Special Hobby 1/72 Goodyear F2G-1/2 Super Corsair
As the story of the F4U series of Vought Corsairs is quite well known,
I will address only the short history of Goodyear's F2G-1 and -2 "Super
Corsairs". In 1943 the US Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer) directed
Pratt & Whitney to install their new XR-4360, 3,000 hp, four-row, 28 cylinder
"Wasp Major" engine on F4U-1, BuAer 02460 in place of the standard P &
W, 2,000 hp, two-row, 14 cylinder, R-2800 engine to explore its compatibility
with the Corsair airframe.* At about the same time BuAer also directed
Goodyear, a licensee producer of Corsairs under the FG-1 designation,
to modify two FG-1A's to have cut down rear decks and bubble canopies.
Following satisfactory development testing of these three airplanes, Goodyear
were given a contract for three XF2G-1's fitted with the big engine and
the bubble canopy. These airplanes were only slightly faster than the
R-2800 powered Corsairs but had an exceptional rate of climb on the order
of 4,500 feet per minute at sea level. Two production versions were ordered
in quantity; the F2G-1 land based fighter and the F2G-2 carrier based
fighter. The difference being that the -1 had no tailhook or wingfold
and was fitted with low pressure tires whilst the -2 had a tailhook and
hydraulically folded wings. Both had a fin and rudder one foot taller
than the precedent FG-1. The extra foot permitted the installation of
an auxiliary rudder below the normal rudder to offset the torque reaction
of the massive R-4360 on take off and in the event of wave-off. By this
time, 1945, with the war winding down, the Grumman F8F Bearcat well along
in development and jets on the horizon, the production order for the Super
Corsairs was reduced to five each of the -1 and -2. Some of the Super
Corsairs went on to post war fame as racers; the rest were scrapped.
* Engine Designations: In the standard engine designation system the
initial letter indicates the cylinder arrangement: I = Inline, O = Opposed,
R = Radial, V = Vee, W = double-vee whilst the main number indicates the
displacement of the engine in cubic inches, i.e. an R-2800 is a radial
engine displacing 2,800 cubic inches (~46.7 litres) and an R-4360 is a
radial engine displacing 4,360 cubic inches (~72.7 litres). The basic
designation may be preceded by a "G" indicating "Geared" as opposed to
direct drive. If the engine is only built as a geared engine the preceding
"G" is not used. The basic designation is almost always followed by a
"dash number" to indicate the development level of a particular production
lot and is often followed by another letter - usually "W" indicating Water
injection. This designation system does not indicate horsepower or manner
The first and most obvious question about this new and pricey - US$27.98
- kit is, how does it compare with the earlier Aviation Usk (now Xotic-72)
kit for $17.95? It's a lot better but has only US Navy markings; no colorful
racers in this kit - for now - but it does include the long intake trunk
fitted to some of the racers; so there is hope that we will see some colorful
options in a future release of this kit.
The standard, flimsy, end-opening Czech box (Oh how I hate end-opening
boxes!) contains two sprue trees carrying the 31 main parts sharply injection
molded in medium gray polystyrene. There are no sink marks in any of the
parts in my kit. Some of the smaller parts do, however, have more flash
surrounding them than is currently customary in Czech kits. Apart from
this occasional flash, the quality and detail of the parts is on a par
with Tamiya's 1/72 kit of the F4U-1D. Special Hobby, unlike Aviation Usk,
got the wing right by correctly representing the large fabric covered
areas of the wing.
That execrable box also contains a bag of 42 (!) sharply cast resin
parts. The parts count is inflated by eight exhaust pipes and 16 rocket
rails. The biggest error in the kit is in this bag; it is the engine.
As noted above, the R-4360 has 28 cylinders in four rows. Each row, thus,
has seven cylinders. The kit provides an engine of two rows of nine cylinders
each! To compound the error the resin engine has only three magnetos whereas
the real engine had seven around the front of the reduction gear case.
Throw this engine away. Replace it with a proper R-4360 from Engines and
Things. To be fair, I must note that Aviation Usk also got the engine
wrong by providing a nine cylinder face.
Two beautifully vac-formed, crystal clear canopies are provided to
let you see the well detailed cockpit interior even if you choose to model
the plane with the canopy closed.
Special Hobby give us a small sheet of photo etched metal parts and
a printed film sheet of instruments to be mounted behind the photo etched
panel. The decal sheet is well printed in perfect register and provides
markings for one each XF2G-1, F2G-1 and F2G-2. The decals appear to be
of sufficient density for the white to cover the Sea Blue base color of
The ten page instructions folder includes a brief history, a table
of specifications, a very well illustrated seven step assembly process,
three pages of colors and markings information and one page of advertising.
Lamentably, the instructions call out colors only by Humbrol number -
not even a color name; this is unacceptable. The brief history has a different
and highly original take on the engine; "....the radial Pratt & Whitney
R-4360 Wasp Major engine, which had 24 cylinders arranged in four rows."
That, if correct; which it is not, would require each row to have six
cylinders instead of the kits nine and the actual engine's seven. Proof
Despite my nit-picking (John Amendola calls me "Nitpickulus") this
is a very good kit, from which a good looking F2G can be built out-of-the-box;
so long as nobody counts the cylinders or magnetos on the engine. Thanks
to Special Hobby for their choice of this esoteric subject. Now, how soon
will the racer's version be released and will it have the ten different
sets of markings that the five F2G racers wore in the 1947, 1948 and 1949
Thompson Trophy races? And don't forget the minor configuration differences
introduced by each team in pursuit of an advantage.
Detail & Scale Volume 55, F4U Corsair - Part 1; XF4U-1 Through
F2G: Bert Kinsey, Squadron Signal Publications, USA, 1998, ISBN 1888974-08-7.
F4U Corsair In Action No. 145: Jim Sullivan, Squadron Signal Publications,
USA, 1994, ISBN 089747-318-3.
The American Fighter: Enzo Angelucci & Peter Bowers, Orion Books,
USA, 1987, ISBN 0-517-56588-9.
Racing Planes and Air Races Volume IV: Reed Kinert, Aero Publishing,
USA, 1968, Library of Congress #67-16455.
Famous Fighters of the Second World War - Second Series: William
Green, Doubleday, USA, 1962.
Aero Detail 25 - Vought F4U Corsair: H. Maki, T. Yamada & H. Kuroki,
Dai Nippon Kaiga, Tokyo, 1999.
Raceplane Tech Series, Volume 2; Round Engine Racers: Bearcats &
Corsairs: N. Veronico & A. Grantham, Specialty Press, USA, 2002, ISBN
Bent Throttles Journal of the Air Racing & Record Breaking Aircraft
Special Interest Group - IPMS/UK No. 9 December 1998: Anders Bruun,