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David Hansen
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“RIDE NUNC” (Laugh Now). (Hasegawa F-8E Crusader, 1/48th scale)

March 22, 2013 · in Aviation · · 13 · 3.1K

This is the story of a 15-year-old running joke between Myself and the Vice President of North American Sales at Gulfstream.

Raynor Reavis knew that i was a model builder, and asked me if i would build a model of the mount he flew in Vietnam with VMF (AW)- 235, the "Death Angels". I told him i would and i made a half-hearted attempt building the 72nd scale F-8. Try as i might, i just couldn't get interested in building it. At the time (1996) there really were no models of the F-8 that i would consider truly outstanding, and the Hasegawa and Heller kits were really my only choices. The 48th scale Monogram kit needed just as much work to make itself presentable, so i wasn't thrilled about that option, either.

Anyways, every now and then Raynor would ask me how the project was going and i'd just say things like "Well, its going OK. Look! Here's the canopy! I finished it!" (less than impressive progress, i know).
Well, time marches on, people change jobs, move to different places. I'd see Raynor at the trade shows every now and then and i'd say "Don't worry. i haven't forgotten. i WILL finish it."

Well, speaking as one salesman to another, we both knew we were kidding ourselves.

Anyway, a few more years go by, and then the 48th scale Hasegawa F-8 kit comes out. WOW! Now THIS was something i could get excited about. Let me just say the kit is a typical Hasegawa, with all the good and bad things which that implies. Easily the most accurate kit on the market, it fits much better than their infamous F-14 but it still has traps to avoid, as Drew Tarter will attest.

I tried to use the Cutting Edge Productions seamless F-8 intake. I followed the instructions to the letter. It didn't fit. So, i binned it and glued the cut away plastic intake back on. and pressed on for a while until i got tired of it. And so it sat. Until about 2008, when i went back to work on it.

By December of 2010, it was done. I snapped a few pics and emailed them to Raynor's son, just to see if he thought his dad would like it. Some friends and i put together a base from a piece of walnut veneer plywood with some oak strips along the edges. Slapped a few coats of Minwax Walnut stain on, and got a nice little nameplate from the engraving store across the street from the hobby shop here in town. Was able to order a VMF (AW) -235 patch online from, and i bought some felt from Michael's Arts and Crafts store for the underside of the base.

Finally, i had a case custom-made by the folks over at TAP Plastics.

The final hurdle was getting this thing to Florida. Fellow Falcon driver, Model Builder, F4U Corsair pilot and all-round-good-guy Steve Bakke volunteered to ferry it using company assets to the FBO in Ft Lauderdale, whereupon Raynor would drive down from Vero Beach to pick it up. The plane made the trip OK, but i was apprehensive about the model remaining safe at the FBO until Raynor could pick it up.

Now, i don't know the look on Raynor's face when he first saw it. All i can go by is what he told me over the phone. However, i know he was truly thrilled and it was worth the wait.

So the lesson to be learned here, is if you get a chance to build a model for a guy who flew the real thing, take it! 48th scale is the perfect scale for a presentation model too. Big enough that its not too great a strain on the eyes, and small enough that it won't take over a guys desktop or office.

I'm not one to dwell on past accomplishments, but this project was challenging, sometimes frustrating but in the end truly rewarding.

Reader reactions:
8  Awesome

13 responses

  1. Great story...great build...and a great overall job on all the little nuances and details surrounding the finished kit itself (along with the display case). All those things combined get a well-deserved "10". Good on ya!

  2. David, your Marine 'gator is superb. Your weathering technique has an extraordinarily realistic look. I didn't even try to attempt the framing around the front windcreeen that you did such a fine job of. Great work!

  3. Yup, love the "gunfighter". great job!

  4. Truly outstanding.

  5. " I didn’t even try to attempt the framing around the front windcreeen that you did such a fine job of. Great work!"

    Just to follow up on Drews comment, how did you do that framing or the fiber glass mastic/ edging around the canopy and the wind screen?

  6. The off-white framing (that i think is a fibreglass strip that runs between the glass and the metal frame) was done with the Eduard canopy mask set. The masks for the canopy fit pretty well; the masks for the windscreen, not so hot. After masking and spraying the frames, i had to go thru a couple of iterations and a "clean up process" with a piece of sharpened sprue to remove paint that got onto the clear areas where it wasn't supposed to be. The problem with doing these strips is that they're supposed to be very fine and narrow, and if there is a spot where it's too wide, it really sticks out like a sore thumb. So, like i said, Eduard gets you 70% of the way there.

  7. said on May 20, 2013

    David ..there is NOTHING wrong with anything in these photos .. a great job in building it, and the photography is RIGHT ON .. all it NEEDS now is a pilot climbing up to the cock-pit with his knee-board on ... the "case" IS a class professional job ! the whole project is something you CAN be proud of ! OOH RAH !

  8. Very nice Dave, I agree, 1/48th is a great size. I have two 1/32 scale Spitfires in my office, a MkI and a Mk24, on the same stand posed as the first and last, spectacular yes, but a bit in your face in an ofice of average size. Great to have built it for an ex Crusader pilot, an amazing aircraft, huge machine for a fighter! I built a Spitfire MkV (Airfix 1/48th) for a wartime pilot who flew Spitfires in Italy with 4 Sqn South African Air Force. His name was Ken Fronc. I heard from his daughter when he passed away, that Spitfire model had been always given a special place and carefully shielded against grandchildren, in his study at home. Made the building of it well worth the while!

  9. Wonderful F-8. One of my favorite jet aircraft and love the job you did on this kit. Need to build one very soon. I will probably go with the new Eduard release with the hasegawa plastic. Love the way u display it. How much does one of those glass cases cost to have made?

    • Paul my memory is a bit fuzzy since this model dates back to 2013 or so. I think the case was around $100, not including the base or the nameplate. I made the case 6" high (which was probably overkill), and the plex may have been 1/4" thick instead of 1/8" that i went with on the Tomcat. At any rate, the Tomcat case came in under budget at around $81 or so. TAP can cut the pieces to size and let you glue em together, but i'd rather leave it to the professionals.

  10. David: Outstanding model and story. It must be very satisfying to build something that nice for a friend who flew this beautiful aircraft, and I'm sure that he will reminisce of those days every time he looks at it. I'd say it was worth his wait!

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