The F4U Corsair is, undeniably, one of the most legendary aircraft of all time. In the Pacific theater, the Japanese called the Corsair “Whistling Death,” referring to the sound made by the airflow running through the intercooler and oil cooler slots in the leading edges of the wings. The 1:32 scale Tamiya editions of the F4U, arguably, are maybe just the greatest injection-molded model airplane kits ever made. Decal manufacturer fündekals recently released F4U and FG Corsairs Part II: Whistling Death!covering no less than 16 late WWII Corsairs with an eye towards the 1:32 Tamiya kits, but many of these schemes can be adapted to other large Corsairs (e.g., Revell). A review sample of the 1:32 edition of this decal set arrived on our review bench, so let’s take a look.
This set provides markings for the following Corsairs:
- F4U-1A Corsair, BuNo 500012, “Winnie the Poo-Too,” MAJ Ed Overend, CO, VMF-321 Hell’s Angels, Guam, August-October 1944
- FG-1A Corsair, BuNo 13143, “Blue Baron,” VMF-114, Peleliu, October 1944
- FG-1A Corsair, BuNo 14426, “Chief Montana,” James T. Sykes, VMF-223, Bougainville, Solomons and Samar, Philippines, October 1994-April 1945
- F4U-1D Corsair, VFB-83, USS ESSEX, March 1945
- F4U-1D Corsair, CVG-4 (VMF-124 & VMF-213, USS ESSEX, December 1944-March 1945
- F4U-1D Corsair, VFB-83, USS ESSEX, April 1945
- F4U-1D Corsair, VFB-83, USS ESSEX, 11 May 1945
- FG-1D Corsair, BuNo 88043, “Killer’s Hash Wagon,”, VFB-83, USS ESSEX, May/June 1945
- F4U-1D Corsair, BuNo 57522, 2nd Lt. Anthony Cramer, VMF-211 Leyte, Philippines, January-March 1945
- F4U-1D Corsair, VMF-216/217, USS WASP, CV-10, 10 February-19 March 1945
- F4U-1D Corsair, BuNo 57559, CAPT DH Johnson, VMF-312, Kadena Field, Okinawa, 12 April 1945, January-March 1945
- F4U-1D Corsair, BuNo 57670, CAPT HJ Valentine, VMF-312, Kadena Field, Okinawa, 12 April 1945, April-May 1945
- F4U-1D Corsair, BuNo 57584, 1st LT RR Klingman, VMF-312, Kadena Field, Okinawa, 12 April 1945, 10 May 1945
- FG-1D Corsair, BuNo 88042, LT(JG) Kennard A. Moos, VF-85, USS SHANGRI-LA, 28 May 1945
- F4U-1D Corsair, “My Nell III,” VMF-511, USS BLOCK ISLAND, May-August 1945
- F4U-1D Corsair, “Maze and Hayes,” VMF-511, USS BLOCK ISLAND, May-August 1945
All the markings are squeezed onto a single decal sheet with no room to spare. The quality of decal design by fündekals’ is excellent. The printing is right up there with Cartograf and other leaders in the decal business. Colors are vibrant, crisp, in perfect register, and carrier film is very restrained. Carrier film seems a bit thicker than Cartograf or Microscale products, but it’s not so thick as to worry about the need of building up layers of gloss coat to hide the edge of the carrier film. Of course, one of the considerations when placing white decals on a dark sea blue finish is decal opacity. You don’t want a thin white decal to have the dark color from below showing through. Thankfully, all the white ink on this sheet is printed very thickly, so any color see-through issues should be eliminated.
The decals themselves naturally are a highlight of this set, but surpassing them are the instructions. They are a 49-page long combination of markings and painting guides seamlessly integrated with archival images of the very Corsairs on the decal sheet, airframe-by-airframe technical notes, reproductions of technical and after-action reports, essays on squadron histories, intriguing minutia regarding late war Corsair colors and markings, and even a very interesting illustrated discussion on drop tank variations. You’ll learn a lot about the Corsair that you might not have known before just reading the instructions, and the impressive depth of research done on this sheet is abundantly clear. There are also a few contributions and notes provided by Jim Sullivan and Dana Bell, the latter of whom, in your reviewer’s option, is the subject matter expert on Corsair colors. Overall, it all comes together as a very coherent and captivating narrative about the Corsair and the people who flew her. Very few, if any, aftermarket decal manufacturers provide such depth and richness behind their decals.
To keep costs down for the scale modeler, the instructions and markings guide are NOT printed and included with the decals. As with all fündekals products, the markings guide is available as a PDF file that can be conveniently downloaded from their website. Here’s the link for the instructions: http://www.fundekals.com/images/whistlingDeath/F4U_Inst_Final_7_30_18.pdf
Many thanks to Butch Heilig, Jonathan Strickland, and everyone at fündekals for the review sample. You can find and purchase this and other fündekals sheets on the web at: http://www.fundekals.com/