Since a few months my friend Lego Monster has been working on a new ship, a minifig scale version of USS Intrepid, a WW-II Essex class aircraft carrier. He has asked me to design the aircraft for it. After completing my model of an Avenger about a month ago, I have turned my attention to another classic WW-II aircraft: a Vought F4U Corsiar fighter.
The Corsair was already under development when the second world war started, but it had a fairly long gestation period. Although the aircraft was designed to fly from aircraft carriers, poor low speed handling and the view over the aircraft's long nose made the US Navy decide that the aircraft was not suitable. Most initial deliveries were to the US Marine Corps for use from land bases. Later in the war, experience with the Corsair in British Royal Navy service and the threat posed by Kamikaze made the US Navy reconsider this decision and towards the end of the war most Essex class carriers, including USS Intrepid, operated Corsairs.
Many US Navy Corsairs were delivered in an all-over dark blue colour scheme. Sadly the variety of parts in that colour is very limited, so I decided to build the aircraft in the three-colour scheme that was in use from around 1943. The lower surfaces are white, the upper surfaces are dark blue and the tail and fuselage sides are largely grey. Because the wings on the aircraft fold up, their undersides are grey rather than white, as white would stand out too much against the carrier deck.
One of the distinguishing features of the Corsair is its inverted 'gull wing'. One of the reasons for this unusual design is that it enabled the use of relatively short undercarriage struts, whilst making sure that the aircraft's huge propeller stayed well clear of the deck.
The Corsair has a complicated undercarriage. The struts retract aft into the wing with main wheels rotating to lie flat inside the wing. I did manage to get that to work on my model, but unfortunately I couldn't find sufficient space to add the doors that cover the wheels. Since the aircraft is built to sit on top of an aircraft carrier anyway, I've decided it's a compromise I can live with.
In early 1945, the Intrepid carried four different types of aircraft: the TBF/TBM Avenger, F4U Corsair, F6F Hellcat and the SB2C Helldiver. Two down, two more to go!
Edited by Rufus, 02 July 2011 - 12:43 PM.