Kit: Airfix F2H-2 Banshee

Price: Out of production

Medium: Injected-molded plastic

Decals: Two Korean War aircraft: F2H-2 (Navy), F2H-2P (Marines)

Review by: Les Dorr Jr.

The F2H Banshee was a scaled-up development of McDonnell's FH Phantom. It was a twin-engined, straight-wing fighter that was a mainstay of the air wings aboard U.S. carriers in the early 50s. The F2H-2 version represented by the 1:72 Airfix kit saw combat in Korea in fighter, fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles.

The Airfix kit of the Banshee is typical of the manufacturer's better efforts. It features delicate raised minor panel lines and recessed control surfaces. The cockpit sports nice instrument and console panels with raised details, and a decent representation of the F2H seat. The fuselage is split into left and right halves; separate nose pieces are included for the F2H-2P photo-recon version. The wings are split into upper and lower halves, with inserts for the inlets and exhaust cones. Horizontal stabs are one-piece affairs. All are well-molded with crisp detail.

I had no significant problems assembling the model. Fit was good virtually all around, although the tip tanks didn't want to fit snugly to the wing tips - possibly the result of some oversanding on my part. I rescribed some of the lost panel line detail, but left the bottom of the aircraft (which has a long line on each side) alone. I substituted a Squadron vac canopy for the kit canopy, and posed it in the open position.

Painting and decaling took the most time on this project. I painted the aircraft overall Model Master dark sea blue including the wheel wells and gear doors. Gear struts and wheel hubs are flat aluminum. I masked off the leading edges of the wings, stabs and tail and airbrushed Testors Chrome for a natural metal look. I also dipped each tip tank in MM Chrome Silver to simulate the metal nose.

I wanted to model a Banshee from USS Coral Sea circa 1954 rather than the Korea birds, but some of the markings for that aircraft from Super Scale sheet 72-268 proved unusable. I switched to a USS Lake Champlain aircraft from late-1953. The decals went on reasonably well, especially when I put a small amount of future under each decal location. Curiously, the Super Scale sheet is missing the tail code ("F" in this case) that should be repeated on the upper right wing, so I made it from a couple of other letters. Several coats of Future finished the job.

All in all, a pleasant building experience that someone with a couple of kits built should enjoy, and it builds up into a nice replica of this early Navy jet.

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