|Aircraft Pictorial #7 - F4U-1 Corsair vol.1
Softcover. A4 format. 72 pages. Text, photos, profiles and
drawings. English. Color.
Classic Warships Publishing
||- $18.00 USD
Here is a short review of a book about my favorite aircraft, written by one of my favorite authors. The seventh book in Aircraft Pictorial series is about the F4U-1 Corsair. During the last year, Dana Bell disclosed that he was researching the F4U on archives and collections for his newest book. By the end of the year he told that he had gathered enough material about the birdcage version to fill a complete volume, the F4U-1A would made another volume. Even better...
How many times we saw scale models of the Corsair with the
accessory section open, showing the details? How do you know they
are right? Are the components the same for the birdcage and the
raised cabin version? What color are the landing gear
struts on early Corsairs? What is the deal about so different radio
mast and aerials configurations? Did the F4U-1 and the 1A use the same
tail wheels and doors? You think you know the answers? Better to think
A few years ago Morrissey and Hegedus' Modellers Datafile book brought to light the 4-tone camouflage, instead of the well known 3-tone. I never was really convinced, but Dana tries to prove the point. I'm still not buying the idea, however apparently his claims are backed by a few BuAer and Vought documents. He also comments on the camouflage colors hastily applied at NAS Norfolk. More than that, he explains the 3-tone camouflage without the Intermediary Blue color! Now that is new info...
Post script (sept/2015): Later, re-reading Ian Baker's Aviation History Colouring Book #32, USN Aircraft Camouflage & Insignia, 1941-47, I found out that the 4-tone scheme was mentioned on pages 5-7, including drawings based on documents dating from 1943. Apparently, Consolidated Catalinas and possibly a few Grummans used the scheme as well... The book is dated from 1997, so I'm no longer claiming who was the first to re-discover the 4-tone paint scheme.
Cockpit details and the cowling flaps are discussed next. I was amazed to read about stall horn, flaperons and the various canopies used. Radios is another subject seldom seen on books. By the way, did you know that some Corsairs had retractable radio masts? Yep, retractable.
Another thing: the Corsair was approved and considered suitable for carrier operations like any other fighter. Forget that bouncing problem as the reason for not being initially deployed to carriers...
Do you know something about the kit delivered by Vought with their Corsairs? What are the internal colors of the wing fold? And no, the book don't discuss the Salmon primer...
The questions above are all discussed in more or less detail in this volume. Dana doesn't cite the references for each claim, but then this is not a dissertation. The book has some nice color photos, including a couple of spetacular ones - great find, Dana! To me, the greatest highlight of this volume is the real purpose of the so common sealing tapes on the panel joints around the fuel tanks. Forget everything that you read before about it. The truth is another one... one that makes sense now, by the way.
Reading this book served me for two things. First, many things that I thought I knew about my favorite aircraft were proved wrong. Dana Bell denied legends and incorrect explanations which we took for granted for decades. And second, made me want more. So, hurry up with the vol.2 Mr. Bell, my new Tamiya Corsair has just arrived.
If you are marginally interested in the F4U Corsair, you can't miss this book.