by: Andy Brazier [ ]
Originally published on:
History The Vought F-8 Crusader (originally F8U) was a single-engine, supersonic, carrier-based air superiority jet aircraft built by Vought for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, replacing the Vought F7U Cutlass, and for the French Navy. The first F-8 prototype was ready for flight in February 1955. The F-8 served principally in the Vietnam War. The Crusader was the last American fighter with guns as the primary weapon, earning it the title "The Last of the Gunfighters".
The Crusader was not an easy aircraft to fly, and was often unforgiving in carrier landings, where it suffered from poor recovery from high sink rates, and the poorly designed, castoring nose undercarriage made it hard to steer on the deck. Safe landings required the carriers to steam at full speed to lower the relative landing speed for Crusader pilots. The stacks of the oil-burning carriers on which the Crusader served belched thick black smoke, sometimes obscuring the flight deck, forcing the Crusader's pilot to rely on the landing signal officer's radioed instructions. It earned a reputation as an "ensign eliminator" during its early service introduction. The nozzle and air intake were so low when the aircraft was on the ground or the flight deck that the crews called the aircraft "the Gator". Not surprisingly, the Crusader's mishap rate was relatively high compared to its contemporaries, the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk and the F-4 Phantom II. However, the aircraft did possess some amazing capabilities, as proved when several Crusader pilots took off with the wings folded. One of these episodes took place on 23 August 1960; a Crusader with the wings folded took off from Napoli Capodichino in full afterburner, climbed to 5,000 ft (1,500 m) and then returned to land successfully. The pilot, absentminded but evidently a good "stick man," complained that the control forces were higher than normal. The Crusader was capable of flying in this state, though the pilot would be required to reduce aircraft weight by ejecting stores and fuel before landing.
In all, 1,261 Crusaders were built. By the time it was withdrawn from the fleet, 1,106 had been involved in mishaps. Only a handful of them were lost to enemy fire in Vietnam.
The RF-8 Crusader was a photo-reconnaissance development and operated longer in U.S. service than any of the fighter versions. RF-8s played a crucial role in the Cuban Missile Crisis, providing essential low-level photographs impossible to acquire by other means. U.S. Naval Reserve units continued to operate the RF-8 until 1987.
Info from Wikipedia
In the box Eduard’s Limited Edition Crusader comes packed in a large top opening box with a colourful Crusader adorning the box top.
The Hasegawa based kit comes with seven sprues of light grey plastic, one clear sprue, three sets of poly caps, one pre-painted photo etch sheet, one plain photo etch sheet, one small clear film, and 8 resin parts. Also included is a large instruction sheet, a correction sheet for the painting and decaling guide, and a large set of decals.
Exterior detail is pretty good with some nice engraved panel lines and a mix of raised and recessed areas for the various lumps and bumps found over the airframe.
The control surfaces are separate, but are fitted in the neutral position according to the instructions.
The top wing pivots upwards for take off and landing and the kit has an insert to lift the wing, if you so desire. Detail is supplied for underneath the wing for the fuselage, with a ribbed section to represent the engine.
The Poly caps are designed for the main wing, and fit into the top of the fuselage and also for the tail planes.
The main wing navigation lights are moulded as solid plastic but clear parts are supplied if you feel the need to remove and replace them.
The interior is where Eduard excel, and the cockpit of the Crusader benefits from Eduard’s help.
The instrument panel is made up of 2 piece colour etch with the kits plastic panel providing the backing. The side consoles also get the coloured P.E to replace the moulded on detail.
The cockpit sidewalls have a couple of P.E parts to fit, and the pièce de résistance is the inclusion of a three piece resin seat.
The detail for the seat is sublime with pipework and the various lumps and bumps well reproduced. The inclusion of a multipart seat harness and the black and yellow ejection handle for the top of the seat, really setting it off (no pun intended lol).
One nice little bonus is the inclusion of a pilot figure, but its doubtful it will fit onto the resin seat, so if you wish to include him, the plastic offering will need to be used.
One cause for concern is the two piece internal air intake. This is split down the middle of the intake and could cause some issue if you need to fill and sand the seam.
The other end has a two piece afterburner, with the exhaust tube being moulded as one part and the afterburner ring as a separate part. Detail is passable but Eduard do produce a resin replacement in their Brassin range, should you wish to replace this part of the aircraft.
The undercarriage bays do have a bit of detail moulded onto them, and with the help of painting and washes, should really pop the detail out.
The undercarriage legs are made up of several parts each and sport adequate detail. The Hasegawa plastic wheels are replaced with a stunning set of Brassin offerings which have separate brake drums.
External weapons supplied with the kit are a set of Zuni rockets, which fit onto the side of the fuselage. Pylons are supplied for the wings but no weapons are included with the kit.
Although the kit features a two piece canopy the base kit only has it as modeled closed. Eduard have seen this and with a few adjustments, notably thinning the rear canopy down at the hinge end, it can be modeled open.
The canopy itself is clear and well moulded.
Instructions and decals The instructions are printed in a glossy A4 size booklet.
The first page has the parts tree, and any parts not used are highlighted in blue.
The build sequence takes place over seven pages, and is relatively easy to follow. Any resin parts that need to be added are clearly marked with the Brassin symbol, and any Photo Etch parts that are added start with a PE letter then a number.
Parts that that need any detail removed are clearly marked in red with blue areas highlighting the contact areas for the glue for the resin and PE parts.
A set of masks are supplied for the canopies and tires, and a mask guide is printed along the way of the build.
Internal colours are given for the Aqueous and Mr Color paints.
A second booklet is supplied which has a correction sheet for the marking options.
The most obvious changes is the underside white portions which on the instruction booklet are only shown for the underside and not continuing round too the sides, and the nose cones are now highlighted in white rather then black.
The control surfaces also sport the white areas.
The large decal sheet is designed by Furball and printed by Cartograph, so no issues should arise with them.
The decal sheet not only has the unit markings and national insignia, but also the stencils for the airframe.
All the colours look pretty good, and the decals have a glossy look to them, with minimal carrier film.
Five marking options are supplied, which are -
Marking A - Vought F-8 Crusader
BuNo. 149190, VMF(AW)-235, "Death Angel´s“, Da Nang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, 1968
Marking B - Vought F-8 Crusader
BuNo. 150909, VF-194 "Red Lightnings“, USS Ticonderoga, 1966
Marking C - Vought F-8 Crusader
BuNo. 149159, VF-162 "The Hunters“, USS Oriskany, September 1966
Marking D - Vought F-8 Crusader
BuNo. 149150, VF-211 "Fighting Checkmates“, NAS Miramar, August 1967
Marking E - Vought F-8 Crusader
BuNo. 150326, VF-191 "Satan´s Kittens“, USS Ticonderoga, 1967
All the aircraft are in the Light Gull Grey over White scheme, but do have some colourful markings for the nose and tail.
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