"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." -
Sterling F4U-1 Corsair Kit Parts
advertisement for the F4U-1
kit in the 1954 Air Trails magazine)
A 1960s vintage F4U-1 Corsair control line kit from Sterling showed up on eBay, so I bid on it and got it for
just $35 - quite a buy! 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.
August 2015 Update:
My Corsair build is complete now and I have applied the Silkspan and the first couple coats of butyrate dope. Photos of some of the
framing have been posted below, and I will get some photos of the covering soon, hopefully. Photos are out of order at this point since
I'm adding them as I go. At the end of the project, I'll go through an organize everything.
Top view of bottom wing sheeting (March 2015).
Wing sheeting was fit, wetted, and taped to the frame to pre-form before gluing in place.
Wing Framing Top View - Sterling F4U Corsair
Wing Framing Bottom View - Sterling F4U Corsair
Sterling F4-U Corsair Control Line Airplanes - Front View of Inverted Gull Wing Frame
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
Inverted Gull Wing Section Overview
1/16" Balsa Sheeting on Wing- Sterling F4U Corsair
Cowl Assembly - Sterling F4U Corsair
Empennage (tail surfaces) Components - Sterling F4U Corsair
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.
Trailing Edge Joiner
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.
Leading Edge Joiner
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.
Sterling F4U-1 Corsair Fuselage Frame - Top
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.
Sterling F4U-1 Corsair Fuselage Frame - Bottom
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.
Here are some cool F4U Corsair videos
Björn Karlström's Chance Vought F4U-1