If there's one thing that can never be satisfied, it's modellers' insatiable appetite for reference photos. The latest in Squadron Signal Publications' highly successful line of Walk Arounds focuses on the all-time classic, the F4U Corsair.
Author David Boyle has produced a very useful new book in the now traditional Walk Around softback format, with 80 pages packed with colour photos backed up by occasional diagrams and high quality profiles. While the title may suggest an all-encompassing look at the Corsair, in fact the book is much more specific, focusing on four versions: the F4U-1D/FG1-D, F4U-4, F4U-5 and F4U-5NL. This seems quite a healthy spread to me, allowing both WW2 and post-war Corsairs to be featured.
Each chapter begins with a brief description of the particular variant, noting any airframe, equipment and armament changes. But the heart of the book is the photos, over 200 of them, which are of excellent quality, accompanied by useful and informative captions and printed large enough to allow all the details to be easily seen.
However, sticking strictly with modern colour photos is something of a mixed blessing in my opinion. While the detail is great, I can't help being a bit suspicious of just how well these immaculately maintained airframes really represent service Corsairs.
All the machines featured have been restored to some extent, indeed several are maintained in flying condition. Herein lies my concern, because the super-gloss finish of some of the pristine warbirds just looks a bit "too good to be true". For instance, two FG1-D engine compartments are shown – the first resplendent in glossy apple green and yellow, while the second is painted a faded matt green throughout. The latter looks original, but the accompanying captions make no mention of this, or warn of any other non-standard colours.
There are some good views of the FG1-D cockpit, but sadly the museum exhibit lacks original radio equipment, which is of course exactly the sort of detail that modellers are seeking, so I think it's a shame that the modern shots aren't backed up by vintage photos and illustrations from manuals to fill in the gaps where necessary.
Nevertheless, I think the Walk Around will prove very useful, as the photos do go into considerable detail covering the Corsair from nose to tail, with shots from a variety of angles that will be a great help in getting the most from a model. It's an ideal accompaniment for Squadron Signal Publications' own "In Action" and "Detail & Scale" books.
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Highs: Over 200 excellent colour photos backed up by useful captions.Lows: Some of the pampered warbirds featured may not give the truest impression of Corsairs in service.Verdict: A very useful collection of photos to help pile the detail into model Corsairs - just be a little wary of the modern paint-jobs.
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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...