Some planes need no introduction. Such is the case of the Vought F4U Corsair. The "Bent-Wing Warrior" was one of the Navy's most dominant fighters in WWII, predominantly in the Pacific theater.
The distinguishing inverted gull wing was needed to raise the body for prop clearance while avoiding long landing gear struts, which would have never survived aircraft carrier landings. The surprising bonus was that the new wing shape actually improved the aerodynamics and gave the Corsair a better top speed!
Now the Corsair is the latest of Top Flite's "Gold Edition" kits to be produced as an Almost-Ready-To-Fly model. Introduced at last year's Toledo Show, I can only surmise that production issues slowed its release, but if that was the case, I'm glad to see they waited to get it right - Because they got a lot of things right on this baby!
Price: $399.99 Wingspan: 62.5" (1590mm) Wing Area: 699in² (45.1dm²) Weight: 8.5-9.5 lb (3.85-4.3 kg) Length: 50.5" (1285mm) Engine: 2-stroke .61-.65 cu in or 4-stroke .91-.95 cu in Engine Used: OS FS-95V Radio Used: Futaba 10CAG Servos Used: (6) Futaba S9001 Servos.
(2) Futaba S3003 Servos.
Channels Used: 6 total - Elevator, Aileron, Throttle, Rudder. Flaps, Retracts
Items Needed To Complete
5 or 6-Channel Radio w/ Servos
Two 18" Servo Extensions
2-stroke .61-.65 cu in or 4-stroke .91-.95 cu in
Thin and Medium CA Glue
Small Drill bits
Soldering Iron and Solder/Flux
Various Standard Shop Tools
Recommended Control Throws
The packaging was outstanding. All of the major components were individually bagged and taped in place with no signs of movement during shipping.
Some of the notable features were the tabs for the sectional flaps, the ribbed rudder and elevators and the fiberglass cowl with dummy radial engine and scale prop hub.
The manual is up to Great Planes typical standards - which are to say, excellent. Each step is documented well and clearly illustrated.Although I did catch one typo: Step 6 on page 23 states, "Mount the cowl with a #2 × 5/8" [16mm] Phillips screw". This should say a #4 x 5/8" screw.
Since the center section is a single piece, we start by attaching the belly pan. Most of the bottom center area is uncovered, but you'll still need to mark the area and remove a little bit of covering before gluing the pan on.
Once the epoxy was applied, I used the wing screws and tape to hole everything in place.
Now the servo blocks are drilled and epoxied to the servo hatches.
With the hatches in place, the servo horns are mounted. Remember to remove each one and harden the holes with THIN CA!
Since the flap horns are mounted 5/8" behind the hinge line, I made a little jig to locate them. Finally, the pushrods are cut to size and each one gets a clevis soldered to the unthreaded end.
The ailerons are set up next and the wing components are ready for final assembly.
The four, plywood wing joiners are glued into two sets and, after a test-fit, the wings can be glued together. Be sure to insert the front and rear alignment pins as well as the flap actuator.
Top Flite provides a set of fixed gear which mount into blocks, which then mount into the wings, or you can use optional Retracts. I used Robart 615 Rotating Retracts, although both of the inboard mounting rails had been slightly rounded to the shape of the wing, which cause the units to bind when tightened down, so I had to add spacers under the forward, inside mounting screw.
The air lines are routed through the flap servo hatch. I found that a thin piece of wire was very helpful in getting the lines in place. The air tank and valve will be installed into their locations inside the fuse later, so for now, the wing is finished!
The tail section starts with the mounting of the tail wheel assembly and the rudder tiller. I was a little concerned about this setup, but Top Flite did it right by using a system that allows the pushrod to shift side-to-side as the control arms rotate.
Now the rudder can be installed and the stab can be epoxied in place. Another nice touch is a straightedge holder, which is tack-glued in place on the wing saddle for aligning the stab.
Once the epoxy had set, the elevators can be added. They are held in place with CA hinges and a central torque rod completely hides the controls under the rear cover.
ENGINE AND TANK
I used the new O.S 95v for power. This turned out to be a great choice (check out the "Flight Report" below). With the engine in the proper position on the mount, I used a Great Planes Dead Center Tool to locate the mounting holes.
The firewall is marked for drilling the correct mounting holes for a variety of engines. Start with a small pilot drill, followed by a 3/16" drill.
Something not mentioned in the manual is that you will have to trim off a corner of one of the blind nuts to clear one of the fuselage stringers.
The new O.S. FS-95V has the multi-cylinder look, deeper sound and 4-stroke power that will perfectly complement any scale airplane. Its classic looks are a flashback to aviation's Golden Age; its power is state-of-the-art. The FS-95V delivers famous O.S. performance.
