With the Concord grenadiers, I was able to get some time to do something–anything- different. My go to is always some planes, so I reached in my box of many-unpainted-winged-objects and pulled out some F-8 Crusaders from Raiden.
These planes were given to me by George Kettler last year, and I really wanted to paint them for several reasons. First they are are a sign of good faith to George that I truly appreciate his generosity. There are many more to come, including some A-4F’s that are probably next on my agenda.
The Crusaders are also a down payment on my promise to paint planes for a Vietnam project. I’ve changed my original intent to focus on just planes for Rolling Thunder (1965-68) to something more inclusive that will also include planes for the first Linebacker missions (1972). What does that mean? It means I can paint a wider variety of plane types for the both the Navy and the Air Force. Of course that means painting more planes. Imagine that.
I already painted a handful of F-8’s for an earlier project-13 Days Goes Hot. The seven planes I painted this month were those I had. I’d like to add one more to make an even eight. I also decided I wanted to paint planes from the air wing of the U.S.S. Forrestal. The late senator John McCain flew his A-4E from the deck of the Forrestal, and he was almost miraculously saved when he was caught in the middle of the infamous fire on that ship in 1967 that killed over 150 crewmen.
The Raiden Crusaders are among my favorite miniatures. They are straight and very properly proportioned. They do come with an annoying mold mark on the nose that must be filed or scraped off. But once that’s done, they are quite nice.
If I have a criticism of the model, it is that the canopy seems just a little too bubbly. Or, at least when I paint it, the canopy seems a a little too bubble shaped-not in a cartoonish way-instead of the sleek, nearly flat design I see in pictures.
I painted my planes in the standard navy dress of the mid-1960’s. The overall upper surfaces were painted with Testor’s acrylic Gull Gray. I used two coats, well-stirred, to get it to largely eliminated brush strokes. I tried to use Testor’s acrylic gloss white on the control surfaces and underside, and I just couldn’t get a decent cover, even with multiple coats. I decided, after two coats of each to spray with Dullcote, and went back over the white surfaces with your basic Ceramcoat white, and re-painted with Vallejo gloss varnish.
I painted the canopy Ceramcoat ivory. No, not some form of light blue. Sorry that’s who I am. If you see planes on a board with ivory colored canopies, you’ll know it’s my junk. Nose and canopy bindings are basic cheap-ass craft black.
I chose to do the VF-103 Sluggers, assigned to the Forrestal from 1960-65. I chose it primarily because the arrow markings on the tail were angular and paint-able, though I still managed to mess it up on some of the models. I used Vallejo Deep Yellow for the main color, and followed up with black edging. The AJ is also hand-painted, again, with mixed success. In 1965, the Crusaders were joined in VF-103 with F-4B Phantoms, so I have a template for painting them, down the road.
U.S. national markings, and Navy markings are by Beacon publications,manufactured and sold by I-94 Enterprises.
Unfortunately, my planned Forrestal template is a little haywire because CV-59 was assigned to the Mediterranean from 1960-65, and switched to the USS Saratoga the same year. Oh, well.
Overall, however, I’m pretty happy with how the little minis turned out.