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Wayne Landis
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F-8E Crusader Mig Killer June 21, 1966

July 17, 2022 · in Aviation · · 34 · 1.6K

This is the 1/48th kit of the F-8E with decals from the Furball, Mig Masters F-8 Crusaders of the War. The model depicts aircraft F-8E 150300 Nickel 104 VF-211 (Fighting Checkmates, call sign Nickel aka The Mig Killers) and represents the aircraft used by LT(jg) Phil Vampatella to down a Mig-17 with a sidewinder on June 21, 1966. This was the third Mig downed by a Crusader. The Detail and Scale F-8 and RF-8 in Detail and Scale volume 8 is an excellent reference for the Crusader and has an excellent recounting of the use of the aircraft in the Vietnam War.

The model is typical Hasegawa of the era, not Tamiya but acceptable. The ejection seat is an aftermarket addition as it is the pitot tube. The paints used are Tamiya for the white fuselage sections and was my first use of Mission Models Gull Gray to complete the scheme. The afterburner section is painted in Alclad steel. Sidewinders are from the Hasegawa weapons set with decals from Two Bobs. Pictures of carrier aircraft during this time show weathering appropriate to their use (see pages 206-207of the digital edition of the D and S book).

Weathering was done using a number of techniques. The variations of the grey and white were done by using pre-shading and then spraying slightly different mixtures as appropriate. Decals were applied on a glossy surface using those from the Furball decal sheet and other sources. The aircraft was again glossed, very lightly sanded with very fine grit, and then glossed one more time. Oil paints were applied and then wiped off with a soft cloth. I use artists crayons and pastels to make the fine powder used to simulate various stains. Last, I use Testors dull coat to get the final finish and then a few touch ups.

This particular plane was flown by a friend of mine's father during his tour with the squadron in 1964-65. I knew that her dad flew crusaders when she finished the saying “when you are out of crusaders you are out of fighters” when we were talking about flying. I sent her a picture of the model, her dad looked it up in his logbook, and it is one of many he had flown during deployment. Small world, isn't it?

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8 additional images. Click to enlarge.

34 responses

  1. Nice work, Wayne. The F-8 is one of my favorites.

  2. Nice job, Wayne...Very eye catching!

  3. Great looking F-8 Wayne! I wish this kit was easier to find these days, none-the-less yours is a very nicely built example. And... small world indeed!

  4. Beautiful job, Wayne!
    Excellent, very refined weathering, among others!

    • I really enjoy thinking about the weathering and making it look realistic. There are a lot of pictures of Crusaders during the Vietnam war based on carriers.

  5. Very nice build. VF-211 are actually known as the “Fighting Checkmates.” A friend of mine flew F-14’s with them.

    • Good catch, they started as the Red Checkertail squadron when they flew Furys then according the website (

      "For the 1957-58 cruises, while flying F3Hs Demons, VF-24 Checkmates detached from CVG-2 and joined CVG-21 deploying on the Lexington. At the same time VF-211 Red Checkertails (still flying Crusaders) detached from air wing 21 and joined air wing 2 which was deploying on the USS Midway. It is uncertain as to why this change occurred, but may have been because the other CVG-2 fighter squadron was flying F3Hs and the staff wanted more diversity in the two air wings. During the Midway cruise, the Checkertails retained their VF-211 designation, but changed tail letters from the CVG-21 “NP” to CVG-2 “NE”.

      Upon return from cruise, the squadron designations were officially swapped.

      So in March 1959, the CAG-21 VF-24 Checkmates became the VF-211 Checkmates and remained with CAG-21. The CAG-2 VF-211 Red Checkertails became the CAG-2 VF-24 Red Checkertails and remained with CAG-2 on the Midway flying F-8s. The squadron aircraft, patches / logos and nicknames (Checkmates / Checkertails) remained unchanged. Partial pilot and CO turnover was normal following a typical cruise."

      Interesting bit of history.

    • Thanks! It would be fun to have a more modern and complete kit of the aircraft. Eduard did a special edition based on the Hasegawa molds and included some of their detail sets.

