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MODELERS GALLERY - Aircraft 1/48th

1/48th Vought XF4U-1

by David Weeks

(Click on any photo to see a larger image)

This conversion used two Tamiya F4U-1 kits (I used a F4U-1/2 Birdcage and a F4U-1D). Here’s a list of the modifications I made to the kit.

A. Fuselage Modifications

1. Shortened the fuselage (both forward and behind wing), relocated cockpit, shortened tail cone.
2. Filled and re-scribed fuselage panel lines (The XF4U-1 was hand-built and there were minimal fuselage panel lines aft of the engine and engine accessory compartments).
3. Filled in existing lower window rectangle and added “tear-drop” bomb aiming window under fuselage.
4. Added catapult hooks, scratch-built exhaust stacks and re-located forward antenna mast.
5. Used birdcage kit windscreen and flat topped canopy, lengthened aft end of canopy with sheet styrene, sanded off all canopy framework, re-located and then re-painted it.

B. Cockpit Modifications

1. Scratch-built main instrument panels.
2. Re-configured and moved side consoles out-board.
3. Added new lower sidewalls and scratch-built all added detail.
4. The only aftermarket parts used on model were Eduard Seat Belts and Placards.

C. Engine Modifications

1. Scratch-built details on engine crankcase housing to simulate P&W XR-2800-4 engine.
2. Scratch-built magneto housings, ignition harness, spark-plug wiring and misc. plumbing.
3. Added 30 cal gun ports in upper cowling.
4. Used the second kit to complete the open cowling flaps over top of fuselage, added flap actuator details.
5. Used the propeller out of the birdcage kit.

D. Wing Modifications

1. Removed the outer two 50 cal wing guns and their associated panels.
2. Used second kit to add fabric-covered areas further inboard on both upper and lower wing surfaces.
3. Added upper wing gun, ammo access panels and floatation bag panels as well as the under wing bomb bay doors.
4. Shortened ailerons and re-positioned aileron hinges, shortened and re-positioned left aileron trim tab.
5. Used second kit to lengthened the out-board flaps. Reconfigured all flaps from slotted to deflector plate type.
6. Used the upper flap parts from the second kit to create the upper gap spanners for the inner flaps.
7. Re-positioned all flying surfaces. Removed identification lights on lower right wing surface and most access covers on the wings and horizontal tail surfaces.
8. Added clear navigation lights to wingtips as well as all other position lights.
9. Squared up outer edge of oil cooler intakes.

E. Landing Gear Modifications

1. Added brake lines, several small details and the coil around retraction cylinders on main landing gear struts.
2. Removed tread from tires.
3. Added prototype inner door detail to the main landing gear doors, added detail to gear wells.
4. Scratch-build new tail wheel assembly

F. Painting

1. Used Floquil Old Silver and Alclad II Duraluminum sealed with Testors Metalizer Sealer for fuselage and lower wing.
2. Gunze Yellow (H329) over Tamiya Flat White was sealed with a mix of Gunze Clear Gloss and Flat for the upper wing surfaces.
3. All shading/washes were done with chalk pastels aluminum.

G. Markings

1. The early U.S. Insignia and the “U.S. NAVY” came from the Aero Master sheet “Neutrality Patrol – USN 1941”.
2. The serial number and the “XF4U-1” were pieced together from the Accurate Miniatures F3F-2 decal sheet.
3. The stencils were from a Scale Master F8U data sheet (1/72 scale).

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