At last! A 1/32 scale Crusader to go with the Phantoms and the Thunderchiefs, all mainstays of the Vietnam War.
Trumpeter's kit is molded in medium gray styrene with nicely engraved panel lines and - finally! - toned-down rivets.
Trumpeter has done away with the rod and photoetched-metal hinge and, more recently, the mounting-peg arrangements for the control surfaces. The control surfaces are still molded separately, but now you can glue them in any position you want so you can pose the wing down or in the high-incidence position.
The kit comes with two Sidewinder missiles, two Zuni rocket tubes, two GBU15 bombs, two Bullpup missiles, two Walleye missiles, and two AGM45 Shrike missiles. However, unless you are doing a Marines version, you won't need anything except the Sidewinders and the Zuni tubes - Navy Crusaders seldom carried weapons on the wing pylons.
The seat comes with well-executed photoetched-metal seat belts. You might want to use a candle flame to anneal the photoetched metal to soften it up so it's a little easier to work with.
In the cockpit, the seat alone comprises nine parts. The photoetched-metal belts and harness are represented by nine pieces. The rest of the cockpit is fairly simple but adequate.
The gun bays come complete with ammo links. If you choose to close the gun bay doors, I suggest that you leave the guns out - they sit too high, and the doors won't fit flush.
The landing-gear bays are well detailed and fit right into the fuselage halves. The area under the wing on top of the fuselage is a precisely molded, separate piece.
Trumpeter overdid the engine again - it's pretty complete, with compressor fans and everything, but unless you display it separately it's a wasted effort because you won't see it. All you'll really need are parts K5 and K9 to represent the engine exhaust.
All the subassemblies fit snugly within the fuselage halves. A little filling was needed on the fuselage seams almost all the way around, but nothing major.
In Step 13 where the rockets and the rails are assembled, along with the refueling probe, you'll have to choose between the rockets or the probe because they interfere with each other. I didn't discover this until final assembly.
The rest of the kit went together very easily. It's great to be able to treat the fuselage and wing as separate entities, especially during painting and decaling.
The decals went down easily and set up quickly. The only problem was they didn't include the red ejection-seat triangles that go on the fuselage near the cockpit or the yellow rescue arrows. I had to find some in my spares box.
Other than that, it was an easy kit - very enjoyable. It took me 18 hours to complete, a little less time than I normally spend on a kit. If you want to get going with 1/32 scale jets, this one is highly recommended.
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