Monogram 1/48 F-8E Crusader




$13.75 when last reissued


Two Aircraft


Scott Van Aken


1988 issue


To many in Naval Aviation, the F-8 was the 'last of the gunfighters'. And it did seem as if that were true. The follow-on F-4 Phantom was not only a larger, twin-engined behemoth, but was totally devoid of anything that was able to chuck bullets at an enemy aircraft. The age of the missile had come upon the military and guns were deemed as unnecessary. As is often the case, those feelings would come back to haunt planners. Missiles were perfectly fine against lumbering bombers, but were less than reliable when one was trying to hit a wildly maneuvering target. This error was corrected on later USAF F-4 and the Navy's following F-18.

The Crusader was an interesting plane in many ways, from its low mounted intake to its variable incidence wing. Pilots generally loved the aircraft as it was very fast and a lot of fun to fly. Early experience in the Vietnam war showed that the F-8 was more than able to handle the opposition's Mig fighters. So successful was the Crusader in the early war that it was given the name 'Mig Master'. However the airframe was getting old and it was soon replaced by the F-4 on all but the smallest ships. The aircraft was also used as a successful ground attack aircraft by Marine and Navy units, but being hampered by ordnance was not the first choice of most pilots.

The F-8 continued in service after Vietnam with many Reserve units, and it was the photo recon RF-8 that lasted the longest, finally being retired in 1987, some ten years after the last of the fighter versions.



Monogram has always been very good about issuing kits of US aircraft. Thanks to them, we have a full Century series as well as a number of other super kits. The level of detail in Monogram's 1/48 kits was and still is very high. In the days when your Hasegawa or Tamiya kit came with a minimal cockpit, Monogram had theirs highly detailed. I can remember doing a number of the larger bomber kits and painting up a storm on the interior, only to have it all disappear once the fuselage halves were together. Probably the only down side to Monogram's kits is that the fit was never all it could be. It took work and generally a good dose of filler to build the kit. This F-8 is no exception.

As with all their kits from the 70's and 80's the panel line detail is raised, but very well done. You also get a rather complete complement of ordnance that includes four Sidewinders and  six M117-style bombs (which I don't think the Navy used, but perhaps the Corps did). Other options are for folded wings, an open refueling door and an open canopy. You also get a very nice pilot figure to place in the cockpit should you wish.

Many of the larger parts suffer from ejector pin marks. The most obvious are on the inside of the gear door, missile and bomb pylons and on the missiles. None seem particularly difficult to remove, though it is one additional step that one has to do during construction.

The instructions are quite good and give all the necessary colors required to complete the kit. Basically you'll be doing yours in light gull grey over white. Decals are for two aircraft. One is from VF-11 and the other from VMFA-235 with its large areas of red with white stars. You will have to paint the lower strakes red for the 235 version. Actually, I'd also paint the nose area as well as that is a rather convoluted area that needs covered by the decal. The decals intimate that the missiles are for the Navy version and the bombs for the USMC Crusader, but you wouldn't be totally wrong to add the missiles to the Marine F-8. The decals themselves are fairly well printed and very glossy. If using the kit decals I would seriously recommend against using any decal setting solution unless you have tested an unused one beforehand.


If you want a 1/48 Crusader your choice is Monogram or......Monogram. The Monogram kit  is boxed by Revell of Germany from time to time. There is also the ESCI F-8, but that is a kit that is only good for masochists and better left alone. It is a large aircraft and there are oodles of aftermarket goodies available for it so spending money on it will not be a difficult task!

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