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F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba

Sword, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y

Description and Catalogue Number: Sword Kit No. SW72149 – F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media:

66 parts in grey plastic; 12 parts in clear; two parts in grey coloured resin; self-adhesive masks for clear parts; decals for two marking options.

Price:

Available online from these stockists:

Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: First time a PR Crusader variant has been offered as a 1/72 scale kit; high quality moulding; good level of detail; fine recessed surface textures; thin, clear injection moulded canopy.
Disadvantages:

A few raised ejector pins on the fuselage interior that will need to be cleaned up.

Conclusion:

Sword's kits are limited run but the quality of moulding, the level of detail and the finesse of surface textures would challenge some mainstream injection moulding model companies.

Sword's 1/72 scale F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader is a fairly straightforward and well detailed limited run kit of a subject that has not appeared in plastic before.

Take your time with parts cleanup and alignment and you will have an impressive result.

Reviewed by Brett Green

Introduction

 

The Vought F-8 Crusader (originally F8U) was a single-engine, supersonic, carrier-based air superiority jet aircraft designed and produced by the American aircraft manufacturer Vought.

It was the last American fighter that had guns as its primary weapon, earning it the title "The Last of the Gunfighters".


 

Photo Reconnaisance Crusaders

An early F8U-1 was modified as a photo-reconnaissance aircraft, becoming the first F8U-1P. Subsequently, the RF-8A was equipped with cameras rather than guns and missiles. It played a crucial role in the Cuban Missile Crisis, providing essential low-level photographs of Soviet medium range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) in Cuba that were impossible to acquire by other means at that time.

 

 

On 16 July 1957, Major John H. Glenn Jr, USMC, completed the first supersonic transcontinental flight in a F8U-1P, flying from NAS Los Alamitos, California, to Floyd Bennett Field, New York, in three hours, 23 minutes, and 8.3 seconds.

The photo reconnaissance variant continued to serve in the active duty Navy for yet another 11 years after the fighter versions had been retired, with VFP-63 flying RF-8Gs up to 1982, and with the Naval Reserve flying their RF-8Gs in two squadrons (VFP-206 and VFP-306) at Naval Air Facility Washington / Andrews AFB until the disestablishment of VFP-306 in 1984 and VFP-206 on 29 March 1987 when the last operational Crusader was turned over to the National Air and Space Museum.

 

 

FirstLook

 

Sword's latest releases are two 1/72 scale photo-reconnaisance Crusaders. Although Academy, Italeri and Hasegawa have produced F-8 kits, as far as I am aware there has never been an injection moulded kit of the Crusader PR variants before.

Sword has released two PR Crusader kits simultaneously. Tonight I am examining Kit No. SW72149 – F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba

The box top features Jerry Boucher's striking artwork.

I was pleased to see that, rather than Sword's traditional end-opening box, these kits are packed into a stout cardboard box with a separate lid. Thanks Sword!

The kit comprises 66 parts in grey plastic, 12 parts in clear, two grey resin parts, self-adhesive masks for the clear parts and decals for two marking options. These are all packed in a large sungle ziplock clear plastic bag.

 

  • Sword Kit No. SW72149  F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba by Brett Green: Image
  • Sword Kit No. SW72149  F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba by Brett Green: Image
  • Sword Kit No. SW72149  F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba by Brett Green: Image
  • Sword Kit No. SW72149  F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba by Brett Green: Image
  • Sword Kit No. SW72149  F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba by Brett Green: Image
  • Sword Kit No. SW72149  F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba by Brett Green: Image
  • Sword Kit No. SW72149  F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba by Brett Green: Image
  • Sword Kit No. SW72149  F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba by Brett Green: Image
  • Sword Kit No. SW72149  F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba by Brett Green: Image
  • Sword Kit No. SW72149  F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba by Brett Green: Image
  • Sword Kit No. SW72149  F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba by Brett Green: Image
  • Sword Kit No. SW72149  F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba by Brett Green: Image
  • Sword Kit No. SW72149  F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba by Brett Green: Image
  • Sword Kit No. SW72149  F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba by Brett Green: Image
  • Sword Kit No. SW72149  F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader Over Cuba by Brett Green: Image
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The grey plastic parts are moulded onto two sprues with fine attachment points. The quality of the plastic is good.

Being a limited run kit, there few of the little luxuries such as locating pins and tabs, so take your time when aligning and gluing the plastic parts.

Surface textures, including mainly fine recessed panel lines, are well done.

 

 

The cockpit is simply broken down with structural detail moulded onto the interior of the fuselage halves and a one-piece cockpit tub.

 

 

Raised detail on the side consoles is adequate here. It should pop out with careful painting and dry-brushing.

The instrument panel has raised mouldings for the bezels and a few switches. Dry brushing will help emphasise these details too. It would have been nice to have the option of an overlay decal with instrument dial detail but you're on your own there.

 

 

A resin ejector seat with harness straps cast into place is supplied in the box. This is a very visible upgrade for the front office.

 

 

The ejection pull handles are also supplied in resin.

Intake ducting is included, as is partial engine detail when viewed from the open main undercarriage bays.

 

 

There are a few raised ejector pins that look like they will interfere with the installation of the main uncercarriage bays. Test fit and tidy up as required.

 

 

The wings are made up from three pieces - full span upper and port and starboard parts below. As far as I can tell the kit's wing is not designed to be raised.

 

 

Elevators have a locating pin that allows these control surfaces to be posed to taste.

 

 

The clear parts are thin and free from distortion. Sword has supplied a number of clear parts for camera ports. No surgery is required on the kit - it is a dedicated photo-reconnaisance variant.

 

 

Sword has thoughtfully included die-cut, self-adhesive masks for the canopy and camera ports.

 

 

They are made from yellow "Kabuki" paper.


 

Markings

Markings are provided for two US Navy options in Gloss Gull Grey and White:

  • VFP-62,146845,GA910,Cdr. William Ecker CO,NAS Key West 1962

  • VMCJ-2,145646,CY 1,NAF Guantanamo Cuba 1962

 

 

Decals are printed by Techmod. They are glossy and in good register.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Sword's kits are limited run but the quality of moulding, the level of detail and the finesse of surface textures would challenge some mainstream injection moulding model companies.

Sword's 1/72 scale F8U-1P / RF-8A Photo-Recon Crusader is a fairly straightforward and nicely detailed limited run kit of a subject that has not appeared in plastic before.

Take your time with parts cleanup and alignment and you will have an impressive result.

Thanks to Sword Models for the review samples.


Text and Images Copyright © 2024 by Brett Green
Page Created 10 January, 2024
Last updated 11 January, 2024

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