The Matchbox F4U-4

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The Matchbox F4U-4

Postby Daniel Cox » Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:54 pm

Hi All,
 
Here is my latest build, which I am happy to say was terrific fun from start to finish. In fact it was such fun that I didn’t even bother to photograph the sprues (absent the fuselage halves which a previous owner had untidily liberated from those same sprues). The fun was so great that I also didn’t bother to take any work in progress shots either, since it was a simple “Matchbox”® kit from a 1973 boxing, which saw it built unsurprisingly rather rapidly.
 
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Now that it’s complete I can share my musings on this kit, which I first experienced through a 1974/75-style boxing as a child of eight. Although I no longer have any of the many kits I built as a child, I have been fortunate enough to acquire a number of old “Matchbox”® kits, many which I built as a child plus a few that my father built which I couldn’t help but covet at the time.
 
If this keeps up though I can see myself ending up with some old Airfix, Crown, Otaki, and Hasegawa kits as well which is fine of course as long as I build them.
 
Anyway onto the kit I have decided that the best way to review it as such is to list the kits advantages counterpointed by its disadvantages to give a more comprehensive picture of what is on offer as follows below.
 
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Advantages
 
This kit offers a little something for everyone, since it has various features from a variety of F4U Corsair sub types. If you like the F4U-4 you get a terrific port wing with quite accomplished renderings of its details like the gun panels, three machine gun ejection ports, recognition lights and more. All of this is represented by recessed panel lines that are equal to the state of the art from Airfix® today. If you like the early F4U-4 or the F4U-1D, the canopy has you and the pilot figure covered there. As to pilot figures this kit has one which is better than having none since it is not unreasonable for a modeller to be given the option to glue someone’s bum to a seat if they are so inclined. The cockpit is floorless which is also perfect for the all F4U aircraft except the F2G and F4U-4 and beyond of course.
 
Then there’s the cowling if you like the F4U-4 it features the chin carburettor intake while if you like the F4U-1D or FG-1D the lower cowling is round instead of flattened like on the F4U-4. As a bonus if the F4U-4B or F4U-5 amongst others is more to your tastes you get the wing-mounted 20mm canons to stick on the front of the wings. Although the pitot tube with a dongle on the end and aft fuselage upper antenna mast is provided. You don’t have to bother with IFF, radio altimeter antennas, pylons or any other appendages, which would only get broken if one used such things, so that right there is a terrific feature amongst many!
 
Disadvantages
 
This kit offers a little something for everyone, since it has various features from a variety of F4U Corsair sub types. This can be a bit disappointing if you were after something more representative of the type listed on the box. One could note the fact that the port starboard wing is a copy of the port wing down to its recognition lights. Or otherwise spot the fact that recessed panel lines represent the flap footstep on both wings instead of featuring a cut out on the starboard wing only. Not to mention all of the other features that may not be your cup of tea if you have Kinzey’s, Sullivan’s, Maki’s Yamada’s, Kuroki’s, Hards’, and others work on the Corsair.
 
Advantages
 
The tail plane and elevators features recessed details that represent quite well albeit heavily the details found on the real thing.
 
Disadvantages
 
Those same tail planes and elevators feature the above-mentioned details upon the upper surfaces only. This is in error since the details should be present on the port side upper surfaces and starboard side lower surfaces only. The trim tab control rods have also been omitted.
 
Advantages
 
The transfers, considering in this instance are circa 40 years old performed admirably well. To the point where they conformed quite well, which is not bad considering scissors then tweezers, plus hot water in a teacup and tissue paper were the only aids used.
 
Disadvantages
 
The fuselage "Marines" markings were somewhat oversize in this instance, which if I recall correctly was never a problem in my first build of this kit in 1979.
 
Advantages
 
According to “Matchbox”® no painting is necessary which is terrific if you like clean builds.

Disadvantages
 
According to “Matchbox”® no painting is necessary which is disappointing if you like the smell of enamel paint and were wanting to have dark blue fingers.

Advantages
 
It comes with a stand that features a ball and socket assembly, which cleverly allows the modeller to display their work in a variety of dramatic attitudes.

Disadvantages
 
The socket that comes with the stand is a bit too agricultural in appearance for such enlightened times.
 
Advantages
 
This kit has 41 part if you include the display stand which allows one to undertake a timely build which will allow you to fly it around the house under control of course, while terrorising the cat (please note: that no cats were permanently harmed during this build). Not to mention it’s great for a beginner to cut his or her teeth on and can also be fun to build again, for someone who had the pleasure a long time ago.
 
