Scale Makeover Magic!

Scale Makeover Magic!

The F4U-1 50 Corsair from Hangar 9 is a medium size warbird that, like its other stablemates, looks great out of the box and flies well. There’s no mistaking the Corsair for any other airplane; its unique, inverted gull wing making it easily identifiable. While the model itself is well designed and of high quality, its color scheme is, well, kinda bland. It’s just a typical gloss blue Corsair with some white markings for contrast. So, the focus of this presentation is to completely refinish this model and add some additional realism by way of a color change, panel definition, and a bit of weathering. Key to this, and to any scale activity for that matter, is your documentation.

Before you start, collect some color profile drawings, photos and data for the real airplane. These will be your guide to help replicate the new features for your model. In the case of the Corsair, being an extremely popular subject, there’s a ton of color schemes available. About 20 minutes on the Internet should have you, with necessary documentation in hand, chomping at the bit to get started. I chose a Royal Canadian Navy scheme which I’m fairly certain never existed on a Corsair; however, the illustration I found charmed me to the point that I decided to do it. There were some other great contenders also like the British Royal Navy schemes along with some really cool Salvadoran “camo” schemes. Take your choice, there are lots available! For decals, I made my own with a kit available at most hobby shops for producing water slide decals using a desktop inkjet printer, but also there are a lot of commercial sources for custom aircraft markings, insignias and chevrons.

Don’t miss Rich Uravitch’s full how-to in the July issue of Model Airplane News!


Updated: April 18, 2012 — 11:33 AM


  1. Debra, how about a book on how to finish models. I have a very hard time with the detail painting getting clean paint lines. Other tricks like weathering would be good. How about decals, vinyls and other finishing techniques. More articles on painting foam planes please. Currently I cover all my foam planes with silkspan using clear Polycrylic as the bonding agent.

  2. Could you give more info.on the water slide decale kit.

  3. Debra,
    There are many great commercial paint products out there to finish model aircraft. Most of these products require resperators and and adequite ventillation. I think Base Coat, Clearcoat products are the most versital. In using this product, you can cover with a very fine llayer of base and acheive real gloss, or a mice matt finish, with the final clear coat finish.

    Any automotive paint store has the information about these products and would probably direct an enquiry to a local professional. Much better than dope.

  4. I saw the article in model airplane news this month on this very well done build.I’m in the process of building the .40 scale Corsair by Great Planes.This article inspired me to get into more detail and I’m fired up on a one of a kind .40 scale Corsair.Thanks!

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