Funny thing seeing this thread!
I just finished building a 1/144 scale F4U-1 Corsair by some company called AHM. The kit looked like it may have been from the 1960s?
It came with the "Birdcage" canopy, and it was fairly crude. But what the heck, I won it on E-Bay very unexpectadly for only $10.00 + $4.00 shipping. Seeing as the Corsairs are so hard to come by, and they usually get very expensive (I was soon to discover) on E-Bay, I thought even if it was a poor quality kit, for $14.00 total I'd give it a shot.
To get a pair for play with WoW, I started looking on E-Bay, but the Corsairs usually only come up on the auction side, and that gets pricey. On the "buy it now" side, I think this one is still on there, but the asking price is $110.00!!! The auction prices were going at around $40.00 plus shipping, and I finally won one for $36.50 + $3.00 shipping...ouch.
Anyway, the one I won for $40.00 was by Bandia, and it was a pre-built and pre-painted kit. Super nice too.
So I finally got around to building the AHM kit. I was a little saddened to find that it was fairly crude, but I wasn't entirely put off by it once I got it finished. To me, it was worth the $14.00 bucks, that plus I like building them anyway. I most likely will keep an eye on E-Bay though, and get another Bandai Corsair eventually, but for now, I've got a pair to hunting Zekes with!
It's pretty hard to beat the quality of the newer pre-painted kits, they just have superb detail & painting. Sweet & Platz are about the only two build them yourself kits that you can count on the same type of quality. But in this scale, it is real easy to make errors in building and painting them ( a glue smudge here, a little clouding of the canopy from super glue, loosing the tiny parts and so on). Minicraft has some good kits, I've discovered, but some of those require a lot of extra effort, and they seem to have issues with the canopies. Sometimes the canopies are completely missing from the kit (not a good thing), and sometimes the canopies are not very clear, but rather clouded, like what you get if you're not careful with your super glue (which I am guilty of from time to time)!
Even though I enjoy building them, I'll take the pre-painted, pre or semi assembled ones just about every time, given the option. Sometimes availability, sometimes price get in the way though. I'm suprised I haven't seen the Japanese Tony's that are going to be included in the next box set; come out by one of these pre-painted companies. I have two, waiting for the modeling table, by Minicraft. Same with the British Tempest. So sometimes you have to go "old school" to get some of the planes you want!
I was pleasantly surprised that the decales were in fairly decent shape. I replaced the 4 national ensignias, and added the "victory" decale, but the rest were original! A friend of mine told me that on the early Corsairs, they had some trouble with engine oil leaking out the top of the fusalage, and getting on the canopy!! So they used some kind of white tape to cover the seams where the oil was leaking out. The AHM kit was so crude, that I decided to add on this "white tape" effect (I'd seen it before, but never knew what it actually was) to help the final appearance of the kit. I painted in, following the kits details for panel lines, so I have no idea if how I painted this "tape effect" is even in the remotest way close to what it should have been!
I guess I figured it would be close enough for wargaming! I know, I'm a lazy modeler!! I'm sure I could have stopped and looked up some photos, but it is what it is. It ain't like the kit is going into a contest! I'm just your Average Joe modeler anyway.
I've got a wargaming friend who digs the Corsair, and really liked the old series with Robert Conrad, "Baa-Baa Blacksheep", or "Blacksheep Squadron" depending on whether or not you remember the original title, or read the book. But I can hear him now when we play...
"Ahhh, Boy-ing-ton! I've got you now!"
Oh well, enough of my mindless ranting!