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Despite VF-84 "Vagabonds" taking on the name and traditions of the "Jolly Rogers" in 1960, their F-8C Crusaders were never painted with the iconic scull and crossbones emblem associated with the squadron. It was not until VF-84 transitioned to the F-4B Phantom II in 1964 that VF-84 operated in proper squadron markings.


But, as cool as Phantoms are, they are not nearly as cool looking as the Crusader. So I present to you, "What if the Jolly Rogers had Crusaders in 1965?"


So the story is this: Production delays at McDonnell resulted in a shortage of F-4B's to the Navy. In response, the Navy purchased an additional 100 F-8E Crusaders from Vaught. VF-84 was to receive brand new E model Crusaders as their sister squadron, VF-41 "Black Aces", had already received their Phantoms in 1962. They would deploy aboard USS Independence in 1965 for a combat cruise to Vietnam. 


This build will represent a Jolly Rogers Crusader on that Vietnam deployment. I will use the 1/72 Academy F-8E kit and Vagabond Decals "Yankee Air Pirate" decals for the F-4B. This build will be an in-flight display, so modifications will be made to close up the gear bays and mount a support stand.



I cut a few decals to plot the scheme as a proof of concept.



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Got some work done this weekend.




Pilot painted up and put in the bangseat. Pilot figure is from the spares box. No idea what kit it originated from. I had to amputate his legs to get him to fit in the cockpit.




Intake trunk, cockpit, and bays for the gear and speedbrake fitted to the right fuselage half. 






Test fitting the fuselage halves together after. Pretty good fit, although the upper fuselage behind the cockpit has a nasty step. Problem is that the high side is already glued down to the cockpit bulkhead. I'm going to have to spread the left half to raise it before gluing.

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That scheme will look good on the Crusader.  I can't ever remember one of my pilots making it into the cockpit with feet.  It doesn't seem to bother them, they still fly the heck out of the planes on my shelves. 

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11 hours ago, Cool Hand said:

I'm going to have to spread the left half to raise it before gluing.

Are both fuselage halves the same thickness of plastic at that point?
How about gluing a sturdy piece of styrene strip to the high side in order to make a small ledge to lift the low side? 
Might also need to do same to bottom of fuselage in order to keep it from displacing - but is there room to do so under the intake trunking?

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

I have not had much time at the bench over the last two months, but I did add a plastic strip to help correct that step. Problem solved.



Plastic strip in place


Pretty smooth now.


I also determined how I'm going to mount this bird. I will anchor a section of aluminum pipe in a doughnut of Miliput in the aft fuselage. A hole in the rear engine plastic will center the tube and allow a brass pipe to pass through. The brass tube will be the support for the model and be curved and anchored to a wooden base.


I plan to close the fuselage closed up with the support in place on Sunday.

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Ok, so the fuselage is all buttoned up and the brass pipe can be inserted/removed with no issue and is lined up properly. Success.


While I waited for the glue and Milliput to cure, I assembled the main wing assembly. The kit features separate leading edge slats, the outer portions have no locating pins/tabs so attaching them to the wing in less than ideal. My results were fine, but not perfect.



Once the glue dried, I decided to close up the nose gear bay. Instead of using the doors from the kit. I decided to simply use a single piece of plasticard and scribe the lines into it. The lines were added before I attached the piece, but they do not show in the photos.





Edited by Cool Hand
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On to the main landing gear and speed brake bays.


Academy engineered this kit with a center section between the main gear bays with the lower doors molded in place.  You can see the center section along side the speed brake assembly.  




Dryfitting the speed brake and center section after some minor sanding to improve fit.



Careful cutting was requited to separate the doors and leave them as usable parts.




Unfortunately, Academy's decision to mold the lower doors to the center section resulted in front edge of the doors having a bevel and being off angle to the corresponding notch on the center section.



After gluing the center section and speed brake to the fuselage, I test fitted the door to check fit and to troubleshoot the inner door problem.



I will probably replace the inner doors with plastic card doors. Same for the rear auxiliary doors. 


Edited by Cool Hand
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