As I was
preparing to start yet another build, I was looking for a subject that I
had not yet tackled in kit form and that would be a good project to
practice some scratch-building techniques I had been reading about online.
After weighing my options and rummaging through my stash, I chose to build
the Hasegawa 1/48th scale F-8J, thinking how cool it would be to add a
colorful 1970's Navy Crusader to my collection.
first modification I made to the kit was to correct the fuselage halves
and canopy to allow the model to be displayed with the canopy in the open
position. Hasegawa engineered the kit with canopy tabs that are too small,
and because of this, the kit’s canopy is not able to swing open. I first
gained knowledge of this error from an online article (located here)
which detailed exactly how to tackle the problem. The correction amounted
to first creating a paper template for properly sized canopy hinge tabs
using an F-8 scale drawing. Using the template, I routed out slightly
enlarged cavities in the two fuselage halves with the help of my Dremel
tool and a tiny router bit. The same template was used to cut out new
canopy tabs from sheet plastic. Once the undersized tabs on the clear
canopy part were sliced away, the newly-created tabs were cemented on,
completing the modification.
second task was to scratch-built the under-wing engine duct using plastic
sheet and tubing. Using the Aires resin replacement was an option, but
this build was all about picking up some new scratch-building skills, and
the relatively simple shapes and details found in this area made it a
great part to try to create on my own. I used the kit-supplied part as a
sizing guide and went to work while referring to photos of a real duct and
the surrounding details. For my first major scratch-building effort,
everything went surprisingly well and I was very pleased with the final
confidence from the successfully completed engine duct bay, I decided to
go ahead and cut the wings and build the model with them in the folded
position. No aftermarket wing-folds exist for the 1/48th scale F-8, so I
knew this had to turn out well in the end or I’d have to purchase a
second kit to acquire replacement wings, making my decision to slice off
the wing tips an expensive mistake. After a week of careful work with tiny
pieces of plastic sheet and rod, the wing-folds came together and I could
not have been happier with the results.
the extent of major scratch-building for this project as I was feeling the
need to move on. At this point, the construction phase picked up steam.
an accurate F-8J, the instructions note to shave off the "-H"
fairing on each side of the vertical tail, to make room for the
"-J" fairing. This is a relatively easy modification and only
took a few minutes to complete.
images below to see larger images
Crammed Full of Plastic
resin items I included in the project consisted of the Cutting Edge speed-brake
detail set, and their replacement F-8J cockpit set. I really love the detail in
the replacement speed-brake parts, but I have to say the cockpit lacks realistic
detailing on the rear bulkhead. I think much more could have been done to
achieve a realistic bit of detailing in this area. Looking back, I now wish I
would have cut the bulkhead away from the resin tub and built up more accurate
test-fitting the cockpit tub (it fit wonderfully right out of the package), it
was airbrushed Dark Gull Gary (FS36231) and the consoles hand painted with a
base of Interior Black. Knobs and switches where hand-painted with various
colors as shown in my photos of actual F-8J cockpits.
seat was airbrushed with a flat black base and hand-painted details were added
as per photos of the real thing.
intake trunk halves were glued, puttied and sanded to achieve a seamless
interior. This always seems to become a lengthy process of "putty, sand and
repeat", but the kit parts do mate well and a seamless intake can be
achieved with a little effort.
the completed intake trunk, the resin speed brake bay and the freshly-painted
cockpit to the starboard fuselage half, I shortened the engine exhaust by
grinding away some of the rear of the engine tube (kit part # A6). This is
another fix that was described in the on-line article I had read prior to
starting this build.
with the construction, I noticed the roof of the kit-supplied forward landing
gear bay includes a set of deep injector pin marks. I covered them with a very
thin square of plastic card which worked satisfactorily and moved on to closing
up the fuselage.
Not a lot of
putty and sanding was required to prepare the model's exterior for painting due
to the very small number of main exterior parts and the really nice fit
images below to see larger images
Out The Wing Folds
the model using Model Master enamels. The gear bays, flight control
surfaces and lower fuselage were airbrushed with Flat White to build-up
color, then Gloss White (FS17875) to create a smooth shiny finish. The
upper fuselage was then masked and given the same treatment of Light Gull
Grays (FS36440 and FS16440).
main exterior colors were painted and had dried, the nose anti-glare area
and canopy were masked and painted Flat Black (FS37038). I was
tempted to go with the slightly lighter "Interior Black" color
(to allow for scale effect), but since there were going to be black decals
applied close to the nose, I was concerned the difference in color would
tail area was masked and airbrushed with a custom mix of Model Master
Silver Chrome Trim, Exhaust, and Interior Black. Once complete, slightly
darker mixes of these colors were sprayed freehand to create bands of
simulated heat exposure and to eliminate the monotone silver appearance.
squadron decals were taken from Aeromaster sheet # 48-403. Though this
sheet was created before the Hasegawa F-8 series existed, the
“made-for-Monogram” decals fit the Hasegawa release quite well. Only a
few decals were ever-so-slightly oversized. The maintenance stenciling was
custom designed in Adobe Illustrator and printed on my Alps Micro-Dry
Printer. I used walkaround photos of the F-8 from various sources (both
on-line and in book form) to create authentic maintenance data. Micsoset
and Microsol were a tremendous help in getting the decals to settle into
all of the lumps and bumps of the F-8.
basic decaling was complete, the entire model was sprayed with a light
coat of Future Floor Wax to seal the decals. Once this had dried for a
couple days, I enhanced the engraved panel lines with a wash of dark gray
craft paint mixed with water and a drop of dishwashing soap (to aid in
removal of the excess). Once this was complete and had dried, the
model’s Light Gull Gray and Anti-Glare Black areas were shot with a coat
of Testors Dullcote mixed with a little talc (for an extra flat finish).
was careful to go around the squadron markings to allow them to retain
their shiny appearance. I feel this adds a little extra “realness” to
the completed model.
images below to see larger images
Wash & Weathering
After all of the
coatings had cured sufficiently, the final assembly commenced. Landing gear,
gear doors, wings, wing tips, flight-control surfaces, ejection seat and canopy
were all glued on using cyanoacrylate. A replacement probe was created from an
electric guitar string and was fitted into the hole in the nosecone. Lastly, the
fuselage-mounted position lights were hand painted using Model Master Acrylic
transparent colors and glued onto the airframe using MicroClear adhesive.
didn't build-up any special ordinance for this particular jet. I suppose I could
have added freefall bombs, some Sidewinders or even some Zuni rockets, but I
felt this one just didn't need it. The F-8 is after all “The last of the