KIT: Anigrand 1/72 XF8U-3
KIT #: AA-2029
PRICE: $52.00 from Anigrand
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Resin kit with vacuform canopy


Thanks to the success of the F8U-1/-2 Crusader, Vought was inspired to carry the design even farther and designed the XF8U-3. Though keeping with the F8U design name, there was very little that was the same. A larger and more powerful J-75 powerplant was installed into a much larger fuselage. The aircraft had a distinctive 'sugar scoop' intake and required foldable ventral fins to maintain the proper stability. The Navy was impressed with the aircraft and requested 5 prototypes to be used in a fly-off against the McDonnell XF4H-1.

By mid 1958, the first flight was made and the aircraft's performance was judged to be excellent. A top speed of Mach 2.39 was reached during testing and there was real potential for reaching Mach 3. However, the test program was abruptly ended a few months later when it was discovered that the acrylic windsreen used by the Crusader III was unable to withstand the temperatures reached during high-speed flight. At the end of 1958 the Navy cancelled the program after three airframes had been built. The XF4H-1 was chosen to be its next generation Navy fighter. In hindsight, the Navy really wanted a twin-engine aircraft and since the XF4H was able to meet all its goals plus carry a greater amount of ordnance, it was the logical choice. The three XF8U-3 prototypes were then seconded to NASA who used them in sonic boom testing.


Molded in their usual tan resin, this kit has engraved panel lines and generally good detail. You've heard me comment on the sort of mold flaws that these short run resin kits can have and this one exhibits most of them. On the upper wing alone, there are a few air bubbles on the trailing edge of the wing, some sink areas near the wing cut-out and the tip of the right wing was broken off. In the overall scheme of things, what one generally expects and it really is no big deal. By the time a modeler has reached the stage where his skills have improved to where he/she can handle these situations, they are quickly dealt with as a matter of course. It is all part of the build and overcoming these little problems is what makes these kits so intriguing. We are, after all, modelers and not just rote assemblers.

The kit provides a cockpit tub with a seat, stick and instrument panel. Those who are looking for more detail will have an opportunity to provide it as there is room for the required bits and pieces to be installed. I'd go with a new bang seat at the very least. The kit provides three Sparrow missiles  as well as the ability to have the wing in the raised position. There is nothing to really see under this wing so you may want to leave it lowered. The ventral fins will have to be displayed in the raised position while on the ground. Thanks to the long wheelbase, nose weight probably will not be needed. I'd think about finding some replacement main landing gear in the near future as the resin ones may deform under the weight of the model after time. You'll have to excuse me for not showing the little bits as I tend to loose these once the bag has been opened. It mainly consists of landing gear, wheels, gear doors and interior bits. The long nose probe will have to be made by the modeler out of stretched sprue.

The instructions are pretty well standard Anigrand issue. A single folded sheet provides a painting and decal guide on one side with the other side encompassing the history and a photo on one half and an exploded view of the kit on the other. Thanks to the rather simple design of the kit, this is more than adequate to allow you to complete the kit. Decals are well printed and a bit thick. I've found that the newer sheets work quite well with setting solutions and while you may want to replace them with thinner aftermarket versions, it really isn't absolutely necessary. The prototypes were all in either bare metal or painted aluminum with large day-glo sections, so it will be colorful when you get it done!

June 2005


Anigrand has added yet another interesting aircraft to its catalogue and from what I understand, it has been selling quite well. If prototypes are part of your passion, you really should look into getting this one.

Thanks to Anigrand Craftworks for the review kit. You can get yours direct or from Nostalgic Plastic, the US Distributor.

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