Academy 1/72 F-8P Crusader
The Chance Vought Crusader. It looks lean and mean no matter who's flying
it. As the last Navy gunfighter in the 1960s, it earned quite a reputation
during Vietnam, and understandably quite a following afterwards. In fact,
searching Google on F-8 versus F-4, the results are close (17.4 million
hits versus 28.7 million hits; for a complete waste of time, visit Google
Fight. Don't say I didn't warn you!), truly remarkable considering
that just over 1200 Crusaders were built, compared to well over 5000 Phantoms.
The F-8 had a long ride in service, too, from its first flight in 1955
to the last flight by a French Naval Crusader in 1999.
This marks the second release of the beautiful Academy F-8 Crusader
kit. It has proven quite popular in the pages of Internet Modeler, too,
with two build articles since its release in 2004. Much of the plastic
is the same, so I will refer you to the original inbox
review for much of the initial examination of the parts. What is different
is that this kit represents the later F-8J/F-8P version, which most noticeably
means larger stabilizers. This kit provides those. In fact, aside from
of the sprue of bombs found on the earlier release, this is the only other
major change. On the wing sprue, the small stab section is gone, and a
new large stab section, with new vertical tail components, has been added.
For those who are interested in how this kit goes together (to summarize,
quite nicely), be sure to read Norm
Filer's build up on the original release. Norm also went the extra
step and converted this kit into an early
F-8, a simple conversion that most modelers could do.
Of course, one area where this kit is very different from the original
release is with the decals. This kit is listed as a "French Navy
Special" release, and that means that the kit comes with lots of
interesting French options. Four examples are presented here, ranging
from 1981 to 1999. Beginning with the 1981 example, this plane is an F-8E(FN)
finished in overall gray. The markings are simple, consisting of a number
8 on the forward fuselage and upper starboard wing in black. This scheme
would be perfect to highlight the graceful lines of the Crusader, as there
is not lots of distracting markings.
The next two are from the 1990s, from when the French Navy changed their
camouflage scheme to one of overall medium blue. The first one of these,
dating from 1994, is a special scheme aircraft celebrating the 50th anniversary
of D-Day. To celebrate properly, this meant painting invasion stripes
on the plane, so the rear fuselage and the wings have wraparound invasion
stripes. All of the other markings are standard low-vis French markings,
with small roundels and gray numbers. The next blue F-8 is from 1999 and
represents the last cruise of 12.F Squadron. This plane features an aggressive
sharkmouth (boy, this plane really lends itself to sharkmouths!) and large
representations of the unit badges on the vertical fin.
final example goes far beyond the previous two in terms of special markings.
This plane, also from 12.F Squadron, was painted up specially for the
final flight. It is painted silver overall, with a large red arrow down
the fuselage sides. On the top of the wing is the squadron emblem consisting
of a blunderbuss-armed sailor duck. Just look at the boxtop and you will
see that his is definitely a plane that would not go unnoticed! The decals
are beautifully printed and whichever option you choose, there should
be no problems in application.
The Academy F-8 kit is simply beautiful. With this release we now have
the option of building a late model Crusader, either a French example
or even a late USN or USMC example. Hopefully this will result in some
new and exciting aftermarket decals for this plane, as there are plenty
of great schemes out there. My thanks to MRC
for the review sample.