Sunday, May 11, 2014

F4U-1 Birdcage Corsairs Part 2 - Ken Walsh's Viva!

Our interpretation of White 13 "Viva!". VMF-124. Flown by 2nd Lt Kenneth Ambrose Walsh. Henderson Field, Guadalcanal 28 May 1943.

Hi Guys.

As promised, here is part two.

This will be a shorter entry tonight, as I have to get back to the bench. While it at first appears to be a more straightforward scheme, there is some controversy.

This first image seems to show a two tone scheme of Blue Gray (FS35189) over Light Gray (FS36440). The timing of the markings, before the addition of white bars, also point to this scheme. The light colored fin is odd though.

 As with most front line Birdcages,  Walsh's White 13 is quite dirty and fuel stained. Note dirt and paint worn through to bare metal on the wing roots.

This second image of white 13 muddies the water further. At first it appears to be the same aircraft, and it might well be. Some speculation is that this is either a second aircraft, or possiblt the same aircraft at a slightly later date. This images clearly shows differences between the port and starboard fuselage painting. The paint demarcations are very different. There is clearly white on the lower part of the port fuselage in the image below, which is absent on the starboard view above. There is a clear difference between the two upper surface colors in the port view. It also seems to have had the turtledeck modification in this shot. 

The cowling is now conspicuously darker and there is an inscription on the starboard cowl that is unreadable. There is some thinking that this aircraft had been passed on to another pilot or even a new squadron, and this new personal marking was not Walsh's.

 If anyone has a picture showing the later inscription on the port cowling, please share! Images courtesy of Jonathan Strickland.

Unfortunately, there were not a lot of photos taken of the island based Birdcages as the conditions were primitive as can be (no Ginger or Maryann anywhere to be found!), and records on the evolution of camouflage and markings can be a bit confusing. We are starting to understand the theatre and era a little better these days, with some great new research being done by the likes of Dana Bell.

This plan view shows our interpretation of this scheme.

In the end, its up to the modeler to decide how to paint this aircraft. We are supplying this information in hopes that it will spur new discoveries and a better understanding of this interesting period of US Naval Aviation.

As with White 126 from the previous blog entry, this scheme was first presented on our earlier, and now sold out, F4U-1 Corsairs Part 1 in 1/72nd and 1/48th scales. The other four schemes on this new Birdcage sheet are new to BarracudaCals. We hope you enjoy using them.

Happy modelling!  Roy

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