|KIT:||Academy 1/72 F-8P Crusader|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Coming from a previous generation, the Crusader was the best dogfighter the United States had against Vietnamese MiGs. Later types, such as the F-4 Phantom II, had been expected to engage incoming bombers at long range with missiles such as Sparrow as their sole air-to-air weapons, and maneuverability was not emphasised in their design. The Crusader would be credited with the best kill ratio of any American type in the Vietnam War, 19:3, although most of its victories were achieved using AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles and not guns.
Several modified F-8s were used by NASA in the early 1970s, proving the viability of both digital fly-by-wire and supercritical wings.
The F-8E(FN) was used by the French Navy until 2000, when they were replaced by the Rafale M. Seventeen aircraft went through a limited service life extension program in 1991. As a result of this limited upgrade, the aircraft were redesignated F-8P.
From the look of the sprues, it is the exact same plastic that one gets in Academy's earlier F-8E Crusader boxing. And really, there is no reason it shouldn't be as the F-8P was called the F-8E (FN) for decades until the last avionics update was done on the planes. The only difference is that with the US aircraft boxing, you get bomb racks and bombs, something the French Navy version is without.
The kit has a nice, long intake that will be a real challenge to fill the seam. I can see Seamless Suckers coming to the rescue with this one. The nose gear well is molded into the lower half of the intake. Cockpit is well appointed with a nicely done LTV bang seat. The canopy and windscreen are separate so you can pose the canopy open, though there is no actuating mechanism. The clear parts are a tad hazy compared to Hasegawa or Tamiya. You have to open a lot of holes in this kit for things like the under wing pylons, ventral strakes and missile rails. It seems as if other variants of the F-8 could be done later if the kit does well.
You can pose the speed brake lowered if you wish and it does have an actuating cylinder. The wing can also be posed in the raised position. There are separate leading edge slats, which would be deployed if the wing were raised. There are no separate flaps, which is a bit of a disappointment and you cannot pose the wing tips folded unless you do some cutting. For missiles, you can do either a single or twin missile mount per side. You also get what seems to be a set of Zuni missile launchers to replace the missiles, though I don't think those are appropriate for the French version.
Instructions are excellent and provide paint references in both generic and FS 595/ BSC381C standards. Markings are for four aircraft. One is in overall light gull grey, two are in the intermediate sea blue scheme and one is in a silver scheme used for the commemorative aircraft shown on the box. I like that the sheet includes the black surround to the windscreen. I also like that there are decal options for the instrument panels. Makes things a bit easier.
I can tell you from building the F-8E that this is a fine kit. It is one that surpasses other 1/72 F-8s and I know you'll like building it.
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If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly by asite that has over 325,000 visitors a month, please contactme or see other details in the
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