Monday, May 31, 2010

Easy Models 1/72 F4U-4 Corsair

The Vought F4U Corsair earned its place in aviation history in the Pacific Theatre during World War 2. The Japanese had named it 'Whistling Death', and its aerial combat record was outstanding. Immediately after the war ended on 2 September 1945, most production contracts for propeller-driven fighters were cancelled and the emphasis placed instead on developing jet-powered aircraft for naval use. But things were a little different at Vought, where production of the F4U-4 version of the Corsair remained in full swing until mid-1947, by which time it had been supplanted by the vastly improved 'Dash-5'. Yet it was the F4U-4, available in large numbers, which was the most widely used Corsair variant during the war in Korea, particularly by the US Navy.

Quote: "F4U Corsair Units of the Korean War" by Warren Thompson

The model of today is subject of the cover art of this Osprey combat aircraft book, as well as a very interesting description about its combat record. Something I noticed about this model, was the artwork, a bit too colourful and unusual on a Corsair. I eventually found out that the pilot, Vance 'Bud' Yount, at the time, he broke a US Navy rule, that was, not to apply any nose art to any aircraft.

Amongst the F4U pilots to see action during the early, critical, phase of the Korean War was 1Lt Vance 'Bud' Yount of VMF-323, embarked in USS Badoeng Strait (CVE-116) and then USS Sicily (CVE-118). He flew many missions against enemy troop concentrations in 1950-51. From the time the 'Death Rattlers' entered combat, its pilots were pushed to the limit due to the sheer number of targets in-theatre.
They included the retreating remnants of the NKPA, as well as fresh Chinese troops pouring in during the winter of 1950-51.

Image scanned from "Aircraft Nose Art" by Motorbooks Classics

Yount remembered one mission in particular in the spring of 1951; 'We were told to attack a group of soldiers holding ground up around the village of Uijongbu,
in South Korea. We carried a maximum load of bombs, rockets and 20 mm ammo. Our division pressed home the attack and scored excellent hits all over the area
where the troops were clustered. Starting my final bomb run, I made
a stupid statement that I thought I'd seen something on the next ridge, and was going to stay low after releasing my ordnance. This would give me a chance to check
it out. Unfortunately for me, there was one very lucky rifleman who got a critical hit on my F4U. And it was in a vital place - my oil line!

'I felt the thud from the round as it hit. Suddenly, there was a puff of smoke in the cockpit, and I watched my oil pressure drop to 15 psi normal was 80 psi. I yelled out that I'd been hit, and was turning to head south. One of the pilots in my division pulled up alongside me and said that he was going to stay with me, and that I should try and fly the aircraft back to the ship.'I dropped a few degrees of flap
as he flew under my tail searching for the oil leak. Naturally, with the
sharp drop in pressure, I was sure that my oil cooler had been hit - it was located in a vulnerable spot. All the other gauges were normal, and the "big fan" out in front was still going around. If the engine quit, I had two choices - bale out or belly in. Baling out of an F4U was "iffy" at best, and many pilots had been hurt doing it, so I figured my best option was to set down in a flat place.'
In a situation like this, the pilot had to ensure that all his ordnance and external tanks had been jettisoned so as to reduce the risk of the aircraft flipping over or veering sharply in an undesirable direction on contact with the ground. In North Korea, suitable areas for emergency landings were few and far between, and narrow at best. Yount did exactly the right thing; 'My external tank went flipping through the air behind me, and I chuckled when my wingman got on the radio to see if that was me baling out.

Everything seemed to be going according to plan as I flew closer and closer to friendly territory. As my good luck would have it, I was able to nurse it ack
to Suwon AB and land safely. 'Once the damage had been assessed, we found that a lucky shot had hit my oil pressure gauge, causing it to give me a false low reading. Fortunately, both my F4U and I were back in the war immediately, but it could have been a different story if I'd gone ahead and baled out before reaching a friendly base'

Image & quote from "F4U Corsair Units of the Korean War" by Warren Thompson


The model in 1/72 scale, (like all of this brand) is in plastic, ready assembled and
has fixed undercarriage. No pilot figure but the range offers some really good WWII subjects in 1/72. Price is very affordable, but they suffer from quality issues.
I received a couple of these with canopy gaps and glue blobs unfortunately, so before buying one, check the product if you can :)

This one looks more than ok to me for a Korean War F4U. I like the glossy finish and the snake artwork is cool. It's loaded with eight 5-inch rockets and two fuel tanks.


2 comments:

  1. My Father was the pilot referred to. He passed away July 9, 2007.

    Keith Yount
    Jacksonville, FL

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  2. Dear Keith,

    I'm very sorry to read that your father left us 3 years ago. I wasn't aware of this and I think it's never too late to commemorate a good man, RIP.

    One of my intentions, when writing these small reviews, is also to honour the career, actions and bravery of men like your father. If you feel that any of my comments in regards to this article, might not be appropriate, please let me know and I'll gladly remove them. My email is zammitmax@onvol.net.

    Thank you & Best Regards

    Max Z.

    ReplyDelete