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Crusader Article & Plans
June 1971 American Aircraft Modeler

June 1971 American Aircraft Modeler

June 1971 American Aircraft Modeler magazine cover - Airplanes and RocketsTable of Contents

These pages from vintage modeling magazines like Flying Aces, Air Trails, American Modeler, American Aircraft Modeler, Young Men, Flying Models, Model Airplane News, R/C Modeler, captured the era. All copyrights acknowledged.

Website visitor Richard P. wrote to ask for me to scan articles from the June 1971 edition of American Aircraft Modeler. The two articles, subtitled "A Study in Design Ideas," feature two control line stunters, the F-4 Phantom and the B8 Crusader, presented together as complimentary models but with varied construction techniques. Designed and built by two separate modelers, Bill Suarez and Vic Macaluso, respectively, they are similar in that both represented at the time "the Navy's best current jet fighters," both have tricycle landing gear, have wingspans in the 55-60" range, and use inverted mounting for a .35-size engine. The big difference between the two is that the Phantom ahs a built-up wing while the Crusader has a foam core wing. The Crusader uses anhedral in the wing - uncommon for a stunter.

See the accompanying Phantom article.

A Study in Design Ideas

Two consistent contest-winners, these semi-scale stunters are based on the Navy's best current jet fighters. Should be most effective at the Nats.


Crusader, June 1971 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and RocketsBy Vic Macaluso

Photos by Bill Boss

Why the Crusader? Stunt has come a long way since the Barnstormer and Profile Mustang, and today's trend is toward larger, more realistic aircraft. Seeing all the semi-scale stunt ships at the 1969 and 1970 Nats convinced me that scale-like planes are going to be around for quite some time. For that reason, I've switched from the Classic stunt ships, such as the Nobler, Smoothie, etc., to designs like the Crusader.

The Crusader was chosen because of its unique look, high wing, ventral fins, Sidewinder missiles and drop tanks - all things the ordinary stunt flier would not consider. Something completely different was what I wanted, but could it be made to fly? If a low wing with dihedral could be flown successfully, why wouldn't it also work upside down? Thus the Crusader was born.

The plane's construction is kept fairly simple through the extensive use of hollowed balsa blocks and box-type construction of the fuselage, balsa sheet for the tail surfaces and flaps, and a slightly modified foam wing. By paying particular attention to the selection of light wood and hollowing out the blocks as much as possible, the plane's weight should be 50 to 52 oz., about right for a good 35 engine.


Epoxy was used for laminating the nose section and for installing the motor mounts and wing; white glue was used for most of the other construction. However, the choice of glue or epoxy is up to the individual.

Fuselage: Cut the fuselage sides from 1/8" sheet balsa and the doublers from 1/16" plywood. Glue the doublers to the fuselage sides. Next, cut 1/2 x 3/8" hardwood engine mounts to the proper length and cement them to the fuselage sides where indicated. Engine mount location must be exact because the thrust line with the anhedral wing can be critical.

It is the fine detailing that makes this model look like the Crusader - Airplanes and Rockets

It is the fine detailing that makes this model look like the Crusader. Takes patience.


Rear view shows wing's anhedral - Airplanes and Rockets

Rear view shows wing's anhedral, unusual ventral fins, drop tanks and rockets.


This is a much-flown model kept clean and waxed - Airplanes and Rockets

More of that beautiful detailing. This is a much-flown model kept clean and waxed.

While the fuselage sides are setting up, cut out formers F-1 through F-5. Draw a vertical centerline on all formers and a straight line on the work table. These markings will aid in aligning the fuselage during assembly. Cement F-1 and F-2 in place. Using their centerlines, line up the formers on the table and align the fuselage. Hold in place until set.

Glue in the remaining formers and again use the lines on table to align the fuselage structure. Hold in place while the assembly dries. When completely set, drill engine mounting holes (for a Fox 35) and install blind nuts to the top of the engine mounts. Install the engine, extension shaft, and spinner.

Next, build up the top, bottom and tail of the fuselage by tack gluing a 1 x 2 1/2 x 36" block to the fuselage top. Permanently glue a d 1 x 2 1/2 x 20" block on top of the 36" block at the nose end to provide sufficient thickness for the cockpit area.

The fuselage bottom is formed from a 1 x 2 1/2 x 36" plank cut as shown at former F-3. Tack glue the bottom blocks in place. Using the plans as a guide, shape the fuselage as shown in the top and side views. Pay particular attentions to the contour in the cockpit area, which will be used later as a mold for making the canopy. When all carving and shaping is done, pop off top, bottom and tail blocks and hollow out as indicated by the dotted lines. Hollow as much as possible for

the lightest structure.

