Tuesday, September 12

Build Guide: Gary super details the 48th scale Vought F-8E Crusader 'Limited Edition'

Gary has already done a great deal of work on his "Limited Edition" boxing of Eduard's F-8E Crusader in48th scale - he has big plans for this kit, so big that he is actually building another Hasegawa boxing at the same time! In his article, you can see them come to fruition step by step as he takes us through his build in great details. Get ready to get informed with his excellent build...

Build Guide: Vought F-8E Crusader 'Limited Edition'
From: Eduard Model Accessories
Kit No# ED11110
1:48th Scale
Hasegawa kit with Added goodies from Eduard in resin, Masks & Photo Etch
Decal Sheet with five options from Furball Aero.
Price: $89 on the Eduard Website
Product Link
Price:¥6,400/ $59.11 USD/ €52.78 from HLJ

In-Boxed: 48th scale Vought F-8E Crusader 'Limited Edition'
Today - Build Guide: 48th scale Vought F-8E Crusader 'Limited Edition'
The Vought F-8 Crusader was a single-engine, supersonic, carrier-based air superiority jet aircraft built by Vought for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, replacing the Vought F7U Cutlass, and for the French Navy. The first F-8 prototype was ready for flight in February 1955. The F-8 served principally in the Vietnam War. The Crusader was the last American fighter with guns as the primary weapon, earning it the title "The Last of the Gunfighters".

For my build of the Eduard F-8E 'Limited Edition' kit, I decided to use the provided Furball markings for Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 235 (VMFA-235) 'Death Angels' during the Vietnam War. I was inspired by the picture below of a very grubby VMFA-235 F-8E with a full bomb load and the pilot prepping for a mission. I like that the wing is in the up position and the flaps and slats are fully deployed.
Fixed Wing Marine Fighter (All Weather) Squadron VMF(AW)-235 deployed to Vietnam on February 1, 1966, flying the F-8E Crusader. VMF(AW)-235 had pilots in the air flying their first combat sortie less than 24 hours after arriving and had flown 603 sorties by the end of the first month. The squadron's working components smoothed out by March and the pilots established a new monthly operational record of 806 sorties and 1,027.8 flight hours.

Keeping busy, the Angels flew 696 sorties in April, 663 in May and 678 in June. On 10 June the squadron set a new record of 41 sorties in a 24-hour period. The only land-based F8E Crusader-equipped squadron in Vietnam in 1966, the squadron hammered the North Vietnamese heavily, flying over 6,000 sorties and encompassing over 7,000 flying hours in support of 22 special operations.

On 15 November 1966, the Angels departed Danang for MCAS Iwakuni (Japan), arriving 17 November, where it joined MAG-15 and the 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade. They returned to Vietnam on February 15, 1967, this time for over a year until May 11, 1968. They were the last active duty Crusader squadron and upon leaving Vietnam the squadron moved to Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay. On September 6, 1968, they were redesignated Fixed Wing Marine Fighter Attack Squadron VMFA-235 and equipped with the F-4 Phantom.
GENERAL THOUGHTS - Eduard's 1:48 F-8E Crusader 'Limited Edition' (ED11110)
Going into this build I had some knowledge of the issues with the Hasegawa kit upon which the Eduard boxing was based. I had never actually gotten around to building any of my Hasegawa kits but had accumulated a substantial collection of PE and resin accessories to address many of the kits shortcomings. Given that this was a review build of the specific Eduard boxing I wanted to try and minimise the use of other add-ons but figured that it would be ok to utilise any of the Eduard extras that were available but just not included in this particular boxing. I previously did an in-depth box review of the Eduard F-8E release if you are looking for more details on what is in the box.

To that end I purchased the following 'extras' to use in my build:
Eduard Brassin Crusader Exhaust Nozzle 1/48 Cat.No 648302
Eduard Brassin Crusader Air Intakes 1/48 Cat.No. 648301
Eduard Brassin Mk.82 bombs 1/48 Cat.No. 648093
Eduard Brassin MER (Multiple Ejector Racks) 1/48 Cat.No. 648227
Aerobonus US Navy fighter pilot with ejection seat for F-8E/H/J/K Crusader 1/48 Cat.No. 480075

I resisted the urge to purchase any additional photo-etch sets because this kit came with a couple of small frets which covered off the cockpit (pre-painted) and some external panelling. It's too easy these days to go overboard and purchase everything that's out there for a kit, "just because".

There are also several small corrections that you can make to the Hasegawa kit which does not really require any aftermarket. I uncovered many of these by digging through old forum posts, which turned out to be well worth the effort. By far the best post I found was on ARC where a former F-8 pilot (Superheat) provided much insight. I have taken the liberty of summarising the main points he raised here and in general these corrections could be grouped into one of three categories as follows:

Hasegawa F-8 (Any Variant) Corrections
-There is a hump on the upper wing at the wing fold which should not be there (the underside is correct)
-The rectangular bleed air exhaust heat shield on the right side is not correctly rendered, it is not a flat plank applied to the side, but curves down to meet the fuselage and the panel is applied over the fuselage, not butt-joined
-The radar screen is incorrectly angled for a production F-8. Production aircraft had a conventionally mounted screen, ie parallel to the instrument panel.
-The panels on either side of the nose with the cooling vents do not stand proud of the fuselage as in the kit.
-The AB nozzle should not stick out past the lip of the tailcone as it does in the kit.
-The catapult keel pin and its recess between the speed brakes are missing.

