Extreme appreciation to Eduard for their having once again provided a sample copy of a long-awaited product, the F-8E Crusader, and the usual wave of thanks to the IPMS USA leadership for ensuring I received it!
Behind the box art with a Marine F-8E with a sword and shield in the background, sits Hasegawa’s fast-selling 1/48 kit, with a perfect Cartograph decal sheet of six different markings, along with a resin ejection seat, and wheel set and masks to replace the kit items. Also included are the now-standard color and plain brass PE, a canopy mask set, and an excellent instruction sheet.
Eduard has worked hard to become an industry leader. I believe they are, and probably will keep that title. Case in point. The instructions have a mistake: none of the aircraft profiles had the while belly or rudder; just overall gull gray. It looks good, sure, but was incorrect for the time period. Eduard as a company noted this, and as usual refers complaints to the PDF file on their excellent website, where you can open, review, and download/print the instructions. THAT’S A WORLD LEADING MODEL COMPANY AT WORK! Excellent job Eduard and crew.
The hardest part for you will be deciding which of the five markings on the kit to build. In my case the Marine version was appropriate, as the kit includes four twin-pod Zuni rocket launchers, along with pylons for mounting either them or sidewinders on the included rails. Also included are wing pylons, but no other ordinance.
Quick Crusader model history: Hasegawa’s kit is the best of the 1/48 line that I can determine. Monograms kit has a few issues with the gear extension and “sit” of the model, but otherwise is a fine example if you don’t want the wing extended into launch/recovery position. ESCI’s out of production kit, well, I remember fighting it in the late 1970s, when Green putty was in vogue (and necessary).
The old Aurora kit was as old as I am, late 1950’s with retractable gear (remember “gear mounting pillows” for trunnions in the instructions?) and a removable tail with engine. Great stuff to start with and best for the day. I also remember Lindberg did one, with jet sound motorization and other features. (The motor turned a gear which rubbed on a metal strip, supposedly sounding like a jet. Since my cohort and I could not get the “assemble it yourself” battery powered motor to run, it was a moot point.
Eduard continues the business model of expanding the excellent Hasegawa kits with extra parts. Hasegawa’s kit may have a few “wrong” bits to ‘sader experts, but out of the box the engraved instrument panel, along with deep, well-designed intake (that fits, too), and afterburner section with flameholder detail, along with the up or down wing incidence option, is well done.
As mentioned before, the dual Zuni launchers were an uncommon inclusion in Hasegawa kits, as usually you are steered toward their accessory weapon sets for any ordinance. These launchers are also appropriate for the Marine/Navy OV-10, and really junk up the crusader’s sleek lines for visual effect.
If you use sidewinders (AIM-9C/D, please) the kit racks provide provision for dual or single carry on each side. As noted earlier, the racks have the correct “everyone is at a different angle” mounting. The wing pylons are bare, and just beg to be loaded up with Mk 82’s, or as one picture shows, a brace of 2000 LB WWII/Korea box fin weapons. Yep, rotate the old explosive stock first!
Poly caps are the order of the day on this kit; the landing gear and wing mounts use them in sockets, as do the stabilators. I had one of the stabilator retainers pop out, so have glued the stab in place. Otherwise, they work well.
The kit went together as I remember from 1998; cockpit detail sanded off, then the whole lot painted dark gull gray. The pre-colored panels went together flawlessly and fit perfectly. While installing the cockpit and intake (which did not require any filler, just careful assembly and installation) along with the nose and main gear wells, I installed the supplied Eduard resin afterburner assembly. That’s a separate review coming shortly, along with the resin AB cooling scoops. The kit wing mount well was cemented in place, and the other fuselage half installed.
“What’s that click sound and what’s rattling around inside the cockpit?” Well, that’s the two side control panels with the throttle, etc., COMING OFF while I pushed the fuse halves together. The parts are supposed to fit AROUND the vertical cockpit formers, for which cutouts have been supplied by Eduard in the Photoetch. Be aware: the slightest misalignment in offering up the two fuselage halves will pop the panels off. Oops. I tried to reinstall them, and finally they were in place. BTW, the fit of this kit was very tight and precise, not bad for something hearkening back to 1998.
The instructions address one of the two known problems on the kit: the canopy is not designed to be opened easily without extra work. Carve off the canopy frame interior, and the edge of the mounting sockets on the fuselage, and it works. In the instructions where it advises you NOT to cement the ejection seat in place, it’s because installation of the canopy with its’ integral aft bulkhead is almost impossible to achieve unless the seat can rotate forward a bit to allow the canopy to seat behind it. Everyone give a Pumba “ohhhhh” here… I too learned the hard way like most of you do.
