The F8U Crusader was introduced to the U.S. Navy in late 1956. It was designed by Vought to replace the tailless and dodgy F7U Cutlass, which looked more like it should be launched by a kid with a rubber band than a functioning reliable warplane. The F8U-2 had a more powerful engine than the initial F8U-1; the J57-P-16. The name was later shortened to just F-8 Crusader, perhaps to distance it from the Cutlass.
The Crusader is famously the last U.S. fighter design that was speced with guns as its primary weapon. Its four 20mm cannons were also famously unreliable. A retractable housing held 32 unguided rockets, and two pylons on the side of the fuselage each held a Sidewinder missile. These in practice became the Crusader’s primary weapons. Allegedly, nearly all of the Crusader’s kills were attributed to the Sidewinders.
The innovative variable-incidence wing, where the front edge of the wing could be raised, increased the angle of attack without sacrificing visibility making it ideal for carrier-based deployment. The F-8 was also quickly modified for reconnaissance duty and its low altitude photographs were instrumental during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The final F-8 Navy fighters were retired after twenty years in 1976, although the RF-8 reconnaissance version served until 1987.
IN THE BOX
Two complete jets!
25 parts (2x) in grey styrene
1 clear sprue with canopy
Black and white instructions
Full color paint and decal guide
Decal sheet by Cartograph
Now THIS is what I’m talking about! This kit exhibits all of the earmarks of what Platz
is capable of; crisp molds and plastic, astute engineering, fine detail, great decals and great value. This is the third tooling of this Crusader by Platz
. The first was in 2007, but it is not showing its age.
As usual the box art is wonderful, this time credited to Yukio Furutachi. The color illustrations inside are beautiful and colors are called out for both Model Master and Mr. Color paints. The build instructions are very clear. There is some Japanese text that you’ll most likely have to shrug at, but most of it is in English too.
There are two complete Crusaders in the box. Decals are printed by Cartograph and they are as lovely as always. There are only enough decals of each marking to build one of each version. If you build both kits, one will be from the USS Independence “Jolly Rogers”, and the second from the USS Ranger “Fighting Falcons”. Both are painted grey over white.
The cockpit consists of only a seat, stick and instrument panel. The canopy is small, and any more detail than that would likely be fruitless. Interestingly, decals are included for the canopy frames; no masking! The variable-incidence main wing can be posed open or closed.
Since there are so few parts to assemble you’ll be onto the painting stage pretty quickly. Even the landing gear is crisp, and each side is only three pieces including the wheels. There are slight parting seams that will need to be addressed on round parts like the landing gear, wheels and Sidewinders. The paint schemes are called out clearly and there won’t even be a lot of masking involved leaving plenty of time for weathering.
I am again blown away by the quality that Platz
puts into their own kits. Lest we forget, this was a pretty large plane for its time. The fuselage measures 4 ¼ inches (nearly 11cm) at this scale. So if the mere mention of the Braille Scale makes you shudder, a large plane like this with great engineering may be a good starting point. Thanks again to Platz
and Fred Boucher for supplying this kit for review.