"The Chance Vought F4U Corsair was a carrier-capable fighter aircraft that saw service
primarily in World War II and the Korean War. Goodyear-built Corsairs were designated
FG and Brewster-built aircraft F3A. The Corsair served in smaller air forces until the
1960s, following the longest production run of any piston-engined fighter in U.S. history
(1942–1952). Some Japanese pilots regarded it as the most formidable American fighter
of World War II. The U.S. Navy counted an 11:1 kill ratio with the F4U Corsair." - Wikipedia
vintage F4U-1 Corsair control line kit from Sterling showed up on eBay, so I bid on and
won it! The box was faded, but the parts were all there. Die cutting quality was what
could be expected from the era, although having bought a lot of similar kits back in
the day, I can say from experience that the die cutting was pretty good. Even the plywood
parts came out of the sheets fairly easily. The photo below shows all the parts removed
from their die-cut sheets, along with all the other parts, laid on top of the plans.
The wingspan is 36", engine size .19 to .35.
May 2017 Update:
Silkspan and a couple coats of clear dope have been applied now, with light sanding
between coats. I have not yet attempted to level the surface to get a metal-like smoothness.
Progress is slow due to other obligations. Weight without the engine is 21.4 ounces.
McCoy .35 Red Head mounted on Sterling F4U-1 Corsair
Cowl and engine mounting rails - Sterling F4U-1 Corsair
Bottom - Sterling F4-U-1 Corsair
Silkspan and clear dope applied - Sterling F4U Corsair
Leadout lines - Sterling F4U-1 Corsair
Front view of the classic inverted gull wing- Sterling F4U-1 Corsair
August 2015 Update:
My Corsair build is complete. The next step is to apply the Silkspan and dope.
Top view of bottom wing sheeting (March 2015).
Wing Framing Top View - Sterling F4U-1 Corsair
Sterling F4U-1 Corsair Control Line Airplanes - Front View of Inverted
Gull Wing Frame
Wing sheeting was fit, wetted, and taped to the frame to pre-form
before gluing in place.
Wing Framing Bottom View - Sterling F4U-1 Corsair
I took the plans to Staples to have a 1:1 copy made to build on so that the originals
would not be compromised. I also scanned the die-cut parts to have a record of the outlines,
since the plan do not include that (see images below).
Inverted Gull Wing Section Overview
Cowl Assembly - Sterling F4U-1 Corsair
1/16" Balsa Sheeting on Wing- Sterling F4U-1 Corsair
Empennage (tail surfaces) Components - Sterling F4U-1 Corsair
Trailing Edge Joiner
Leading Edge Joiner
Sterling F4U-1 Corsair Fuselage Frame - Top
Sterling F4U-1 Corsair Fuselage Frame - Bottom
My intention is to use electric power since it is nice and clean. Admittedly, it will
seem a bit weenie to not have a screaming internal combustion engine hauling this manly
WWII fighter around the circle, but it's a compromise I'm willing to live with for the
sake of no oily mess and works-every-time motor runs. The inexpensive, programmable motor
sequence timers makes operation a breeze.
October, 2012: I have finally gotten around to resuming work on the Corsair.
The outer wing panels were attached to the inverted gull sections. It was necessary to
build an alignment jig for that process in order to assure that both wings have the same
dihedral and are aligned properly in the fore-aft direction.
The plywood fore and aft spars that are an integral part of the fuselage formers were
supplied with a crease in them to allow bending where the outer wing panels join. Rather
than do that, I cut them back about 1/2" before the joint and glued in a solid piece
of plywood across the joints. To avoid having to bend them to accommodate the change
in leading and trailing edge angles, I instead sanded into the leading and trailing edges
to allow the straight joiners. This should make for a much stronger joint.
November 2010: Here is the beginning of the actual construction, after cutting
out all the parts. Instructions on the plans do not indicate that the top half of the
fuselage should be built first while pinned to the board. Doing so, however, will assure
a straight assembly on which to attach the lower half of the formers. Doing it the way
the plans indicates would make achieving a straight fuselage without conjuring up some
sort of 3-D jig. I will probably use some sort of jig anyway when assembling the lower
former halves, but this way the fuselage will be a good solid reference to begin with.
Here is the Sterling F4U-1 Corsair fuselage bottom assembly on an alignment jig that
I made from two equal dimensioned pieces of wood, with thin slats run through the fuselage.
It was necessary to tape the main balsa longerons down to counter the bending force of
the top stringers before the bottom stringers were added. This shot also shows the landing
gear attachment to the plywood former using J bolts (with a few dabs of epoxy to stabilize
it on the former). At least part of the bottom balsa sheeting will be installed prior
to removing the fuselage from the jig.
It should be a very strong and rigid structure once completed - which was necessary
with the often rough-running engines of the day. The brushless motor that I am using
will not require nearly as much beef, so I'll probably do a bit of selective lightening
throughout the structure as it progresses.
This appears to be a very well-engineered model. It is too bad that these kinds of
kits are no longer available. The good news is that some of the folks who sell laser-cut
short kits are beginning to make some nice scale control line models available. They
would not be likely to supply the pre-shaped gull wing leading edges or tapered balsa
parts, so extra carving would be required - not an insurmountable task to anyone willing
to take on building such a model in the first place.
More to come as the Corsair progresses... The gull wing should be fun to build!
Full-Size Parts Shapes below (click for larger versions). NOTE:
I do NOT have a scan of the plans.
Here's my Sterling F4U-1 Corsair C/L model.
Björn Karlström's Chance Vought F4U-1 Corsair 4-view