Side note here: Eduard’s improved etch items include panels for the cockpit sides, cockpit sill and canopy rails, bulkheads, cockpit coaming, grab handles, three mirrors, several detail items such as inspection plates for the main gear wells, the foreward wing mounting well, and front wing plate.
I was able to successfully use the majority of the details, including the throttle levers, the landing gear tiedown eyes, and a couple of the smaller antennas. The angle of attack blades are about one-millionth of an inch in length (Yes, I’m exaggerating) which meant I didn’t successfully attach them. They stuck to everything but the model.
The ejection seat took me an evening to do on its own. Primered with Duplicolor automotive acrylic enamel flat black primer, I used my now-preferred Vallejo greens and khakis to provide the base cushion and parachute pack colors. A bit of light drybrushing led to the detail being visible, and then it was time to attach all the harnesses.
Fortunately the gel superglue held firm, and I was able to do all this without too much general cussing. I love the things but they fight me. Thankfully, since they are color photoetch they look great when finally applied. A coat of flat, then it was time to move on. At this point I realized I should have taken more care on the lower fuselage seam so I had to putty my ham handed efforts.
ALSO, ‘nuther fun fact: when you use liquid solvent cement and knock the bottle over next to the model the cement will soften the kit plastic and attach it to the work bench. Along every inch the cement moves with capillary action. Every one. Every.
Dangit. Pry model from cutting board, let dry. Go away for a day so you don’t hurt any small furry animals or yourself. Breathe deep and wet sand using normal methods to clean up fouled surface. Good thing: scribing is deep and fine, so no major damage done.
Wing installation. If you decide to drop the flaps and raise the wing, the flaps interfere with the installation. There’s something about the fuselage not being perfectly flat that the flaps don’t like. I solved this by cutting off 1/16 in. or so, (mark 1 eyeball measurement) of the inboard flap next to the fuselage to allow the wing to be installed. It worked, others may have other options.
The resin wheels and tires are single part items, with separate brake puck assemblies. I tried to use the masks but did not get them burnished down enough, so I still had to do touch-up. The gloss white wheels accepted the decals readily, and I then installed them on the previously pushed in landing gear.
Painting involved overall primer white to highlight any last minute seam work, then the polished/burned metal aft fuselage areas. Mask those, then gloss white on the underside and all flying surfaces (Duplicolor Lacquer in my case). Mask off the white areas, and spray the light Gull Gray. Remove your white masking, glosscoat, then on to the decals. The clear canopy parts have a masking set, which needs to be applied before the painting begins. Easy to use, accurate, and I’m a convert. I don’t use liquid masking material, but Kabuki tape where needed.
I had decided early on to use the lone marine markings. I don’t particularly care for the red intake and stars, but it’s growing on me. I have not decided about the underwing ordinance yet. Since I’ll have to find my TER’s and the idea of the huge 2K WWII weapons is a fact but a stretch for me. Like the toilet idea, I have time on my side. The decals by Cartograf worked flawlessly with perfect definition and color saturation. The Insignia blue may be a bit too light on the stars n’ bars, but we’ll just call it minor fading. Walkways are included for several aircraft, and the decision is definitely hard. There are sufficient stencils providing one with the ability to do a full-up Single kit. Great marketing tool, that one.
As the stabilator pivots needed to be removed to fit the resin augmentor, (Separate review item) I had to cement the stabs in place. I induced a bit too much anhedral in the time the superglue dried, so as long as they are symmetrical, ‘eez good’.
Some light weathering, remove the cockpit masks, and then install the ejection seat. Install the ejection seat. Why won’t it fit?
Oh. Remember when the side panels came off and I didn’t fully seat them between bulkheads? Duh.
Four minutes of careful sanding drum and hand held vacuum skinnied up the lower unseen part of the ejection seat so it slid into place. It also sucked off the miniscule leg ejection retaining straps, which is ok for me because I didn’t notice their lack of presence after the seat slid into place. I knew they were there.
The light yellow canopy seals are included in the decal sheet. I used them but they moved after I had them installed, so be forewarned. They were not easy to attach, but firm pressing with a damp cloth fixed them in place. Careful brushing with future fixed them, wrinkles and all. Oh well. Better people than I can do it… cavemen all.
Cement on the face curtain handles (love these two-part things), install the canopy, and you can step back and admire the work.
I like Eduard, Hasegawa, and Cartograf's mutual adoration and sales technique. Best of all worlds, it keeps several companies solvent, and is a great solution to the “how far to go in detail?” crowd. AMS sufferers like me can still add more (the wing well comes to mind) and full cockpits are available for the kit verses the PE route, so I call it a ten-win.
Thanks to Eduard for taking the lead here, and again to my bosses in IPMS for trusting me to produce in a timely manner.