The landing gear is made up next and installed. Attach the nose gear to former F-1 with J bolts. Mount the main gear on a 1/8" plywood plate and install it in the fuselage.

Wing: The wing was made from a Chipmunk wing (Foam-Flight Wings, 628 W. St., Mankato, Minn.). Start construction by sanding the anhedral angle in the root of each panel. To achieve the proper angle, place the root of each panel each edge of a straight table or work bench and block, up the other end of the panel (before wooden wing tip is installed) 1 3/4" off the table. Holding a coarse sanding block exactly vertically, sand across the wing root until the proper angle is obtained.

Before the wing sections are assembled, install the 3" bellcrank and leadouts in the correct inboard panel. For mounting the bellcrank any of the several methods suggested on the instruction sheet with the wing kit may be used. After the bellcrank and leadouts are installed, assemble the wing. Using the foam packing blocks as a jig, set up the wing halves so that the center joint is aligned perfectly. Remove the wing halves from the jig, and let cure overnight. The center joint then is wrapped with fiberglass tape and epoxy and again left to cure overnight.

At this point, add the wing tip blocks which are made by tack gluing two 1 x 3 x 10" soft balsa blocks together. Tack glue the assembly to the wing and carve the tips to shape. Next, remove and hollow out the carved tips. Add a 3/4-oz. weight to the outboard tip and mount both tips permanently. Make flaps from 1/4" balsa sheet, add hinges and control horns and install on the wing.

Tail Surfaces: Butt join as many pieces of 1/4" sheet balsa as needed for the fin and rudder and cut them out. Sand in the airfoil shape. Cut out the rudder and re-glue it with the offset shown on the plan. The stabilizer and elevators are made from 3/8 x 3" sheet. Cut all the pieces to shape and tack glue them together. Using a sanding block, sand a taper from 3/8" at stabilizer root to 3/16" at the stabilizer and elevator tips. Next, sand in the airfoil shape shown on the plans. When all shaping is done, separate the elevator from the stabilizer and round off the elevator-stabilizer joint. Add the control horn and hinges to complete the assembly.

Final Assembly: Use epoxy to attach the wing in the fuselage cutout already provided. The wing must be square to the fuselage. While this is curing, bend the elevator pushrod to shape from 3/32" dia. music wire.

When the wing is permanently affixed to the fuselage, make the appropriate cutout in the fuselage to accept the stabilizer-elevator assembly (cut former F-5 at dotted lines). Attach the pushrod to the flap and control horns. Slide the stabilizer back and forth to get a zero-zero indication on flaps and elevator, Then glue in place. The remainder of the fuselage cutout is filled in. Replace part of former F-5 and cement the tail block in place.

Hollow out the engine cowling and cut in all necessary holes. Add cowl fasteners of your choice.

I used a jack for engine starting, since it provides a neat appearance, is convenient, and requires fewer holes in the cowling. The jack installation can be eliminated if desired. Top and bottom fuselage blocks, as well as the rudder-fin assembly and ventral fins, are permanently glued in place. The model is now ready for the final sanding.

Cock pit Canopy: Carefully draw the outline of the cockpit canopy on the nose section and cut along those lines. Remove the canopy area in one piece so that it can serve as the mold for forming a Plexiglas canopy. Heat a piece of 1/16" Plexiglas in an oven and, when pliable, draw it over the mold. Cut away excess Plexiglas and fit the canopy to the model. Before installing the canopy permanently, add cockpit detail. For a free ready-made canopy, send me a photo of the Crusader in its final construction stages. Write: 384 Central Islip Blvd., Ronkonkoma, N.Y. 11779.

Finish: AeroGloss paints and plenty of rubbing were used to finish the plane. Details for color and markings came from Profile Publication No. 90. Chance Vought F8A-E Crusader. Lettering detail was done with Instatype dry transfer lettering.

Crusader Plans from June 1967 American Aircraft Modeler - Airplanes and Rockets

Crusader Plans

<click for larger version>


The AMA Plans Service offers a full-size version of many of the plans show here at a very reasonable cost. They will scale the plans any size for you. It is always best to buy printed plans because my scanner versions often have distortions that can cause parts to fit poorly. Purchasing plans also help to support the operation of the Academy of Model Aeronautics - the #1 advocate for model aviation throughout the world. If the AMA no longer has this plan on file, I will be glad to send you my higher resolution version.

Try my Scale Calculator for Model Airplane Plans.



Posted February 22, 2012

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