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R.A.F. Crusader FG.1

What If: The Royal Air Force had received real gunfighters in the form of Crusaders rather than Phantoms? Crusader FG.1 at R.A.F. Leuchars 1981 in 65th anniversary scheme.This one was the winner of the "Secret Santa" group build on the "What if" web site. The premise of the build was to build a kit as a what if that was sent to you by another member of the forum, obviously you had no choice on the subject matter.Boy did I go round the houses and pull my hair out over this build. Jason was kind enough to send me the magnificent Academy U.S.M.C. Crusader for my build. I already have two Crusaders in the stash one to be built as a U.S.M.C. bird and the other's gonna be F.A.A. I thought in the spirit of the build I needed to come up with a new idea and I was stumped. After I while it occurs to me that you never see camouflaged Crusaders so I'll make it Israeli, but hmmm Israeli's a bit of a cop out, kinda like the black mini dress, everything looks good in three colour camo. Hmm how about R.A.F. camo? Then I see the three colour grey scheme on the cover of the Hasegawa Lightning box and I'm sold! Grey it is with the 11 sqn decals from the Hasegawa kit. But during the final stages something is not sitting right with me about taking away 11 sqns Lightnings and giving them Crusaders but I've already painted the plane at this point, so I need to find a Sqn who had Phantoms AND a black spine! Well it turns out that 43 sqn did and thank god for the R.A.F. website. Also turns out that I've got a mix of 43 sqn decals for a Tornado and Phantom on sheets I bought for something else. So she ended up wearing the three tone grey with black spine which is very close to the anniversary scheme 43 did on their Phantoms. Whew!

The kit itself is full of wonderful detail and to the general standard of Academy and I had been looking forward to building it. I did have some fit problems though getting the speedbrake and main wheel well in is tricky the fuselage doesn't want to join around them. The wing doesn't want to be built in the down position, but I wanted smooth lines on this and that fast on the ground look. If you put the wing down there is a Giant step which takes some effort to correct. And the windshield is very fragile I put a crack right down the centre just holding it to mask it.
Painted with a mix of Gunze Sangyo and Tamiya Acrylics (I'm really getting to hate Tamiya paints). No weathering cos R.A.F. birds from this era always seem to look clean and shiny in the pictures I've seen.

Loaded with Red Top missiles from the Hasegawa Lightning and Sea Eagles from the Frog Buccaneer. The Sea eagles gave me a JMN moment I was all excited about shiny white missiles maybe tarted up with some black and yellow but did the research and well they only come in grey sad.gif so grey they are!

The burner cans are done with a method I got from Fine Scale Modeler, first I sprayed  the overall can Jet Exhaust, then masked off the obvious panel lines with Spectra masking tape. This stuff is really thin in width but kinda thick and stretchy. I get it in the R/C cars section at the hobby shop. Then sprayed the masking tape burnt iron, it's the overspray effect I was after.All of this was done with Acrylics and a badger 200-20 detail brush which I love. Awesome little brush for doing..erm..well.. details! You can get real fine lines and as soon as I get a bit better I'll be doing alot of stuff freehand. Followed that up with random sweeps of Tamiya Smoke, clear yellow and clear blue. These pics don't do it justice, but the subtle blue and yellow really make it effective. I've tried a similar technique dry brushing the colours but it never looked right. Using a brush I've had better luck drybrushing in some Gold and Brass.