Hasegawa's 1/48 F4U-5N Corsair

By Will Riepl

History (Taken from the instructions)

The F4U-5 can be considered the ultimate model in the famous F4U Corsair series, a product of cutting edge design efforts and the breathtaking pace of modernization taking place in an American military aircraft industry still peaking on the momentum of the just-finished Second World War.  These factors were to come together in the production of the fastest propeller-driven fighter aircraft in the United States Navy at the time, surpassing even the performance of the fabled Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat.  A redesign of the engine mount on the airframe pushing the engine block forward resulted in an even longer cowling area, further exaggerating its stretched-out appearance, an aspect of the design that was already prominent in earlier Corsairs.  This and the enlarged air intakes on the right and left undersides of the cowling were the most distinctive features of the F4U-5.  The F4U-5N was a single-seater night fighter variant whose main difference in outward appearance from stock F4U-5 types was the radar radome installed in the right wing.  Other distinguishing features included an extra radio antenna in the vertical stabilizer, autopilot gear to reduce pilot fatigue, and extensive flash suppressor pipes and plates installed on and behind the exhaust pipe system to preserve pilot night vision.  The F4U-5NL was equipped both with de-icing rubber on the leading edges of the main wings and with a water and methanol-injected de-icing system for the propeller leading edges and the canopy front windshield, design measures which pay testament to the harsh, frigid combat conditions the aircraft had to operate in during its missions over North Korea.  Total production of the F4U-5N was 214 aircraft, while 101 F4U-5NL types were produced.

The Kit

Now we have come full circle. With the new release of the Hasegawa F4U-5, and the –7 and the AU-1 we have all the Corsairs you could ever want.  The first thing you see is this box is full of plastic. You do not just get a fuselage and wing for this kit. You have 142 parts and two in clear plastic. There are 7 parts for the cockpit, 8 parts for the main gear, and 6 parts for the engine. There are rockets and bombs and two fuel tanks.  There is a tree for the cowl and one for the radar that will not be used in the –7 or the AU-1 kit. The Q tree will have different racks for the rockets.

Molded in gray plastic, you have all the panel lines finely engraved.  The rudder and elevator were fabric-covered on the real thing and the kit accurately reflects this. Also the rudder is offset and flat on the left side to take care of that big prop. In looking at the fuselage you will see that there is a bump on the fuselage, and a line on the inside. It looks like this is where they will make the change for the –7 and the AU-1. On the left side of the fuselage you can see it the most. A little sanding should take care of it. As for the engine, about the only thing that I will do is to cut out the cowl flaps.

As for the wing, it is a work of art. It has an all-metal wing, not like the –4 where the outer panels were fabric.  Also they have the stall warning nicely done on the right wing.  The flaps for the wing are molded separately in the down position. If you want to put them in the up position, you’ll have to add the door in front of the flap. You have two trees just for the ordinance, racks and guns. There are 3 parts just for the gun, and the flash muzzle is drilled out. That is a nice touch. You get two fuel tanks and two bombs, also some 5inch rockets.  Since this is the night fighter, you get the radar radome as an add-on, which is nice. You can use it or not, if you want to do a straight F4U-5.

As for the decals, you have two –5N’s that you can do. One is VC-3 Lt. Bordelon in Korea in 1953. The other is Capt. Derrickson of VMF(N) 513 Korea 1951.  The decals are typical Hasegawa, somewhat thick, but should go down nicely.

Conclusion

It’s been a long time in coming, but finally we have a decent 1/48 F4U-5 Corsair.  I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of these things built up quickly.  Like just about any new Hasegawa kit, this is one that will likely go together well and quickly.  If you’re a nut about Corsairs, get one of these kits (if you don’t already have one!).

The Squadron Publication "Night Wings…USMC Night Fighters 1942-1953" by Thomas E. Doll is a good source for pictures and information.


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