab an F4U kit, then call Mike West at Lone Star Models and Go to town on this build.

You’ll never regret it for a minute.

Thanks and have a great build.


More Pictures

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Copyright © 2006 by Damian Murphy & The Testor Corporation