Special Hobby 1/72 Goodyear F2G-1/2 Super Corsair

By Jim Schubert

History

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 of cooling.

The Kit

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 airplane.

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 reader!

Conclusion

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.

References

  • 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 1-58007-035-3.

  • Bent Throttles Journal of the Air Racing & Record Breaking Aircraft Special Interest Group - IPMS/UK No. 9 December 1998: Anders Bruun, Sweden.

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