The Last of the Gunfighters
The F-8 Crusader saw service in Vietnam with both the US Navy and Marines. Both fighter and recon birds served in Vietnam with equal distinction from the Gulf of Tonkin, when F-8’s attacked marauding North Vietnamese PT boats, to the very end when an F-8J became the last US fighter in South Vietnam when it made an emergency landing at Da Nang in 1973. Twelve Navy Crusader squadrons and one Marine unit went to Vietnam stationed on carriers whilst four more Marine squadrons were based in South Vietnam. VF-111 itself made seven cruises to the warzone, twice embarking on USS Oriskany. Other carriers that hosted the Sundowners were: USS Intrepid, Midway, Ticonderoga and Shangri La.
The Crusader was the last gunfighter to serve with the US Navy until the advent of the F/A 18 and F-14. Armed with four Colt Browning Mk.12 20mm cannon, with 125 and later 144 rounds per gun, she was the envy of every F-4 Phantom driver. However, the Crusader only scored three gun kills over Vietnam whilst 15 kills were achieved using the IR-homing AIM-9 Sidewinder.
This is Hasegawa / Monogram’s rendition of the F-8 E Crusader in quarter scale. This F-8 was flown by LCDR. Richard A. ‘Pete’ Peters. (See photo). Peters became the first pilot to log 3000 hours in the F-8, which he reached in November 1971. Peters also had the distinction of being the F-8 driver with the most carrier landings, 800 in total !
I opted to depict this Sundowner bird as a well used machine. Weathering was done with pastels and Doc o’ Brien’s weathering pigments. Bits & pieces of scratchbuilding went into the cockpit. I sprayed her in standard US Navy colours using Modelmaster paints. I messed up the Sundowner decals on the rudder and then had to mask and spray it.
27 additional images. Click to enlarge.