Victory Productions 1/32 Marine F-8E Crusaders
Trumpeter's impressive 1/32 Crusader was a model many had been wishing for, and now that it is here, it is no surprise that aftermarket decals are coming forth. For those interested in the Crusaders of the Marine Corps, this newest sheet from Victory Productions will handle that desire, with no less than five options provided on this large decal sheet. All of these F-8s are colorful in their own way, and that, coupled with the wide range of weathering opportunities presented with Marine Crusaders, will provide the modeler with a unique Crusader for their shelves.
The first option provided is BuNo 150925 from VMF(AW)-212. Flying from the USS Oriskany in 1965 as part of CVW-16, this Crusader operated out of the Tonkin Gulf before returning to Hawaii. The squadron markings consist of blue bands on the vertical tail and wing tips, with a white cross on the tail band and white dots on the wing bands. The ventral fins are also blue, with the VMF(AW)212 lance and shield in white. The decals provide the blue bands for the tail and wings, but the modeler will have to paint the ventral fins FS15102 themselves. A pineapple marking is provided for the rudder, which was applied sometime during this cruise.
The second option is BuNo 150317 from VMF(AW)-312. Based at Da Nang with MAG-11 in 1965, these Crusaders had one of the most striking schemes applied. Black and white checks fill a chevron on the tail, while red, yellow, and black trim is on the tail and ventral fins. For this particular Crusader, the space between the intake warning chevron was also filled with black and white checks.
VMF(AW)-232 is the next option, and following suit, they took over the Crusaders of VMF(AW)-235 at Da Nang in 1967. The markings for BuNo 149212 from VMF(AW)-232 are much more sedate compared to the previous two schemes, consisting solely of the Red Devil emblem on the vertical fin. Even the tail codes are bland, a simple vertical WT as opposed to the swept styles found on the earlier squadrons.
The final option on the sheet is BuNo 150852 from VMF(AW)-333. Unlike the previous four options, this unit did not deploy to Vietnam, at least not with their Crusaders (they did deploy after transitioning to Phantoms, and in fact it was a Shamrock F-4 that scored the only air-to-air victory for an all-Marine crew in 1972). Based at MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina with MAG-32, this Crusader has a white tail band trimmed in green, with three green shamrocks. While not a combat unit, this is still one of the more attractive Crusader schemes out there.
The decal sheets are large (two 8.5x11 sheets) and provide a lot of extra markings for each option, including rescue arrows, ejector seat triangles, intake warnings, and a full set of national insignia. The decal quality is absolutely superb, with dense color and excellent registration. If you have been holding off on your 1/32 Crusader in anticipation for some good quality aftermarket decals, wait no more, this is the sheet you want.
My thanks to Victory Productions for the review sample.