Disadvantages
 
It’s not the “Matchbox”® Zero-Sen kit which has 32 parts including the display stand!
 
Advantages
 
The kit is moulded with oxford and azure blue plastic, which is terrific since it, looks quite fetching in combination with the willow green transfers that feature in one of the build options.
 
Disadvantages
 
The kit is molded with oxford and azure blue plastic, which can be a bit disappointing if one, wants to paint the kit more easily in order to make it look even more splendid.
 
Advantages
 
It is a 1-72 scale kit, which is considered by some to be the perfect scale for aeroplane kits. It is also ideally sized to allow more to fit on the shelf or if one is really interested in displaying their model at its best. It also allows more to be hung from the ceiling with some fishing line to roar over ones bedroom by day and night.
 
Disadvantages
 
It is a 1-72 scale kit, which is considered by some to be too small for an aeroplane kit. What were “Matchbox”® thinking? Did they not realize that the optically challenged might have to don ridiculous implements like glasses or heaven forbid even an optiVISOR (which I find quite handy these days) in order to glue the bits together!
 
Advantages
 
If you assemble it right the propeller can spin!
 
Disadvantages
 
If you assemble it wrong the propeller won’t spin!
 
Advantages
 
It is made in England; it says so on the box, on the instructions and even on the sprues as well.
 
Disadvantages
 
It was made in England; so now it isn’t anymore. That doesn’t mean that things aren’t still made in England! Fortunately Lancashire Cheese is still made in England. I couldn't help the Lancashire Cheese references, being half English and having grown up on a bit of English food I do miss that cheese.
 
Unfortunately you can’t get it in a small Australian town on the edge of the outback where I type this review. Or for that matter even the largest Australian city where I used to live or anywhere else in Australia, this apparently has something to do with customs and dairy imports!
 
Advantages
 
It’s not Lancashire Cheese! Which is good if you're wanting a plastic aeroplane kit.
 
Disadvantages
 
It’s not Lancashire Cheese! Which is bad if you're wanting some decent cheese.
 
Advantages
 
It is a perfect companion for the before mentioned “Matchbox”® 1-72 scale Mitsubishi Zero-Sen kit which was molded in a splendid orange and white combination which made it ideal for the occasional aerial encounter while watching Black Sheep Squadron on the box.
 
Disadvantages
 
It isn’t a perfect companion for that Zero-Sen kit in the occasional aerial encounter while watching Victory at Sea on the box, something about them both doesn’t look quite right.
 
Summary
 
The “Matchbox”® 1/72 scale F4U-4 Corsair is a terrific kit to build and I would heartily recommend it to the beginner for a great introduction and the advanced builder alike for a fun diversion.
 
I still think it’s a shame these kits aren’t still in circulation in the style they once were with all that lovely coloured plastic inside a box that let you peak inside at the back while a dramatic scene on the top inspired one to give it a go. Though it’s great Airfix is revamping its range I can’t help but wonder what will happen to those more simple kits that provided the best training for those wanting to learn the hobby of plastic model kit assembly.
 
Matchbox were very good at providing kits for the newcomer that were easy enough to keep one keen while generally assembling much more easily than most other brands in the 1970’s. Not to mention I still like the subjects they chose. Unfortunately though there weren’t enough of us to keep it going. Even I moved on to better things via Otaki, Hasegawa, Tamiya and many others.
 
If you have any Matchbox kits I encourage you to have fun and build one or if you know someone you’d like to introduce to the hobby get them to have a go at one. Who knows they might even like it, like my wife Jo (who has built a Hellcat) my son Aeddan (who has built a Zero-Sen) and daughter Isabella (who has built a Mustang “Doolybird”) did.
 
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As to what’s next, shown above is my personal Matchbox to do pile, I intend to get them all done this year and will even paint some of them along the way. So whichever I pick next I will share my progress and painting this time from start to finish here on at Aussie Modeller International, so till then…
 
Cheers,
 
 
Daniel.

References:
 
Fighter Bomber Team, Air Ace, Picture Library, All Action, Holiday Special, IPC Magazines Ltd., 1980.
“Matchbox”® 1/72 scale F4U-4 Corsair Instructions, Lesney Products & Co. Ltd., 1972.
 
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All images Copyright ©2013 Daniel Cox.
Daniel Cox
Beginner
 
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2010 4:57 pm
Location: West Wyalong, Australia