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The "Mig-Master" - ESCI 1/48th Vought F-8E Crusader

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The Vought F-8 Crusader was nicknamed the "Mig-Master" thanks to its exploits in the Vietnam War, she was also known as the "Last of the Gunfighters".

There have been several 1/48th scale offerings of the Crusader from Aurora and Lindberg however it fell to ESCI to produce the first 'modern' F-8 Crusader kit in 1978 with an F-8E version. Monogram followed with their F-8E in 1988, then Hasegawa in 1996. The ESCI kit was reboxed several times but was only produced over five years.

I have been intending to build a Crusader for years but never got round to it  I decided that I wanted to try out two techniques; scribing and weathering, so the old ESCI kit seemed a good choice. It was!


51437045156_b6a7f45208_o.jpgIMGP4273 by Ghostbase, on Flickr


I decided to use the original kit decals to complete her as BuNo 150675 / 'DR-00' operated by Marines squadron VMF-312 "Checkerboards" out of  MCAS El Toro, CA in 1974.


51437287773_be9654dd2b_o.jpgIMGP4278 by Ghostbase, on Flickr


This is the first kit that I have almost completely re-scribed. With the exception of the nose area around the four cannon ports I used a dental tool to replace all the raised panel lines.


51437045101_0f825616ca_o.jpgIMGP4274 by Ghostbase, on Flickr


I applied AK Interactive FS 16440 Light Gull Gray over a base of Halfords grey primer and black lines. This was when I was still having problems applying acrylic paints via airbrush (now resolved) and I had to apply several coats which rather defeated the black lines! The undersides of FS 17875 White were applied with Halfords Appliance White from a spray can. Detail colours were from Vallejo, metallics were from a Lifecolor metallic paint set.


51437287798_ae7f6ab99b_o.jpgIMGP4277 by Ghostbase, on Flickr


Weathering was a learning experience. I started by mixing a drop of dark grey acrylic paint with acrylic thinners and I applied this to the scribed panel lines with a brush. I gave it a couple of minutes then wiped it with a kitchen roll in the direction of the airflow and this generally worked well especially on the top of the wings. It didn't work so well on the forward fuselage especially around the four 20 mm cannon, the "00" decals broke and had to be repaired. I also tried a couple of Tamiya weathering kits (normally used for AFV builds) and found that sand neatly simulated hydraulic fluid leaks, I might have overdone the cannon muzzles with Tamiya soot though!


51436292837_809f3b78db_o.jpgIMGP4280 by Ghostbase, on Flickr


I also got creative with the armament! The weapons contained in the kit were pretty basic so I decided to take four AIM-9B Sidewinders from a Hasegawa weapons set and mount them on those very distinctive Y shaped fuselage pylons. In the real world of 1974 it is unlikely that any underwing stores would have been carried additional to four Sidewinders, the drag would have been prohibitive. However the F-8E was wired to carry the AGM-12B Bullpup so I added two of those also from a Hasegawa weapons set. The underwing pylons in the kit are best described as a work of fiction and I had to cut them back quite drastically.


51437793044_67837480bd_o.jpgIMGP4279 by Ghostbase, on Flickr


The verdict? I really enjoyed completing this old kit and the scribing and weathering definitely paid off. She now sits on the display shelf and looks every inch a hunched-up naval fighter jet about to roll onto the catapult then to be flung off the carrier to tangle with the enemy MiG-17 fighters. When you're out of F-8's, you're out of fighters! 💓




51437287703_1f76735d2e_o.jpgIMGP4281 by Ghostbase, on Flickr

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That old ESCI kit built up nicely and you effectively used it as a learning tool. The end result is very nice and you can be quite happy with it.

Edited by SAT69
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1 hour ago, Bertie Psmith said:

Nice one.


That 'Migmaster' nickname was a pun on the Sunbeam Mixmaster, a kitchen aid of great popularity which was introduced in 1969.




I live and learn, never knew that! 👍



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