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F4U Corsair

3 DVD Collector's Edition



Aircraft Films


S u m m a r y

Title, Description & Publisher F4U Corsair. Produced by Aircraft Films
Media and Contents: 3 disc DVD set
Price: USD$39.99 from Aircraft Films' website
Review Type: FirstRead
Advantages: High quality documentary content and production; colour footage included; helpful and interesting narration; logical structure; useful images and other video material
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

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Reviewed by Jim Kiker


The latest DVD from Aircraft Films is on the F4U Corsair, and I found it to be the best yet from this company.

This set is made up of approximately six hours of film footage and still pictures spread over a three-disc set. The material on this DVD was gathered and researched from film and pictures from the U.S. National Archives as well as the Vought Archives.

As usual, the set contains a very good documentary on the Corsairís development and history. This section includes extensive material that portrays the Corsairís early teething problems, itís celebrated use and development as a ground attack aircraft, the maturation of the type into one of the premier fighters of WWII, and the later use of the type in the Korean War. There is also a section on the employment of the Corsair in the British fleet, and itís use as a racer in the post-WWII era. As with previous releases, there are a number of interesting commentaries by former Corsair pilots, which greatly enhance the telling of the Corsairís story. Much of the film footage, particularly from the WWII period, is in color. The rest of the DVD set is made up of a treasure trove of Corsair pictures and film from a variety of operational units and settings. The entire set has been processed into modern digital format, and much of it is extremely sharp and clean.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images: 

Providing a quick overview of what is in this set is really only the top of the mountain of wonderful material it contains. Here are a few samples of digital images from the DVD; all of these come from films, not still pictures.

I found it quite illuminating to watch the films of the early F4U-1 Birdcage Corsairs landing and contrast that with later footage of the F4U-4ís. At right is a picture of the first F4U landing aboard a carrier. I had read about the Corsairís tendency to bounce during landing early in itís career, and how they improved the landing gear for better handling. But itís one thing to read about it, and quite another to actually see those early birds landing. These Corsairs really were bouncing all over the place. In contrast is the footage of later F4U-4ís landing. They just plant themselves onto the deck; itís like watching a gymnast execute a vault and just sticking the landing. The contrast was just amazing.

As you might expect from watching the previous Aircraft Films DVD on the Wildcat, there are a number of color film sequences in the documentary and in the archive extras footage. For example, I donít think Iíve ever seen color film of Birdcage corsairs, but itís here, such as the frame on the left below of a VF-17 at Guadalcanal. And not to forget the Marine aircraft, how about color footage of VMF-351? Check out the yellow ID numbers on this one!



The section on Corsairs serving with the British fleet was, for me, the best of the lot. I was absolutely amazed when I watched this section, both in the main documentary and in the extended additional footage. Think youíve seen all there is to see on how these aircraft were marked in the latter part of 1944? How would large upper wing roundels in blue, red, and white grab you, or variously sized and painted lower wing roundels? Iíve never seen these markings variations myself, but itís in there. And not just one or two airplanes, the whole unit was painted this way. Talk about your non-standard markings!

Do you like the images Iíve shown here? Well believe me, they are just a few samples. Not the few high points, but more like a typical selection of the imagery in this DVD. Still want more? OK, how about a Corsair flown by a Vought executive in a very fetching civilian scheme, with commentary and a complete description of the airframeís history?

Whether you are a die-hard Corsair fan, a modeler looking for more information, or an armchair historian, you will really enjoy this DVD set. I highly recommend it!

And as a quick P.S., their new DVD set on the WWII-vintage movie ďMemphis BelleĒ is also first rate!

Highly Recommended.

Visit Aircraft Films on the web at http://www.aircraftfilms.com
or call toll free (in the U.S.) 866-383-3006

Review Text Copyright © 2004 by Jim Kiker
This Page Created on 10 November, 2004
Last updated 10 November, 2004

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