The F4U Corsair: the US Navy’s Korean War workhorse


Lately I’ve been on a bit of a building spree. The Cold War collaboration for BrickFair Virginia, for which I have already built the SS-20 Saber and Gryphon GLCM transporter erector launchers, has given me lots of ideas and motivation. So far I have focussed on Cold War doomsday weapons that never saw use in anger. The actual armed conflicts that took place during the Cold War, although certainly brutal, fortunately were fought using conventional weapons. One of these was the Korean War.

In 1950, when Communist North Korea invaded South Korea, the US and a number of allies came to South Korea’s aid. At the time, the first jet aircraft were already in service. However, propeller-driven aircraft still had a role to play. Most US Navy aircraft carriers still had several squadrons of Vought F4U Corsairs on board.

This WW2 design may have seemed like an anachronism, but the veteran warbird could carry more weapons and spend more time overhead than faster jet fighters. They were the workhorse of US Naval aviation.

Fighting stopped with the signing of an armistice in 1953, with both countries left in ruins and the border fixed in more-or-less the same place it was before the war started. But the conflict still lingers more than sixty years later with no formal peace treaty in place. Judging from the summit meeting between US President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un a few days ago which failed to make progress, this situation seems likely to last a while longer.
The US Navy retired its last war-weary Corsairs around the time of the armistice. At The Brothers Brick we like Corsairs and we’ve written about several . This includes one of my own , which I built in early 2010, long before I joined the team. You may wonder how this one is new and different. It is certainly not the largest or the prettiest Corsair model out there.

Like my old model, the new one is properly minifig scale. It doesn’t dwarf any figures standing next to it, but it has space inside for a pilot. It also has a working sliding canopy. In terms of LEGO-building, nine years is a rather long time, though. Thanks to new parts I was now able to build it completely in dark blue. I have created the distinctive upward slope of the outer wing panels (the proper aeronautical term is dihedral) by sloping the wing panel, rather than by building it using stepped plates. I also added typical Korean-War armament (rockets and bombs under the wings) and built a snazzy new aircraft tractor for the diorama. The model is largely studless to fit with the style of the rest of the builds for the collaboration. The overall shape is similar, but this is basically a completely new build.
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