Sword 1/72 F2H-2P Banshee

KIT #: SW72078
PRICE: $27.63
DECALS: Two options


The F2H-2P Banshee was the most capable photo reconnaissance platform used by the U.S. Navy and Marines during the Korean war. Of the 436 F2H-2s produced, 89 were built as F2H-2Ps. The photo Banshees possessed the same speed and high altitude capabilities as the fighter versions. In Korea, where photo-reconnaissance was vital to the support of the interdiction mission, the F2H-2P offered increased capability over the F9F-2P. The latter aircraft, employing the K-17 type aerial camera, had to make three passes over a target at 5,000 feet to capture the same coverage as the K-38 cameras in a Banshee could get in one pass at an altitude of 15,000 feet. The F2H-2Ps were so effective that they provided 40% of the daytime photo -reconnaissance needs for the USAF's Fifth Air Force and one photo Banshee squadron, Marine Photo Reconnaissance Squadron (VMJ) 1, shot enough exposed film during the Korean War to circle the globe 6 and one half times.


Sword 's 1/72 F2H-2P has 54 plastic parts molded in gray, six clear plastic parts, eight resin parts, 31 photo-etched parts, and a sheet of clear acetate with two sets of instrument dials printed on it. The clear parts provide the three part camera nose, the canopy, and two windshields (one is marked “not for use”). The resin parts provide the main wheels, the intakes, the exhaust “onions”, the ejection seat, and the nose landing gear bay. Both the main wheels and the nose landing gear bay are duplicated by plastic parts. The photo-etched parts provide the instrument panel, console tops, seat belts/shoulder harness, canopy rails, landing gear retraction jacks, antennae, and filler caps for the wingtip fuel tanks. A note about the photo-etched parts: both the instructions and the photos of the kit contents on the Sword Models website show the photo-etched parts as pre-painted. The photo-etched parts in my kit are bare brass. I'm guessing that the pre-painted parts only came in the first production run. The kit's surface detail is represented by engraved panel lines and recessed rivets. Although the surface detail is crisp and petite, the kit's short run origins are betrayed by thick sprue gates, large injection molding towers, and soft detail on some of the smaller parts. Some of the resin parts show evidence of mold wear and will benefit from a clean-up with sandpaper. Rockets and bombs and their mounting pylons from the fighter version of the kit are included. They were not carried by photo Banshees and the locator holes for the pylons on the lower surfaces of the wings should be filled, The eight assembly steps are illustrated by a 10 page instruction booklet. Oddly, the bulk of the instruction are for building the fighter version kit that is also offered by Sword Models. Only the front two and back two pages are specific to building the photo Banshee kit. It is not difficult to determine which parts should be used ir to build an F2H-2P, but including incorrect instructions adds needless potential for confusion. The decals are printed by Techmod and two marking options are provided. Both options are for aircraft painted Gloss Sea Blue overall. One option is for a USN VC-61 aircraft flying off of the USS Yorktown in 1953-54. This aircraft has an orange fin top and orange bordered by white wing tip tank noses. The other option is for a USMC VMJ-1 aircraft stationed at Pohang, Korea in 1952. This aircraft has a red fin top bordered in white and a black nose followed by a white band followed by red flash bordered in white. This aircraft also has a large number of white mission markers on both sides of the fuselage under the cockpit.


The Sword Models 1/72 McDonnell F2H-2P appears to be a reasonable kit of an unsung hero of the Korean War. It certainly is more complex and has more detail than the 40+ year old Airfix kit. However, the Sword kit's detail and short run nature will certainly make it a more challenging build than the Airfix kit. Recommended to anyone with a few short run kits under their belt.

Rob Hart

April 2024

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