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Thank God for Herb Hunter

CDR Herbert Hunter Vought F-8E Crusader

The Project

I built this F-8E Crusader for Mr. Perry Hunter, the son of CDR Herbert Perry Hunter, who gave his life in service to our country on July 19, 1967, while attempting to save the aircraft after taking flak damage on the attack on Co-Trai during the Vietnam War.

Because of its significance, this project quickly became close to my heart as I learned about CDR Hunter’s personality and dedication to others. It took me about six months to complete, and I enjoyed every moment of it as I felt deeply honored by the opportunity of being able to do it.

A considerable amount of research was required to make this model as precisely as I could. There is not a lot of information out there, but I was fortunate to find the last photo of CDR Hunter with the aircraft, while also thanks to some books I was able to figure out what the payload could have been that day he went on the attack on Co-Trai, North Vietnam.

Photo: The Pensacola Journal

CDR Hunter was the Executive Officer (XO) of Fighter Squadron 162 (VF-162), deployed at Yankee Station on board the USS Oriskany (CV-34). To learn more about the squadron and CDR Hunter himself I absolutely recommend the book “Over the Beach” by author Zalin Grant, which tells the story of this unit’s deployment in the Vietnam War. It’s an amazingly well written story that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. I took the inspiration for naming the display from an event described in that book.

According to the accounts on the book, there was a great balance between CDR Hunter and CDR Cal Swanson, the squadron’s Commanding Officer. Swanson brought an engineering approach to flying. Hunter, as a former member of the Blue Angels, made piloting a jet look effortless. In a short time, he had become the most popular Senior Officer of VF-162.

Cal and Herb had hit off immediately. Herb Hunter was an easy guy to like, and Swanson realized that his direction of the squadron was made a lot easier by Hunter’s amiable personality. “Thank God for Herb”, Swanson told his wife Nell on a letter.

The Model

This is the Academy kit in 1/72 scale. It is an awesome kit, but I added some aftermarket stuff like the cockpit from Eduard, a Quickboost seat, Aires wheels, Quickboost flaps, an Aires exhaust, and a wing fold set from Wolfpack. Ordnance wise, the AIM-9B missiles and the TERs for the bombs are from Eduard, while the MK 117 bombs are from Hasegawa with replaced fins and fuses. The tow bar used for the display is from Brengun, the chocks correctly depicting the Vietnam era ones are from Reedoak, and the tie down chains and hooks are from Infini.

I started the building process with the cockpit and adding some detail to the interior of the fuselage under the wing and the wheel wells. Unfortunately, not much of these are visible, but I had to do it!

The painting process started as usual with some black basing with Mr. Surfacer 1500 and some pre-shading. The model is painted with MRP 098 (Light Gull Gray) and MRP 099 (US Navy White). Metallic tone in the exterior of the exhaust is Titanium from AK Extreme Metal.

I coated the model with Alclad Aqua Gloss and made some panel accent with Flory’s Dark Dirt, to then re-coat it and apply decals. The decals are a merge of custom-made decals I ordered from Bedlam Creations, and decals I took from the kit and other aftermarket sets.

I also wanted to add some effects to the exhaust, so I used some Tamiya Weathering Master to create an orange tone variation.

Once all this was done, I applied a third coat of Aqua Gloss but in a way to achieve a satin finish and applied oils. I tested the Abteilung 502 oils, and I loved them! To seal everything after that and achieve the final finish, I applied a flat coat.

Here are some photos of the completed model before going into the display base.

The deck portion base was done by Mario Catania from Italy, and it precisely represents an Essex Class deck which were covered in wood planks. After adding some weathering, tow bar and tie downs, and the patch and plaque, it was really nice to see everything come together.

The following are the final pictures with the model fully completed.

I had the fortune to meet Mr. Perry Hunter and personally deliver the model to him last January in Pensacola, FL. It was indeed a very emotional moment that I believe we’ll both treasure forever.

I hope you enjoyed this short article for this build. As always, thank you for reading and happy modeling!


CDR Herbert P. Hunter USN

02/05/1931 – 07/19/1967


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