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Vought F-8 Crusader
Legends of the Sea


Albatros Modelworks


Catalogue Number: ALC-48015
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Two full-sized 13.5cm x 20cm decal sheets; one small errata sheet; double sided, letter sized, full colour instruction sheets.
Price: TBA
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Plenty  of variety; high quality printing; depth of research; errata sheet supplied to correct color problem; extensive French and US stencil markings.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by José Herculano

HyperScale is proudly sponsored by Squadron.com




Eli Raphael of Albatros decals has just produced one of the most intriguing decal sheets for the Hasegawa F-8 Crusader in 1/48 scale 

I’ve always liked Albatros for quality, depth of research, and good ol’ plain caring – Eli likes to go the extra mile, and proof of that is the usual practice of throwing in – at launch – small correction sheets whenever needed. 

This decal sheet, aptly name Legend of the Seas gives us markings for 4 different birds, one US Navy, one French Navy and two variations of the Philippines AF scheme. The French and the Philippino were the only foreign operators of the Crusader, and France paid the faithful gator one of the best compliments ever – just look at the wing platform on a Mirage F1. 

The nice new Hasegawa F-8 Crusader has been launched in 2 variants so far, the initial F-8E, and more recently an F-8J. In December they’ll launch a French Navy F-8E(FN), but there is neither need nor reason to wait for that one to use the Albatros decal sheet. The Hasegawa will represent an early French Navy Crusader, which is just the F-8J model with new decals. 

The French Crusaders were F-8E based, but due to the small decks of the aircraft carriers from which they would operate – the Foch and the Clemenceau – had some changes to allow for decreased landing speeds. Hence they were fitted with blown flaps (indistinguishable in 1/48th from the stock ones), double hinged leading edge flaps and enlarged elevators. 

These improvements were incorporated into the remanufactured US Navy F-8E, which became the F-8J. The F-8J also had new mainmounts, which became known as the A-7 type main gear. The Hasegawa F-8J does not give us these mainmounts, which makes it a nice model of an F-8E(FN), but and incomplete one for an F-8J. 

The Philippino Crusaders were F-8H, that is, remanufactured F-8D. For these one should choose the Hasegawa F-8E and use the Cutting Edge F-8A/B/C/D/H/L fuselage conversion. 

The USN bird featured in this decal sheet is an RF-8A, the initial recce version, that saw service during the Cuban missiles crisis. For this version one should buy the Hasegawa F-8E and the C&H resin RF-8 conversion – either the new one, or the old one (for the Monogram), since both fit the Hasegawa without too much trouble. 

The French Crusader on the sheet represents one of the latest flying examples, with an intriguing farewell scheme – two enlarged squadron insignia on the tail, and a striking sharkmouth over the nice late scheme of overall blue-gray. There are some differences between a late life French Navy Crusader (F-8P) and the initial F-8E(FN): the instrument panel is different on the radar scope, there is a funky T antenna just behind the cockpit, and the tail is a bit taller with an ECM appendage – not that hard to scratchbuilt. Seat on these birds was also changed to the Mk7.

The Albatros sheet includes extensive French stencil markings, to go along the full stencil markings to be applied to the US birds.

A looker, if I ever saw one. 

The Philippino Gator’s are represented with both operational schemes – the early light gray overall scheme, with the catching bulldog over die squadron emblem, and a later two-tone gray wraparound. 

To round up, we have an historic RF-8A from VFP-62, veteran of the Cuban missile crisis, were this Gator went to take pictures of Fidel, dodge SAMs and outrun MiG-21s supersonic, at tree-top levels. These flights were codenamed Blue Moon, and it is even possible that this very bird is the one used on a mission described in Paul Gillcrist’s book Crusader!, that has it egressing feet wet at extreme low level, flat out supersonic, just over the heads of two Cubans and one burro… one of the former pissing over the ridge at the sea and the remaining staring over the ocean. Must have been the scare of the millennium! 

All in all an extremely nice decal sheet that I recommend highly to all Crusader aficionados.

Highly Recommended.

Albatros Productions Decals are available from many dealers including CRM Hobbies ,  Linden Hill Imports , Great Models webstore , Flightdecs , Meteor Productions , Victory Models , Hannant's , North American Hobbies and Squadron Mail Order

Review Text Copyright © 2003 by José Herculano
This Page Created on 26 September, 2003
Last updated 26 September, 2003

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