Hasegawa F-8E Corrections
Cut off the nose gear cable deflector horns
Remove the BLC (Boundary Layer Control) ducts on the ailerons, but leave a bit of a notch in the leading edge as these are also the hinge points
The kit seat is not great but is a reasonable start toward an accurate F5 seat, correct for the E
-The early E's did not have the "Bullpup" fairing on the upper wing/fuselage and also did not have any ECM antenna on the tail

-Hasegawa F-8J Corrections
-Trim off the centre flange on the main gear struts
-Cut out the straight centre section of the rectangular arrestor hook shank and replace it with round stock and fair it into the mount and hook point
-Replace the seat with an F7
-The J, as did most rebuilds, had two fairing on the lower fuselage between the main gear doors. (Wolfpack Designs' F-8 Exterior set has them)
-All J sqns had the larger ECM antenna on the tail, except VF-162, the first squadron to deploy with the J, had the smaller one.
-Be sure you use the double droop (leading edge slats) and the larger horizontal stabs
Looking through these lists I am sure many of you will think that some of these items are not worth worrying about and I agree. I decided to tackle the most noticeable ones and/or the easiest ones.

BUILDING - Eduard's 1:48 F-8E Crusader 'Limited Edition' (ED11110)
As usual, construction begins with the cockpit. Eduard has provided a full pre-painted interior PE fret and as this saves a lot of work. The IP and side consoles are nicely pre-painted whilst the other brass details are unpainted. I like to dry fit all components prior to applying glue and small sections of tape are ideal for holding things in place.
In addition to the PE goodies provided in the box, I wanted to add some more detail to the cockpit area. First up was some rails for the ejection seat. Hasegawa never provided these in the base kit, nor did Eduard with its Brasin seat and finally AeroBonus left these off their otherwise excellent pilot and seat. I maintain on hand a pretty good range of Evergreen Styrene plastic and selected a suitable H column section that more or less matched the shape of the ejection seat rails in the F-8.

I had also noticed in reference photos that there is an equipment compartment behind the cockpit and figured that it was a small scratchbuilding job to open this up. The final small adjustment needed was to alter the position of the pilots left hand as I wanted to have him holding a map, rather than a throttle. This was super easy as I just cut it off at the wrist and super glued back on.
Once the glue was dry on the compartment walls I filled it up with plumbing and wiring by using 0.3mmm lead wire fastened with super glue. The large oxygen tank was made from tubular rod cut and sanded to shape. I realise that very little of this will be seen once the canopy is on.
Before starting this Eduard kit I decided to try and take on a dual F-8 build. I hoped this would enable me to more efficiently punch out two finished F-8's, the first an F-8E (using the Eduard boxing) the second an F-8J (using the Hasegawa boxing). As I was using the PE detail set for the F-8E this left the Furball decals from the Eduard boxing available to use on the F-8J cockpit. Much to my surprise, the instrument panel decal shattered when placed in water. Luckily it was not fatal and I was able to recover the pieces.
The two completed cockpits shown side by side give a good idea of the differences between pre-painted PE and plain old decals. I think the PE does look more convincing for the instrument panel but in general, I think this demonstrates that you can comfortably get away with using decals in 1/48 scale. It's worth noting that I did not remove any of the raised detail on the plastic parts for the F-8J cockpit (I did sand the F-8E flat prior to glueing the PE of course).
One of the final tasks to close out the cockpit work was to paint the equipment bay behind the cockpit tub. The oxygen tank (as is standard) is painted a distinctive grass green colour and the piping and wiring picked out with Citadel Silver.
Ever trying to improve my figure painting skills I turned to a couple of online tutorials and was happy enough with the end result. These AeroBonus figures are really nicely detailed and look realistic as they come moulded into the seat with belts. It is a bit more fiddly to paint the seat and pilot but a steady hand and patience get it done. I used the Eduard pre-painted headrest pull-handle as the AeroBonus resin part was deformed. The folded map is just downloaded from the internet and printed on normal paper which means it looks a bit overscale when viewed from the side but once in the cockpit looking down should be fine.
The first Hasegawa design problem I decided to tackle was the canopy hinge. If you want to display the canopy down on the F-8 kit it's a great fit. If however, you want to have the canopy open you run into problems. This stems from Hasegawa moulding the hinge 'ears' at such an angle so that you can't just rotate the canopy up without the 'ears' being distorted. I thought about a few options and in the end decided that it was cleanest to just cut off the kit 'ears' and make up my own. I also thinned out the canopy frame plastic at the very top so that when open it would not hit the fuselage.
A test fit of the modified canopy was successful. I was able to raise the canopy to an accurate angle and my new hinges were snug enough to hold it without any braces or glue. I also did some test fitting of the AeroBonus pilot/seat and had to trim a little off the bottom to get him to sit right.
With the cockpit now pretty much done it was time to work on other items so I could seal up the fuselage. The first item on my checklist was to see what could be done to remove the raised panel on the nose section. Before sanding down the raised section I used my scriber tool to trace the outline so that I would still have panel lines. I protected the surrounding area with tape and carefully sanded down the panel and replaced the rivets. In hindsight, I probably would not worry about this again as it did result in the vents being too shallow and my panel lines are not that neat.
The rectangular bleed air exhaust heat shield on the right fuselage side is not correctly rendered. Hasegawa has moulded it as raised 'plank' when in fact it is much more subtle and blends into the fuselage rather than butts out from it. Some sanding and scraping can help tone down this panel to more realistic finish.
Early F-8E's were not fitted with the ECM blister on the vertical tail. The Hasegawa kit comes with the blister moulded on and so for any aircraft you model that had no blister you are required to manually remove it (FYI, the F-8J had a much larger blister on the tail and Hasegawa does provide it in their J boxing, but you also need to remove the smaller moulded on detail for that build). There is plenty of surface detail around this area (including some raised) so work carefully and use masking tape to help protect the surrounding detail. As an aside, of the five F-8E marking options in the included Furball sheet only one of them has the ECM blister retained.
It was getting time to start thinking about joining the fuselage. There are quite a few sub assemblies to be placed inside this model and I find its a good idea to test fit and adjust as many times as needed to get things aligned properly. The intake trunking is a great fit and I simply painted the inside white before glueing the top and bottom halves together. Once dry I sanded the front end as best I could use wet n dry abrasive wrapped around a wooden cocktail stick. The main wheel well and compartment under the upper wing will be painted after I join the fuselage so these just need to be assembled at this point.
As expected from a Hasegawa kit the fit of the internal subassemblies is snug and alignment spot on. I do have a couple of the Aires resin wheel wells but was not in the mood to have to deal with this so left it for a future build.
I obtained the optional Eduard Brassin Exhaust Nozzle (Cat.No 648302) and found a couple of surprising issues with it. It is designed to be a drop in replacement for the kit plastic exhaust which can be inserted into the rear fuselage after it has been assembled (this appealed to me). Both the kit plastic and Eduard Brassin exhaust have rectangular guide rails along the side. These help ensure the exhaust aligns properly in the fuselage.

