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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.

33 responses to The Last of the Gunfighters

  1. Fantastic Morne! You have an amazing finish on this model, you certainly know how to get the most out of an airbrush!

  2. An excellent rendition of the F-8, Morne….one of these days, I’m gonna get the 32nd scale version. As they say, ‘bigger is better’, right? 🙂
    Even though ya messed up the rudder decals, it always looks better when ya can paint it instead anyhow. Nice job all around….including the photos!

  3. Lovely work Morne, a good airbrush helps but knowing how to use is what counts.
    And you seem to know to use it, as your skills are evident on your builds.
    Well done mate.

  4. Looks great Morne. Show us more pointy things.

  5. That is a historical build. An F-8 Crusader with VF-111 Sundowners. What an awesome tribute

  6. Morane,
    Excellent job on this. You have done the F-8 proud.

  7. There were no “marauding North Vietnamese PT boats” in the (alleged) Tonking Gulf (non) Incident. I was there. Even Strange MacNamara finally admitted the event never took place and was manufactured out of thin air to start a war.

    Nice model.

  8. Very nice gunfighter

  9. Guten Morgen, Morne, a perfect start for my day, well done mate !
    Great weathering and the usual love to the detail. The position lights are
    again a highlight ( 🙂 ) .
    The living proof, that old kit can be made into great looking models !
    A good inspiration to get my Monograms on the bench.

  10. Yet another great looking plane, Morne, and another interesting write-up. I never realised until recently just how much air warfare there was in the Vietnam war.

  11. Another beautiful work of art… Morne, you are a true master at this craft!

  12. Oh yea Morne. Another masterpiece of aeronautical excellence!
    California Steve

  13. Another VF-111 Crusader on a deployment aboard USS Oriskany. What’s not to like. Another nice one Morne.

  14. Brilliant F-8 Morne. US Navy subjects are my favourites.

  15. That is my dads bird you have rendered, well done, if you ever want to sell it I would be very interested

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