  6. Nice looking Gunfighter. The Hase Crusader is a nice kit, but I admit I had a heck of a time with the ailerons (broke them off handling the model too many times.) Won't do that on the next one.

    • Thanks for the note. To attach bothersome things like the flaps and ailerons I often use Formula 560 canopy glue. Once it sets it is very durable. The wing with the various control surfaces are among the last things to go on the plane.

  7. Really well done model, Wayne, and the base is a nice touch. Great tribute to a classic fighter!

    • The base I bought many years ago and use it for a lot of my model shots. It is just foam board painted to look like a airport ramp. A base like this one also makes it easier to position the model for the photo shoot.

  8. I have the kit - the fact it has a raisable wing and the flaps can be lowered makes for an excellent result. There is a resin cockpit for it that I got. I also have the Furball sheet.

    One thing I hate to tell you is that Testors Dullcote will eventually ruin your model. I just pulled a model out of storage that I had done with Dullcote 10 years ago. All nice and YELLOW. The only "save" is to strip it to bare plastic and start over. Try Tamiya "Clear Flat" or Microscale "Clear Flat." Neither will yellow.

    The following is a shameless personal plug: my book "The Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club" ("Best Vietnam History of 2021" - Vietnam Veterans of America) completely covers the F-8 in the war. 🙂

    • Thanks for the note. I decided against the resin cockpit for this one and focused on the markings, I really enjoy the quality of the furball markings. The Detail and Scale book on the F-8 is also very helpful with a number of nice shots of the air frame and markings.

      So far I have not had much of an issue with dullcoat, I just looked at some of my older models (20 years and older) sitting around. Of course the Pacific Northwest Climate is a bit different from California's.

      I have seen "The Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club" advertised on Amazon. Not read it yet. One of my fellow members of the local chapter of the Washington Pilots Association was a Marine pilot that flew F-8s in Vietnam. He did lots of close air support work from land bases-not what most people think of with the F-8E, but it is the mission of marine aviation.

  9. Masterful Mig Master! If you're out of F-8 you're out of fighters!

  10. Excellent result, Wayne @spotlandis
    It looks very realistic and the superb weathering it one of the elements being responsible for that.
    Well done.

  11. I love your model. Very realistic.
    One thing that I have always wondered is why most models of the Crusader show it landed, with the wing raised. To me, this plane looks much better flying...

    • Thanks for the note. I agree that it looks better flying with the wing down and turning and burning. It used to be that all of the kits were like that and you had to buy or build a conversion to have the wing raised. So this is my first raised wing Crusader. Next time I can lower the wing and fold the outer panels. The weathering will still be there.

  12. Looks great - well done!

  13. Great looking Crusader, Wayne (@spotlandis). The pre-shading and weathering look perfect. I also have not had any issue with Dullcoat, but most of my planes are dark colors, so I am not sure I would notice any yellowing.

  14. Thanks George! I use only a light dusting of dullcoat, just enough to get the effect I want. It also helps to fix the pastels in place.

  15. Outstanding work on your Crusader, Wayne. The fit and finish look superbly done. How do you like Mission Models paint? I've been using mostly Tamiya and what stock I have left of Model Master acrylics. The F-8 is my favorite tactical jet. I've built two Hasegawa and three Monogram Crusaders, and have another in the stash.

    • Drew--thanks for the note. I still use Tamiya for a lot of the work I do. Unfortunately it is getting harder to get in my hometown. I also have Model Master acrylics as I like some of their colors for dark gull gray and so on. I started using the Mission Model paint because I do like having premixed colors for the various camouflage schemes and MM paints have those. My approach is to mix the paint, thinner and their additive in a medicine cup and mix it well there before adding it to my paint cup. The gull gray worked fine on the Crusader and I also like their interior green and so on.

      I have also built the Monogram Crusader kit and it still holds up well. It is as good as the rest of their F-102, F-101, F-106, F-105 and other kits of that era. The Hasegawa kit is also good but I wish they had spent more time with their cockpits and the lack of missiles and the like always bugs me.

      It would be nice to have a current kit at the level of the Tamiya F-16, but not that many Crusaders were built and they flew a long time ago. Good Modeling!

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