Armour Collection B11B215 US Navy Chance-Vought F4U Corsair Fighter - Lieutenant J.G. Ira Kepford, VF-17 "Jolly Rogers", February 1944 (1:48 Scale)
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
- British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, commenting on the British airmen in the Battle of Britain
Its gull-wing shape made it instantly recognizable. Its characteristic sound while in an attack dive led the Japanese to call it "The Whistling Death." Combined with its high speed, agility and toughness, the Vought F4U Corsair was one of the finest fighters ever built. Originally thought to be too powerful to fly from a carrier, the Corsair weaved a path of destruction in battle after battle during WWII, totally outclassing the much-feared Zero. The last of the great piston-engine fighters, the Corsair went on to become an important component of the US naval air power during the Korean War. Even while it was being replaced by jet aircraft, pilots flying this tough warbird were credited with downing a few MiG-15 jet fighters.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of a Corsair assigned to the US Navy's VF-17 squadron, and flown by Lieutenant J.G. Ira Kepford. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 10 inches
Length: 8.25 inches
Historical Account: "Zekes" - In the Battle of the Solomon Sea, Ira Kepford pressed through blistering AAA fire from the Bunker Hill to down four enemy aircraft and damage a fifth, for which he was awarded the Navy Cross. On January 29th, Kepford led his wingman in an attack on 12 Japanese fighters over Rabaul; he scored four kills, and was awarded a Gold Star, for this action.
While returning to base on Febuary 19th, 1944, Kepford spotted a low Japanese seaplane. Although he was alone (his wingman was forced to abort earlier, and Kepford was retained to cover bombers on-route to Rabaul), Kepford dived down and flamed the plane. He was then attacked by a flight of three Zekes, which dived onto him with a massive altitude advantage. Kepford took full advantage of the newly-installed water injection WEP to stretch out the chase, but the Zekes' energy advantage allowed them to slowly narrow the gap. As the lead Zeke opened fire, Kepford decided to "go for broke." He dropped his flaps and landing gear and nosed down until he was skimming the waves; as the Zeke roared over him, he pulled his Hog's nose up and opened fire. The Zeke's stabilizer crumpled under the snapshot, and the plane crashed into the waves. As Kepford pulled in his gear and flaps, the remaining two Zekes bracketed him . . . he was facing 2-to-1 odds, low and slow, and he was heading back in the direction of Rabaul. Kepford ran his throttle as far open as possible, and after gaining some speed he cut across the path of the port Zeke. The Japanese plane dropped to wavetop level, opened fire, and sharply turned to fall onto his six . . . at which point the Zeke's left wing caught a wave top, and the plane cartwheeled across the ocean surface, disintegrated, and sank. The third Zeke was left behind as Kepford dashed for home, landing on fumes in his fuel tank.