Building my favorite Corsair

I have stated a few times that it was this Okinawa-based Corsair that started the whole fascination with the type. But, I have never attempted to build Bob Klingman’s Corsair. Why is that? Oh, reasons I’m sure. That and wanting to avoid checkerboard decals on the cowl.

But before the build, let’s explain a few things.

If you don’t know why this Corsair is special, well, it has to do with the pilot. Robert Klingman was a marine-based in Okinawa in 1945. At that time the Japanese would send reconnaissance airplanes over Okinawa to determine where fleet units were. They would then report their observations and hordes of kamikaze planes would then know where to focus their efforts. For the most part, these reconnaissance airplanes flew at high altitudes and speeds. They were very difficult to intercept.

Not on May 10, 1945.

Klingman was flying in a 4 ship that morning; hunting for reconnaissance airplanes. One was spotted almost 20000 feet above them. Only Klingman and his flight leader made it to the intercept. The flight leader damaged the Dinah with his guns, only to run out of ammunition. He gave way to Klingman for the coup de grace and Klingman lined up his shot.

The trigger was pulled but nothing happened. His guns were frozen.

So, like any good marine, he improvised. He adapted his Corsair’s propeller to overcome that Dinah to bits! The Dinah crashed in the ocean and Klingman deadsticked his wobbly Corsair back to base.

Improving the Tamiya Corsair

The Tamiya 48th Corsairs from the mid to late 1990s are a great example of the 2 sprue wonder kits of the time.     And I believe these kits showed other model makers just how worthwhile it could be to come along and topple the established structure of kit models.   

You see, the week before Tamiya released its kit, if you wanted a 48th-scale Corsair, you had the decades-old Monogram kit and the much better Otaki kit.  I have that Otaki kit and I can understand the following it had:  Recessed lines, rivet detail, a decent cockpit for the time, and good fabric surface detail.  It also had a pile of aftermarket accessories made for that kit. 

But it was from 1976 and twenty years later, it was showing its age.

Hobbycraft must have seen an opportunity to release their ‘up to date’ Corsair kit at around this time and I am sure it would have done gangbusters if it weren’t for Big T Double Star dropping the Birdcage in 1996.  Wonder kit it was and it has been in production for over 25 years.  And why not?  For an early variant Corsair in this scale, there is still nothing out there that can touch this one.

But the Tamiya Corsair isn’t perfect, far from it. It has a few annoying problems and in the video posted below, I show some ways to fix those issues and improve your build of this decent kit.

I’ve been looking forward to this build for a long time and I decided to show my work in two parts. In this Part 1 I show easy techniques to improve the base kit.  This includes installing  A Quinta cockpit, wiring the engine, improving the landing gear, and scratch-building wingtip lights and armored glass.

How about a Video?

You can click here or click the image below:

The next video will feature painting and finishing for Klingman’s VMF-312 Corsair.

2 thoughts on “Building my favorite Corsair

Add yours

  1. This is gonna be interesting! I’m looking forward to seeing your process. (In passing, I feel the same way about the P-38 as you do about the F4U. What a pair it must’ve taken to strap into a Corsair directly behind the fuel tank!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cool stuff. Of all those models I’ve had only the Monogram Corsair way back in the 1970s.
    The moving parts features were fun; it had a pilot guy, which is important to me; but the cockpit was, uh, let’s call it, something of an echo chamber, and that was disappointing.

    Liked by 1 person

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