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F4U-1 Birdcage Corsair Cockpit Set

1/48 scale for Tamiya




S u m m a r y
Catalogue Number and Description Aires Hobby Models 4247 - F4U-1 Birdcage Corsair Cockpit Set
Price: USD$20.46 available online from Squadron
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Grey and cream coloured resin, acetate film, photo etched metal
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Excellent detail and casting;
Disadvantages: No painting instructions
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

Aires' 1/48 scale F4U-1 Corsair Cockpit  will be available online from Squadron.com




The latest addition to the Aires Masters Series is 4247, a 1/48 scale mixed-media kit cockpit set for the 1/48 scale Tamiya kit of the Vought F4U-1 'Birdcage' Corsair.

When the Tamiya Corsair series was released a few years ago, it was considered that the cockpit detail was more than sufficient and did not really require any aftermarket detail sets to enhance it. Time moves on and the standard of detail on kits has vastly improved leaving the Tamiya Corsair kit behind.

This new kit from Aires has come to the rescue. It provides 12 resin pieces as well as 22 photo-etch ones and three acetate ones to produce a 'sandwich' instrument panel

The resin parts provide you with an entire 'tub' to fit inside the fuselage. This tub comprises a singular semi-circular piece incorporating the bottom and sides of the fuselage onto which are placed separate left and right fuselage interior pieces and front and rear bulkheads to complete it. The front bulkhead incorporates the instrument panel shroud and gun sight whilst the rear one incorporates the armour plate and seat mount. The balance of resin parts include the control column and stick top, rudder pedals, foot troughs, wobble pump (?) handle and seat. These parts are all perfectly cast and crammed with detail. All of the resin parts, less the rear bulkhead (which is cast in the older, tan coloured resin), have been cast in the new and more user friendly (not as brittle) mid-grey resin that Aires are now starting to use.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The photo-etch fret carries the instrument panel as well as the seat harness and tiny detail parts including separate throttle and mixture handles that Carpet Monsters just love to devour. Photo-etch parts are also provided for the canopy including rear view mirrors and locking handles. The metal used to produce the fret is soft and easy to work with, much like the lead you get from wine a bottle It is easy to manipulate and drape the belts and harnesses onto the seat to make them appear more realistic.

The acetate sheet carries the instrument panels as well as the internal armour plate glass. Strangely though it does not carry the reflector glass for the gun sight but I'm sure that there is sufficient acetate left over to enable you to fabricate one.

Now for the million dollar question when dealing with Aires resin cockpit and detail parts - does it fit? A cursory dry-fit of the tub (with its casting plugs removed) including the sidewalls and front and rear bulkheads taped onto it into the fuselage of one of my un-built Tamiya F4U kits tells me that minimal grinding, filing, sanding and swearing is needed to integrate the resin to the kit parts. To be fair though, Aires does warn you that 'Thinning of the plastic parts and dry-fitting of the assembly needed!' but it seems that this kit needs less that some of the others that I have in progress.

Accurate? It looks like the pictures I found on the internet and in the Detail and Scale book and I have no qualms in using it.

A small instruction sheet is included. It carries 'exploded views' of the suggested assembly sequence as well as a 'parts map' to assist you in identifying the tiny photo-etch parts.

As with all Aires kits, there are no painting instructions at all. If you are going to attempt one of these, arm yourself with the Detail and Scale F4U Corsair, Volume 55 book. It contains colour pictures of an F4U-1A cockpit but from what I understand, the 'Birdcage' cockpit was not all that different.

The kit comes packed in the standard small kit packaging used by Aires and it very well packed indeed! The resin parts sit in a vac formed tray which in turn sits on top of a thick cardboard header onto which the photo etch fret and instructions are also placed. A further vac formed clear plastic cover is then slid over both the tray and the header and it both traps and displays the resin and photo-etch parts. Staples are then punched through the header card and the plastic cover to fasten them together. Great packaging indeed and it will ensure that the kit arrives in your hand with all the parts intact.

A nice kit from Aires.


Thanks to Aires for the review sample.

Text and Images Copyright 2005 by Rodger Kelly
Page Created 04 July, 2005
Last updated 06 July, 2005

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