1/72 Heller F8E(FN) Crusader

Gallery Article by François Poulic on Nov 12 2012



In 1990, the very worn and used F8FN/P "CROUZE" was flying frequently by my window, and was announced to be retired after a very long and successful servicing.
I decided so, to celebrate this fantastic plane, but at that time, Academy's F8 was not existing yet, even if announced already, and the choice wasn't very difficult : Hasegawa or Heller.

The arrival of the former KMC company resin detail set, and an abusive advertisement from Heller, "all renewed tooling" pushed me in the adventure of my longest assembly...........

The Heller kit was known to be correct, further more for the "Royale" (French navy nickname) as including the enlarged elevators as well as the double drop wing leading edges specific to that version, but was supporting the weight of the years, thought for a 1972 creation, wasn't that bad !

As usual, I took a picture as guideline, and was very pleased by a picture showing the wing in its upper position, with all the flaps and leading edges down, completed with an open and extended refluing probe and finally folded wings.

The work started by an full engraving, and something very important to my eye for that scale, thinning a lot the details, air ducts, pannels and so on.

No Aires, nor CMK details kits were available at that time, so most of the details were scratch, as well as the Clemenceau aircraft carrier deck part.


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I forgot to precise that when I've started the assembly, the internet in France was just "something" for geeks and there was basically no computer in the average home.........it was given to me the opportunity to move to the USA and then I discovered ARC, a fantastic world with lots of pictures, walkarounds and so on, without forgetting to mention the New England Air Museum that deverted me from the model a bit.

Why it is important ? I discovered the use of Future.....and messed up all the detail and assembly work as my Gunze crackled as an old Rembrandt painting !!!
I sould have been more careful, as the hue of the sea gull gray was very greenish when applied.

So all was repaired, then painted back, pre shaded, a first lay of Gunze H315 that wasn't pleasing me, lightened with some H338 that gave a really worn and dirty aircraft as n°27 Crouze was showing in Air Action magazine.

The decals were picked from an old Carpena reference that went well, and were very gentle during the rubbing opération to imitate the real plane.
Weathering was a classic oil wash, and pastels, after a Gunze mat varnish had been applied.

All in all, it took me a decade to finish that model as I reworked so many details, got ruined by the Future event, and finally it happened.

I hope you'll enjoy the result as presented here in few pictures,


François Poulic

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Photos and text © by François Poulic