The problem is that Eduard has moulded their guide rail along the full length of the exhaust tube and this means that when inserted it is obstructed by the moulded on poly-cap bracket designed by Hasegawa to be the horizontal tail mounting point. The Eduard instructions tell you to cut off this poly cap bracket (say what !!) and then their resin exhaust will slide nicely into place. Well, that may be one option Eduard but how exactly would we now secure the two horizontal tails to the fuselage once you have us remove the bracket and polycap ?? That's definitely Strike 1.

A much better solution is to use your knife to trim about 5mm off the very end of the resin guide rail, that way it won't hit the kits bracket. Eduard really didn't think this one through and should have designed their resin this way in the first place.
Strike 2 for the Eduard Brassin Exhaust is that they made the same mistake that Hasegawa made for the length of the nozzle. The plastic kit exhaust incorrectly extends (about 2mm) beyond the rear of the aircraft fuselage skin. This is wrong (it should be flush) and unfortunately Eduard copied the kit part too closely without doing their homework. I also have the Aires resin nozzle and they got it right (on both counts).
With all internal work now complete, I joined the fuselage and sanded the seams flush. The Hasegawa F-8 (and A-7) kits have a known problem with the very badly moulded surface detail (panel lines and rivets) on the lower fuselage. In places, this is so bad that the surface detail just does not exist or is just a faint outline. This meant it was time to break out my trusty Tamiya scriber and vinyl tape.
Because the existing panel lines were so bad I chose to fill what was there with super (CA) glue and sand completely flush. This has me a clean surface on which to layout and scribe the new panel lines. I find this is easier in the long run than trying to restore what is there and ending up having inconsistent results.
This photo probably shows best just how bad the surface detail is on the Hasegawa moulding. If I had to guess I'd say that Hasegawa was contracted by Eduard to mould the plastic sprues for their boxing as it seems to use the newer (softer) plastic that Hasegawa has switched to in recent years. This still did not alleviate the moulding problem and I had to remove and re-create the panel detail as shown here. The Eduard kit fuselage is on the bottom (after my scribing work) whilst the top is one of my older Hasegawa kits.
Another minor omission by Hasegawa in their 1/48 Crusader is the rectangular recessed housing tucked in between the speed brake arms. This housing holds the catapult attachment point which was used in early carrier aviation when the steam catapult was attached, via a bridle cable, to the airframe directly rather than to the nose wheel strut as today. Adding this small housing was an interesting scatchbuilding project and an opportunity for me to do a step-by-step guide.
With the fuselage complete it's now time to focus on the wings, undercarriage and weapons.

Stay tuned for the next instalment as we continue the build of Eduard F-8E Limited Edition kit.

Gary Wickham

This kit is still available on the Eduard website if you are interested. Thanks to them for sending this kit to Gary for him to build and review.

If you like Gary's models then please do go to his website www.Scalespot.com for a whole lot more of that...