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Hasegawa F4U-5N Corsair
by Mark Dice

 

I built this kit for my daughter’s birthday. She lives in Hawaii currently and the street she lives on is named for a Navy Cross winner from the Korean War, Lt. Guy Bordelon.

Lt. Guy Bordelon was a Naval aviator during WWII who decided to remain in the Navy after the war. He served in various staff jobs after WWII. When the Korean War started he was ordered to Composite Squadron 3 (VC-3) where he was trained on the F4U-5N Corsair, a night fighter, and night operations. VC-3 was then broken up into 5 plane detachments for assignment to various carriers. Bordelon’s detachment was assigned to the USS Princeton (CVA-37) for it’s second nine-month tour during the Korean War.

Beginning in late October of 1952 Bordelon’s detachment began night interdiction missions over Korea. He flew 41 low-level missions and earned 3 air medals. In the summer of 1953 he and three other pilots of his detachment were assigned ashore to an airfield near Seoul to assist 5th Air Force in combating night intruders (Bed Check Charlies) that were harassing UN Forces at night. On June 29th he shot down two Yak-18s. The next night he shot down two Lavochkin fighters. And on July 17th he shot down another Lavochkin while dodging anti-aircraft fire. All his victories were scored in the same F4U-5N that he had named “Annie Mo” for his wife.

Bordelon was the only Navy ace during the Korean War. He was also the only all-nighttime ace and I believe the only US propeller driven aircraft ace from that war. For this feat he was awarded the Navy Cross (second only to the Medal of Honor). He went on to finish a 27-year career and retire with his wife Anne in Louisiana.

The F4U-5N “Annie Mo” suffered a different fate. His replacement pilot, in a landing accident, promptly wrecked it shortly after Bordelon rotated back to the USS Princeton.

The Kit
The kit is molded in medium gray plastic with excellent recessed details and only a few of those pesky ejector pin markings to deal with. There’s a slight seam line along the top middle of the canopy. There was also a casting flaw that caused a step in the fuselage about half way between the cockpit and nose. I sanded this out and rescribed the lost details.

Otherwise the assembly was straight forward and OOB with few problems. My only problems were with the fit of the oil coolers in the wings leading edge (required sanding) and the fit between the front lower wing and forward fuselage halves (required more sanding) and the fit between the cowling and forward fuselage (required much sanding).

The kit offers a variety of weapons to hang off of the wings (drop tanks, rockets, & bombs, oh my!) but I chose just the drop tanks cause this thing was going too have to be shipped to Hawaii and my confidence level in all that other stuff making it still attached was low. I also figured if this guy is out trolling around at night hunting bad guys, he’s gonna want gas not bombs and rockets.

Painting was pretty easy. The aircraft was gloss sea blue overall (aircraft, drop tanks, landing gear, wheel wells, landing gear doors) with various details painted their colors as needed. I used Model Master Gloss Sea blue. It was old (I thought I had a bunch of this paint but a frantic search the night of painting only turned up one OLD barely half full bottle) but still went on very well! There was black anti glare paint on the fuselage top from the cockpit to the front of the engine cowl and the radar dome nose on the wing. The cockpit was green zinc chromate w/ black instrument panels w/ prisma color pencil detailing. The engine was metalizer with prisma color pencil highlights. The wheels/tires and propeller were painted as instructed. Once dry the aircraft was sprayed with MANY light coats of Future over a two night period and left to dry only the minimum amount of time to dry (I was getting right down to crunch time on this cause I still had to ship it out).

The decals were applied and this is where I have the greatest praise for this kit!! They went on just beautifully!!!! No setting solution was used and these markings just settled right down the best I’ve ever seen since I started modeling. This is normally the point in the process when I manage to botch a kit up to some major degree but not this time. The decals get high praise from me!!

Another coat of future was applied, to seal the deal, again with minimal dry time. I then masked and flat clear coated the anti glare areas with Testors Dullcoat. Final assembly of the main wheels and canopies and any last minute detail painting was finished up. And I was done, with one evening to spare before the absolute “have to” ship date. This was spent taking pictures and parking the completed model in my traditional “just finished model place of honor”.

Shipping the Kit
The propeller was removed for shipping.

I used that poly-fil material that you can get at Wal-Mart in the craft section for filling pillows and such. Two pillow-sized bags were maybe $4. The model was placed in a bag (one of those plastic Food Lion bags you get your groceries in) to catch any parts if they fall off. A small box (a shoe box actually) was half filled with the poly-fil. The model was placed inside and more poly-fil added till the box was filled to capacity. The lid was placed on and taped in place. This left about one and a half bags of poly-fil left over. The rest of this was used as packing around the first box when I put it into a shipping box I got from the Post Office. The box was shipped Priority with fragile stamped on it and it arrived in plenty of time and intact. My daughter was very happy with it and just surprised as me that it made there intact.