F-8E Crusader Landing Gear (Academy)
This set includes seven replacement pieces for the landing gear on Academy’s F-8 Crusader. There are three parts for the nose gear including the retraction brace and the main strut and two parts for each of the main gear. The parts are designed to be drop-in replacements for the kit parts.
The first step is to remove the casting seams of each of the parts. I use a small wire brush in my portable Dremel tool at low speed, to polish up the parts and remove these seams. I prefer to do the cleanup before I detach the smaller parts from the casting tree as it is much easier to handle them while they are still on the tree, plus they are much less likely to bend or go flying when they are still attached.
After cleaning up the parts, I decided to start with the nose gear strut. Academy’s kit includes a nice representation of the long intake trunking present on the Crusader, and as the nose gear bay is molded as part of the bottom half of the trunking, the first thing to do was to assemble the intake trunking. I painted the very back inch or so of the interior of both the top and bottom trunking parts flat black, as this makes it appear the intake keeps going. The rest of the intake trunks and the nose gear bay were painted flat white. The nose gear strut has the retraction arm molded as part of the strut which makes for easier construction; however the strut is thin enough that it is subject to bending, if you are not careful. The strut on my nose gear leg was bent up slightly, so that it did not seat in the cut-out provided in the roof of the gear well. Fortunately, as the gear is white metal it was easily straightened and the addition of the triangular brace to the front of the strut really solidifies and straightens the retraction strut and ensures an accurate fit. Once I was satisfied with the fit, the completed nose strut was super glued into place. I left off the right side piece of the strut as you are supposed to sandwich the nose wheel in between the two parts, and I wanted to wait until the model was painted before adding the nose wheel.
There are two parts to each main landing gear, the main strut and the retraction/extension arm. In comparing the main gear legs with the kit items, it looked like one of the main gear struts had been slightly pinched together the angle between the two legs looked smaller than on the other strut. Again as the struts are white metal and the attachment point where the two parts of the main gear strut come together is fairly small, it was easy to adjust the angle on when the gear leg was offered up to the kit gear bay. As shown in the pictures I elected to test fit and adjust the fit of the main gear legs and the central gear bay as it allowed me to adjust the size of the holes where the gear attaches (I slightly enlarged them until there was a nice solid join) and to adjust the angle of the struts as discussed above. Once I was satisfied with the fit and things looked nice and squared up, I superglued both main struts to the central gear bay and let them setup.
In the past I have had some issues with the thinner parts of these sets being easily deformed as thin white metal is easily bent or displace and as the main gear retraction/extension struts are pretty thin, I may end up sticking with the kit parts, which are not as strong, but less prone to bending during construction.
This set is another nice set from SAC and helps improve the look of the airplane. Highly recommended.
Thank you to Scale Aircraft Conversions for the sample and to IPMS-USA for letting me review it.