Future Build Preview – F4U-1 Corsair – “Tojo Eats Shit”

There are exactly three aircraft for which I am determined to build an example of every major variant. The first is the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. The second, the North American P-51 Mustang. The third is the Chance-Vought F4U Corsair.

The F4U Corsair

Originally intended to replace the Grumman F4F Wildcat, the Corsair ran into problems securing clearance for carrier operations due to poor visibility and a tendency to hop when landing. This relegated the Corsair to land bases into 1944 and gave the Grumman F6F Hellcat the opening to take the mantle as the Navy’s frontline fighter for pretty much the rest of World War II. But…the Corsair was still a superb aircraft, a match or better for the Hellcat, and it’s telling that, late in the war, it was the Corsair that was being rapidly upgraded to counter the kamikaze threat, not the Hellcat.

Prototype of the bubbletop F2G Corsair

In the end, the Corsair would have the last laugh, finding ongoing value as not only a fighter, but a strike and close air support aircraft. In these capacities, it served through the duration of the Korean War, while the Navy’s Hellcats had long since been scrapped.

Korea-era AU-1 Corsair

The F4U-1 Corsair

The first Corsair to enter frontline service was the F4U-1, often called the “birdcage” due to its caged canopy, which was replaced with a clear Malcolm hood from the F4U-1A onward. While later Corsairs tended to wear either tricolor or dark sea blue camoflage, these earliest Corsairs often wore the Blue Gray over Light Gray livery more commonly associated with early war aircraft, giving them a very distinctive appearance from their later variants.

To be honest, I’d kind of been dreading the F4U-1, as it seems so far away from my favorite Corsair variant, the four-bladed F4U-4. But then Barracudacals went and printed a decal sheet that included a hard-ridden, ridiculously weathered -1 wearing the inscription “Tojo Eats Shit!”. I knew at once that, when I build the birdcage, that’s the one I’m building.

To give you a sense of just how weathered this plane was…here’s an actual shot.

As I’m a big fan of ridiculously beat-up aircraft, I’m looking forward to this one. Should be a great way to kick off what will be a very long journey across Corsair variants (F4U-1, F4U-2, F4U-1A, F4U-1D, F4U-4, F2G, F4u-5, AU-1, F4U-7…)!

4 thoughts on “Future Build Preview – F4U-1 Corsair – “Tojo Eats Shit”

  1. Got the decals; got the kit; got the time! I’m ready to go….

    The decal set states that “No Bureau # or location” for this F4U-1.

    Here’s my two cents on the subject (I believe this to be considered as a SWAG as opposed to a WAG):
    Since the national insignia is the white star/blue circle, AND THE WHITE BAR (without either Red or Blue outline),that would place the time frame from mid 1943 (6/28/43) when the Red outline was initiated to September 1943 (when the outline was changed to blue). If there is an outline on the white bars (it’s hard to tell), it places the aircraft picture after 6/28/43.

    A/C apperrs to be located on a coral airstrip, close to water. Therefore, NOT Hendeson Field on Guadalcanal. That means it’s probably Munda on New Georgia or later on Bougainville. The first fighter plane to land on Munda was a VMF-215 Corsair flown by Maj Robert G. Owens, Jr., on August 14, 1943.

    So, my SWAG is Munda after 14 Aug., 1943… or Vella LaVella… or Bougainville…

    Love this hobby!

    Lt. TK Ryan
    USAR
    RVN 70-71

  2. Hi there, I’m glad that you are planning to make this model and I am looking forward to seeing it. In May 2008 I was interviewing RNZAF veteran Alex Brisbane at his home in Auckland, NZ as part of my book project. He loaned me his photos from the war to scan and among them was this photo of TOJO EATS SHIT!

    When I scanned it I gave a copy to my good mate Kerry Carlyle, and he passed it onto his mate Roy Sutherland. Roy later turned it into the decals you now have. So although the source of this is completely uncredited in the decal sheet, it comes form a kiwi WWII veteran’s collection, via myself. I reckon it is one of the most beat up looking Corsairs I have seen. I’d love to know who the pilot was. I am pleased to see somone is going to build it.

    See a bit more on my forum from when I discovered the photo in the first place, here:
    http://rnzaf.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=photography&thread=6117&page=1

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