Vought F4U Corsair

(7 reviews)

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At a Glance

  • Power System - Rubber Free Flight
  • Wingspan - 18" (460mm)
  • Approximate AUW - 25g
  • Difficulty - Beginner


In 1938 the U.S. Bureau of Aeronautics issued a specification to manufacturers for a carrier-based fighter bomber. Chance Vought successfully answered this request with a proposal for an aircraft fitted with the biggest, most powerful, air-cooled engine of the day - the hugely powerful Pratt and Whitney 18-cylinder Double Wasp. The engine required a very large diameter propeller to use the 1850 horsepower available, which gave the Vought engineers a headache as it required an equally large clearance to the ground. The simple answer of a tall undercarriage would be unacceptable due to the harsh landing loads expected for a carrier based aircraft. To overcome this problem, the design team lead by Rex Beisel came up with a "bent" inverted gull wing design. The inboard section of the wing having a severe anhedral angle and outboard section a severe dihedral angle with the undercarriage positioned at the joint of the two. As well as being structurally sound the distinctive configuration had the advantage of minimising drag at the wing root to fuselage joint.

The clean lines of the airframe and the powerful engine gave the Corsair a 400mph plus top speed and impressive rates of climb, but the long nose and consequent poor forward visibility when landing, coupled with other difficulties initially made for unsuccessful carrier trials. The U.S. Navy proceeded with the easier to handle Grumman Hellcat, turning over the Corsair to the U.S. Marines. However, the British Fleet Air Arm persisted (probably through necessity as much as any other factor) and by using different landing techniques and modifications, went on to operate the aircraft successfully from carriers.

The U.S. Marines soon made use of the Corsair's speed, agility, ruggedness and range as they flew it from rough runways on small Pacific islands. It is said that the Japanese named the aircraft the "Whistling Death" because of the deadliness of the aircraft along with the distinctive noise created by the air as it passed through the large wing root mounted oil coolers. Operating well after the Second World War, over 12,500 examples of the Corsair were produced over a 9 year period to 1953, with many serving as recently as the late seventies in some territories.


This kit is designed for you to build a traditionally constructed, rubber powered, free flight model of a Corsair operated by VMF-216, a fighter squadron of the U.S. Marines Corps - nicknamed the “Bulldogs”. The Bulldogs were based on the Essex Class aircraft carrier USS Wasp before taking part in the Battle of Iwo Jima in early 1945.

The kit includes the materials (other than paints) to complete the suggested authentic scheme. This is a simple striking scheme, but you can decide to do your own favourite or more complicated scheme if you wish. Construction of the model from this kit uses the traditional method of ‘stick and tissue’, that consists of a built up balsa wood skeleton (framework), covered with a tissue skin. The balsa frameworks are built over a plan that is printed at the exact scale of the model, which is in essence a real engineering drawing. Power is provided by rubber strip motor that is wound up before flight.

Free flight means just that – once the model is launched, it is on its own. It must follow a predetermined flight path established when the model is initially adjusted for flight or ‘trimmed’. This type of traditional building technique and flying requires a degree of patience and skill, but is extremely rewarding. Typically for a small model and in the spirit of the traditional kits, profiles are simplified and adjusted from the original and a relatively large propeller is used. This is done so that the model is light and stable enough to fly on its own, is simple in construction and can work with the rubber motor. These adjustments have been done with care and sensitivity so that the shape and spirit of the original aircraft is preserved as much as possible. Also in the spirit of the traditional kits, additional items required to build the model are things that can be found in the kitchen drawer or are easily available on the high street.


Four balsa sheets with precise laser cut parts and strip wood.
PVA glue for building the wooden frames.
One 150mm diameter plastic propeller.
One pre-bent motor hook and shaft.
Three low friction plastic nose bushings - one for the propeller and two for the undercarriage wheels.
One vacuum formed canopy.
Piano wire for the main undercarriage and tail wheel legs.
One motor peg (cocktail stick or toothpick). Rubber motor strip.
Tissue to cover the model.
Parts reference sheet (W), full size summary plan sheet (X), scheme diagram sheet (Y) and scheme markings (Z) printed on lightweight paper.


Download a spare copy of the instruction booklet included in your kit here:Corsair Instruction Booklet


Click the link below to download a pdf version of the markings sheet included in the Corsair kit.

