The aircraft and the model
When reading Col. William Rankinís book "The Man Who Rode The Thunder", I saw a picture of the aircraft that he was flying: the beautiful racer from Vought, the F8U-1. Later, I saw the F-8 in airshows and discover the impressive performer it could be in skilled hands. Since, the Crusader is one of my favourite aircraft.
The model represents an aircraft from VMF-122, the unit of Col. William Rankin. A picture of the actual aircraft can be found in page 9 of Steve Ginterís book devoted to Marine fighter squadrons (Part 3 of the series).
- Naval Fighters 18, Voughtís F-8 Crusader
Part 3, Marine Fighter Squadrons, and Part 4, Navy Fighter Squadrons, by Steve Ginter
- F-8 & RF-8 Crusader, Detail & Scale vol.8, by Bert Kinzey and Rock Roszak
Building the model
The F8U-1 is not available in 1/72 scale. So, you have to backdate a F-8E to build a F8U-1. As the shape of the Hasegawa F-8 is close to that of an early F-8, I opted to start from that model. Then I have added the airbrake case and front wheel strut from a Heller model.
The conversion consists in cutting the top fuselage fairing, let the fins and engine scoops aside, and reshape the nose in the pointed shape of a F8U-1. As they are raised, the panel lines must be completely re-scribed. This job is worth the effort as you obtain very fine lines. The Hasegawa front wheel is in the spoked version of the F8U-1.
The cockpit is detailed with AIRES 7110 "Crusader cockpit set" and the ejection seat comes from AIRES 7147 "A-7E early version cockpit set. It is easy to make a Vought ejection for the F8U-1 from the very similar A-7 Voughtís ejection seat.
There is no decal sheet available for an F8U-1 from VMF 122 "Crusaders". So, I had to make my own decals, for the first time. Duplicate all items is a good idea as the home-made decals are very fragile. To scale the decal sheet (picture 3), please use the black quarter on the right which must be 10 mm x 10 mm when printed for 1/72. Paints are Prince August Air 01(White) and 121 (light grey).
I enjoy my daily visit to ARC, looking for new exotic or historical models. Thank you, Steve, for editing this magazine.
Photos and text © by Daniel Truong