1/48 F-8E Crusader model kit

Product # PT25

Product Article by Pascal Cholin in 2003



The F-8 Crusader is a mythic fighter, together with the Super Sabre and the Phantom. Its participation in the Vietnam conflict was significant, being used by both the Marine Corps and the Navy in the Close Air Support and Air Interdiction role. This later put the Crusader under the spotlights, with some thrilling air-to-air gunfights between the F-8 and Vietnamese Migs. The Crusader gained the title of “The Mig master“, with 18 confirmed kills, using only its four 20 mm canons and short range AIM9 Sidewinders. The latest aircraft in the US inventory (a RF-8J) made its final flight with the Navy Reserve in March 1987. On the other side of the Atlantic, the French Navy (l’Aéronavale) who bought 42 F-8E(FN) extended its life until November 2000, while the Philippine Air Force used 25 aircraft in the 80’s for a short period of time. 

The kit  

Surprisingly, only two “serious” models existed in 1/48 scale, the short lived Esci and the Revell-Monogram. The later was released several times but despite a rather good shape it suffered from problems like rather poor fit and wrong representation of the main landing gear to name a few. Experienced modelers were able to turn this kit into a contest winner, but it required a lot of work.  

Then comes Hasegawa. 

The kit is moulded in 119 parts, of the usual Hasegawa quality.

Click on images below to see larger images

The surface presents both engraved lines and raised panels that will look very convincing once painted and weathered. I dry fit the parts, there is no problem I could see at first glance. I assembled the airframe with tape, this Crusader does look like a real Crusader. 

Click on images below to see larger images


Clear parts are very thin, the canopy could be positioned open. The only problem is the hinges that seem to be too short. It is a bit difficult to fix it but not impossible and only a minor detail regarding the overall quality of the kit.

Click on image below to see larger image

The leading edge of the intake lip is moulded with the fuselage halves and like the Hasegawa A-7 Corsair series, a two-part intake housing sits mid-way down the nose. The resulting seam must be filled with a mixture of epoxy-putty and wate, but I found the fit not that bad… 

Click on images below to see larger images

Air intake assembly Veine Air intake

A major disappointment to me is the airbrake that is poorly represented in the closed position. Opened airbrake on parked aircrafts is very common because of the hydraulic pressure drop and I really like this configuration, together with dropped flaps and folded wing tips.  

Landing gear 

This was the weakest point of the Revellogram kit. Hasegawa did a very good job, especially with the main gear. The rear wheel wells are a separate, 3 pieces part that look very close to the real thing. One detail I really like is that Hasegawa did not mould unrealistic wires and plumbing, leaving the modellers the choice to add the level of detail of their own. The front well is realistically deep and the front wheel is nicely separated from the strut."  The two "horns" on the front wheel strut must be removed as they are for the F-8J, not the F-8E.

Click on images below to see larger images


It consists of a tub, the instruments panel and the MB MK-F5 ejection seat. Knobs are raised moulded but instruments decals are also provided. Nothing amazing, but nothing bad!

The wing and stabilizer 

The wing does offer several nice options, like separated leading edges and flaps, as well as the possibility to raise the wing with a detailed fuselage engine duct. Alas, there is no provision to have the wing tips folded, if you want to show that configuration you are for some cutting work…  The stabilizers are thin enough and could be position at any angle you want.


The jet nozzle is beautiful with some afterburner details that cry out for a dry brush. The armament only consists of eight LAU-7 Zuni fuselage pods that are nicely done. There are two  under wing pylons for the USMC version, but if you want some air to air missiles and bombs, as usual with Hasegawa, you will have to check your spare box or possibly buy one of the Hasegawa weapons sets.


Click on image below to see larger image

Decal Sheet 

Markings are provided for four very high viz aircraft . You get markings for a pair of CAG birds from squadrons VF-191 “Satan’s Kittens” and VF-194 “Red Lightning’s” of CVW-19, USS Ticonderoga. Markings for the squadron commander birds of these squadrons are also provided. The decals are from the usual Hasegawa quality and look very clean and well printed. If you want other markings, the aftermarket choice is huge and more will probably come out with this new kit release. 


At last! This popular aircraft lacked a good reproduction for years, thank you Hasegawa San for this release. I paid $ 27 (or € 27) from Hobby Link Japan, a few more for shipping and the f…… import taxes but I am extremely happy with the kit. The small canopy fit problem and the lack of a good airbrake should not distract you from buying this kit, the Crusader is a spectacular aircraft, so will be the build kit. I hope there will be new versions of the F-8, like the RF-8 and the peculiar French F-8E(FN) with its different wing and over-sized stabilizers. I bet the aftermarket industry will find it a subject of choice for improved resin details sets like the cockpit and the rear wheels well….  

Highly recommended. 


Photos and text © by Pascal Cholin