FAA Corsair I

Tamiya 1/48 F4U-1A/Corsair I, '5P' of 1835 SQN FAA, 1945

by David Harvey


Serial No

JT172 - '5P'

A/C type

Corsair I (F4U-1A)

Based at

1835 SQN FAA, 1945


Temperate Sea Scheme


1/48 Tamiya F4U-1 (Birdcage) converted to FAA Corsair I using Sky Decals




I have always had a fascination with the Fleet Air Arm and had stacked a fair few of them in the stash waiting for the time and energy to make them. Recently I had being going through a bit of Advanced Modeller Syndrome (AMS) and couldn't finish a model without it fighting me.

With the FAA/Carrier GB being conducted on the Forum I thought that just doing a quick build of an FAA aircraft may just help the AMS. Unfortunately as most of the FAA kits were multimedia short run kits none of them would just fall together and also not get finished. I then realized that I could do the Tamiya 'Birdcage' Corsair in FAA colours and it would be an easy, quick build.

The kit

The kit is the Tamiya F4U-1 done as the FAA Corsair I. This aircraft was based in the USA as a training aircraft and would not have had it's wing tips trimmed as the aircraft on the aircraft carriers did.

The only modifications to the kit is filling the foot step in the port flap and adding the antenna wire out of Ez-line.


I was unsure on the best paints for the FAA Corsairs so after doing a bit of searching on the web I was no better off as there are too many arguments over what is correct. It appears that depending on who made the aircraft in the USA decided whether the paints were matched to the UK paint requirements or just a straight swap with the US equivalents. I ended up using a colour image form WWII to do a basic colour match.

I did the undersides first using Model Master Sky type "S" enamel and the uppers with Humbrol Hu159 Khaki Drab and Hu125 Satin US Dark Gray. I decided on using these colours as I had a colour photo from WWII that gave me a good indication of the colours used for some aircraft. After I airbrushed the undersides I taped them off with Tamiya tape then put on the Khaki Drab coat. Once all was dried I used paper masks cut to the approximate design as shown on the Sky Decals instruction sheet. I was a bit dubious of this pattern as images of the real thing show different schemes.



Once the paint had dried I put the decals on by putting them in a puddle of One Go rather than having an all over base coat of One Go. For some reason I have found that this method works better for me and I generally have less silvering. One of the serial numbers under the tail didn't adhere properly so I used some Humbrol Liquid Poly to melt it to the model (I really do mean melt it to the model).



As this was a training aircraft based in the USA I decided that I wanted it to appear worn but not too worn. I ended up mixing the base colours for the uppers with a bit of white and airbrushing some patches on. I then put a mist of the lightened colour over the decals to blend them in. I think some of the areas are a bit light but they have been toned down with the final matt coat. I did not put on lightened patches underneath as I did not have the white in Model Master enamel and I don't like changing manufacturer paints half way through painting.

I didn't remove as much of the panel wash as I normally do as I wanted it to appear a bit worn and used rather than clean.

After the weathering had dried I put in a thin wash in the panel lines and added a bit of silver paints in the various areas that I have noticed getting worn on the real aircraft.


To finish it off I gave the kit an overall coat of Humbrol Matt varnish. I then painted all the lights and various bits that needed doing as well as adding the fragile bits.

The images