Bold, new head design with angled valve layout and individual valve covers
Machined aluminum pushrod guides
Steady power at all times due to the optimal balance between high combustion efficiency and effective cooling
New Jet Stream Silencer has unique outline, attractive fin shape, and produces an authentic, low amplitude sound that's ideal for scale planes
Larger displacement than the FS-91, but lighter in weight
Mounts in the same bolt pattern as the FS-91SII, 61FX, 65LA, 75AX, 95AX, and FS-110
Carburetor is positioned on the center line for easy installation in a variety of models
A template is provided in the manual to locate the throttle pushrod hole for a variety of engines, and with an O.S. M11 In-Cowl Exhaust Header Pipe (OSMG2568), the muffler fits neatly and completely inside the cowl.
Next, the tank is assembled and installed.
You'll need some 1/16" scrap to tack-glue to the cowl mounts to make up for the plastic spacers which will be added later. More templates are provided to aid in cutting the cowl for several different engines.
Once you have aligned and drilled the cowl mounting holes, the scrap can be removed and the plastic spacers can be glued in place.
The dummy radial is prepared by drilling a series of holes for the pushrod tubes. There is no real guide for this, so you'll have to do a good job of "eyeballing" each one. I found that by first poking a hole with a pin it kept the drill bit from "walking".
Once the pushrod tubes are inserted, they get glued in place and then the entire assembly is aligned and glued to the cowl.
As I noted earlier, a misprint in the manual says to use #2 x 5/8" screws to hold the cowl in place - These are actually #4 x 5/8" screws. Next I added a hole for the needle valve and a DuBro "Fill-It".
If you are using pneumatic retracts, the air tank can be secured behind the radio compartment.
Now the final radio installation is made, switch and charge jacks mounted and the air valve can be secured to its mount. To my delight, absolutely no additional weight was required for balance.
A basic cockpit kit is included which you can detail as much as you like. I added a pilot (not included) before securing the canopy with RC-56 Canopy glue.
January in Minnesota is not the most desirable place on earth to be. We're usually under a few feet of snow and temps usually spend more time below zero than they do above it. But this year we were having the mildest winter I can remember in my 17 years of living here. As luck would have it, I finished the Corsair on a Saturday, and the next day, it was clear, calm, 45 degrees and not a speck of snow on the ground. So we were anxious to take advantage of our good fortune.
The only problem was that the engine was brand-new. It hadn't even SEEN fuel yet, but with other commitments that day we only had about a one-hour window in which to fly. If we missed this opportunity, we might not have nice weather again until spring. So we decided to give it a shot.
At the field, our plan was simple: If we have no unforeseen problems and it starts, we'll see how it runs. If it needs some run-in time, we'll give it some, and if all goes well, we'll do a maiden flight.
I fueled her up, put the starter to the OS 95v and after a few seconds she popped and died. I opened the needle valve another turn and tried again. This time she came to life and continued to run. Then I raised the throttle, removed the glow clip and tweaked the high end and she was roaring! My buddy Geoff and I looked at each other and both nodded in approval. Next, I dropped her back to idle and she just purred. We again looked at each other with even bigger nods. I worked the throttle back and forth a few times and the 95v responded as well as any seasoned engine I own!
"Waddya think?" I asked. "Let's do it!" Geoff replied "Should I get the cameras?" We always bring our cameras along just in case, so I said, "Sure". So with Geoff rolling video, I taxied out and took off.
The Corsair lifted nicely off the runway. I turned into the pattern and did a few basic maneuvers. Only minor trim changes were needed before I was strafing the runway and putting her through her paces. I was extremely surprised at how well she rolled. I have never flown a Corsair before and I just thought that gull wing would make rolls a little wonky, but they were surprisingly axial. All in all, I was VERY impressed with how well she flew, AND with the performance of the 95v engine!
Now it was time to land. I slowed her down and dropped the flaps. There was a little increase in lift, but no major ballooning. With the gear down, I came in on base leg and final, lined her up nicely and settled her in. Sweet!
So what you are about to see in the video is both the maiden flight of the Corsair, and the maiden run of the OS 95v. I hope you are as impressed as we were!
Check out the video to see her in action!
Top Flite F4U Corsair 62.5" ARF
The new Corsair is a hands-down winner. The quality is excellent and she's fantastic in the air. Assembly time is not short, but there's a lot to do - All of which is well-covered by the manual and, aside from the uneven retract rails, there were no problems encountered. I'm surprised to see the lack of gear doors, but I guess that with rotating gear that could be difficult, still they could have included them for those who choose to use the fixed gear.
The O.S. 95v is just plain awesome! I don't think I have ever had an engine that ran so well in so little time.
Great Planes Model Distributors
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Futaba Corporation of America Distributed by:
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P.O. Box 9021 Champaign, IL 61826-9021
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Champaign IL 61826
Phone: (217) 398-8970
Everything For The R/C Hobbyist
Robart Mfg, Inc.
625 N. 12th St.
St. Charles, IL 60174
Phone: (630) 584-7616
and Pacer Adhesives Distributed by Frank Tiano Ent.
3607 Ventura Drive E.
Lakeland, Florida 33811
Phone 863-607-6611 www.franktiano.com
The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.