The markings sheet should fit onto a single A4 page and may be printed onto your own paper or decal transfer sheet.

Download the markings sheet here:


Click the link below to download a pdf version of the patterns for acetate and paper/card parts originally drawn on the plan.

This will save you from having to cut into your beautiful plan!

Download the patterns sheet


Rob Brennan has produced this wonderful series of videos that takes you step by step through the build process for our Vought Corsair.

18" (460mm)


  • 4

    Posted by david on 4th Apr 2021

    A meticulously produced kit, that needs thought in building to obtain the best results. One problem I found was that the dimensions of former 5 were fractionally out. The former was too long, more problematically the 'notches' for the stringers on the former were in one case quite seriously misplaced,. Otherwise an excellent kit that repays careful building.

  • 5
    My favourite so far

    Posted by Duncan Boniface on 10th Feb 2021

    This is my 5th VMC/MFM kit, and the one I've most enjoyed. Does require careful reading of instructions and making sure you understand them before going ahead for each step, but it's a great kit. As always, beautifully clean laser cutting, quality materials and nice clear plans. Gull wing designs are harder to do without warping, but with a bit of perseverance I'm pleased with the result. Great looking plane, and a fun way to spend some time.

  • 5
    Enjoyed the build!

    Posted by leigh Kogan on 23rd Dec 2020

    This model was a pleasure to build. It is now proudly displayed along with several others bought from Vintage Models. Instructions are clear, diagrams good. Everything you need for the build is included. Good value for money.

  • 1
    the whole kit

    Posted by Rajesh Patavardhan on 25th Oct 2019

    it is the worst first the kit comes late second the parts don't fit at all

  • 5
    Great kit

    Posted by Stan Evans on 10th Oct 2019

    Good solid kit when constructed plans were clear and precise. The tissue colour was good and matched Humbrol paint number 104 (matt) which meant body parts could be coloured to match the skin. This was a pleasure to build, trying to make my mind up which Vintage model to get next [originally posted on our old website 15/07/2018]

  • 5
    Corsair - excellent

    Posted by Brian Austin on 10th Oct 2019

    This is my second model from your excellent company. I built the SE5A biplane just after Christmas and now moved on to the Corsair. As before, the kit is first-class and the instructions are very clear and easy to follow. Some careful thinking required at various stages but that's why one takes on these challenges. Now it's complete I'm very pleased with the result. Thank you again. [originally posted on our old website 05/07/2018]

  • 4
    Better than guillows!

    Posted by Loz on 10th Oct 2019

    After being frustrated at some plastic model kits I bought a guillows p40 large scale kit. It was never to fly, I like the skeleton look. Plans vague, outline etc... really not up to 2017 in my mind standards. I was happy considering problems. I suffer from deppresion, anxiety, anxiosness etc... looking at plans at first confuses me, more so than the probable average builder. I'm not experienced, but have basic skills. Unboxing was great, bits n Bob's etc. Checking balsa I could see no part numbers e.g. F6. This through me out at first. Opinion, print part nos on balsa, just so much easier to follow etc. Laser cutting is perfect! Minimal clean up, except for rear stabiliser main spar. Just a fraction off, couldn't get a perfect symmetrical alignment, spars. It's not a flyer, skeleton. Nobody would notice, but I do. That is the only very minor problem. Pay more than a guillows but get a better product. I was also a bit bemused that the modern range uses, shall we say 50s 60s balsa profiling etc when a modern ish vac cowl would suffice. Just ease of cow's etc. I'm yet to build the fuselage, from what I have experienced so far, it should be fine! Diagrams similar to model kits in the instruction booklet would in my mind help a lot. Keep the plans just as building plans, no outher info... extra info included in booklet, easy to read diagrams etc... just my honest first impressions... I'm very happy with this model so far, wing sections done and fit great! I was at first daunted by the build of gull wing... head scratch, 're read, dry build, parts numbered and done! Very satisfying sense of achievement... I will be buying another from the range as I'm on the fuselage! 8.5/10 great to get lost in a build. I think I could say that the product is equal to the Brand Tamiya, but in balsa! Not quite shake and bake, yet a great product! [originally posted on our old website 25/10/2017]