Revell's Crusader is typical of their aircraft kits of the mid-fifties. There are 38 parts molded in a hard medium gray plastic, one being for the stand mounting ball designed for the famous Revell swiveling stand, and two clear parts for the canopy and windscreen. This example from the "Famous Aircraft Series" is the second release which is much less desirable to collectors than the first "S" series kit originally released in 1956.
The kit has an option for folded wings but the wingfold is crude in the extreme and there are no provisions for dropping the flaps or slats, or displaying the wing in the raised position common on the ground. The landing gear can be omitted and the doors cemented in the closed position but this isn't mentioned in the instructions. This isn't too surprising since there's no stand of any sort included.
The parts feature finely raised panel line and rivet details but unfortunately include outlines showing the proper location of the national insignia decals (did anyone else use these as guides to paint them on?), while the control surfaces, flaps, and slats are represented by lightly recessed scribing. My kit has a lot of flash on the parts bad sink marks on the main wings near the wingfold but I don't know if earlier issue kits had these problems. As should be expected from kits of this era there isn't much detail and what little is there is heavy and crude.
There is some ribbing in the main gear wells but the nose gear well is almost nonexistent while the landing gear struts are much too thick, the main struts featuring large round knobs on their ends to trap the inaccurate snap-on wheels.
Cockpit detail consists of a fairly well-sculpted pilot figure molded into a nondescript ejection seat which is designed to be trapped between two pins on the insides of the fuselage halves. That's it folks - no instrument panel, no consoles, and no floor. Zero, zip, nada, zilch.
To their credit the Revell designers blanked off the intake and exhaust areas to prevent the dreaded see-through look. The price for this is a much too shallow intake devoid of proper trunking and a very basic exhaust that is blocked off almost all the way to the outer end.
The plus side of this kit was that it was at least close to 1/72 scale; it's 1/67 even though Revell claims it to be 1/66 (and misprinted it on the instructions as 1/16!). It's only competition in the old days was the absolutely horrid Fujimi kit in 1/70 scale but Revell's is much more accurate, such as it is. At least it looks like a Crusader when finished, and could be corrected with a little work. Both kits were eventually superseded by Hasegawa's release, and later by the very accurate Heller kit, but for many years the Revell model was the only way short of scratchbuilding to get a Crusader in something close to 1/72 scale.
Decals are included for a prototype aircraft and sadly, like the stand itself, the stand decal was omitted in this release. The sheet in my kit is still in good condition other than some slight yellowing and could probably still be used after a few days of bleaching in sunlight.
All-in-all a decent kit for its time but now of little value to other than nostalgia buffs and collectors.
Here's hoping all of you find some great plastic goodies under the tree. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and I'll catch you again in 2001! Till then, "Build what YOU like, the way YOU want to, and the critics will flame you every time."