There have been many books published on the Vought F4U Corsair over the years, so why, you might ask, has another one appeared? The reason is that this is not only a comprehensive history of the development and combat career of the Corsair, but it is also a very complete modelers’ guide to all Corsair kits in 1/32, 1/48, and 1/72 scale. I don’t know why they left out 1/144, as there has been at least one kit issued in this scale. In any event, this is a really complete history of the type, and it explains the developmental problems and how they were solved, with the Corsair evolving into not only an outstanding fighter but also a highly effective close support aircraft, with a production life beginning in 1941, and continuing until 1952, when the last Corsair, an F4U-7, was rolled out of the Dallas plant. The Corsair was very effective against the Japanese during World War II, and although it was slow to be accepted as a carrier fighter, the carrier landing problems were quickly solved, oddly by the Royal Navy, and Corsairs were commonly operated from British and American carriers towards the end of the war, and many years thereafter. Numerous Corsairs were exported to foreign countries, and there are a few privately owned Corsair warbirds are still flying today, and these can be seen at fly-ins throughout the country.
This book is the answer to a modeler’s prayer, as it is primarily aimed not only at historians but also toward serious model builders who want to build accurate Corsairs. The major portion of the book describes the history of the type, with a huge selection of photos taken during the war and also of restored examples. Copies of parts of official maintenance and pilots’ manuals are included, and there is enough detail here for any serious builder to do a contest-winning superdetailed Corsair in any scale. Color profile drawings and color photos explain the camouflage and marking evolution of the aircraft, and a detailed list of available kits, decals, and accessories will help the modeler select the right kit and aftermarket materials to do the job most efficiently. Photos of expertly-built models illustrate the results that can be expected, and all I can say is that after you get a copy of this book, and you really should get one, you can build any Corsair, even the prototype, without any additional references. The only drawbacks I could find were the fact that the color profile drawings are not in chronological order, not a problem in itself, and that the detailed three view drawings were only in 1/48 (and only of the F4U-1 series) and not in 1/72 scale, but then, that’s my scale. I can understand not providing 1/32 scale drawings, as they would be large enough to use as wall covering, , but a book of this scope should certainly have smaller drawings of the major variants, including the F4U-2, F4U-4, F4U-5, AU-1, F4U-7 and the F2G series. Perhaps a second edition will include these. However, these are available in other publications that most modelers should already have, so this is not a biggie.
These factors considered, the book still contains a wealth of information in its nearly 150 pages of photos, drawings, and text, and it is certainly worth getting if you have any interest in the Corsair, and especially if you want to build Corsair models. It is fascinating reading, and I found it difficult to put it down, even when my wife called me to dinner, and she’s a fantastic cook, so there’s real competition here. So get one of these today from the publishers of your favorite hobby or book store. It’s a “gotta have” for any Corsair enthusiast.
Highly recommended. Now I’ve got to get some of those Hasegawa Corsair kits out of my stash and get to work.
Thanks to Rafe Morrisey and SAM Publications for the review copy, and to IPMS/USA for this copy for reviewing.
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