Collect Aire 1/48 F2H-2P Banshee Kit Build Review
By Fotios Rouch
|Date of Review||August 2006||Manufacturer||Collect Aire|
|Subject||McDonnell F2H-2P Banshee||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||4827||Primary Media||Resin/White Metal|
|Pros||Nicest F2H in 1/48 scale (only F2H in 1/48 scale)||Cons||Bubbles in resin parts|
|Skill Level||Expert||MSRP (USD)||$119.95|
Look here for an in-box review.
I have had the three Banshees safely stored in my air-conditioned closet for some years now as they were awaiting their turn in the production queue. The big decision was which variant to do first. I chose to do the -2P variant first just because of the photo nose look. I plan to park it next to the Collect-Aire F9F-8P when it is all done. Another thing is that I like my Navy jets in gray/white. This F2F-2P is going to be a gray/white reserves bird with the obligatory orange stripe. It should look eye catching enough.
As with all resin kits the first thing that needs to be done is get the resin parts washed well with a strong degreasing agent like 409. The parts were towel dried and were put aside for the next stage.
Next step was to dry fit the parts and see how the fit was. I admit that I cheated here. I opened up all the three Banshee kits that I have and looked through all the parts to find what fit the best with what part. It ended up that a fuselage from the second kit that I bought fit best with the photo nose from the first Banshee I bought way back then. Similarly, the wings and the intakes came from a mix and match as well. The latest purchased Banshee kit was not used at all as a part donor because it is done in a different creamy color resin that appears to shrink less and therefore it is slightly bigger that the old caramel color resin Banshees.
Once I had figured out what parts seemed to fit the best with one another I started the painting process for the cockpit parts. Nothing fancy here with just simple black overall colors and highlights to bring out the details. The ejection seat side rails were carefully drilled out to represent the lightening holes that are present but are depicted as depressions. The cockpit floor was inserted into the fuselage and then the instrument coaming was glued in place.
The nose was carefully sanded down at the attachment points and very carefully glued in place with slow curing cyano glue. This was the first area that really looked that would need careful sanding and puttying. The nose circumference is not matching very well with the receiving fuselage area. Also time needs to be spent in sanding out the big ridge that resulted from the mold casting.
The wings and intakes were carefully sanded and glued to the fuselage. Even though they were cherry picked out of three kits, they still need a lot of sanding and puttying. I used cyano glue and kicker to fill the big gaps left between the intakes and wings. I sanded the joint with a wet sanding stick immediately after I used the zap kicker and before the glue had a chance to get really hard.
The tail wing was attached to the fuselage and it fit reasonably well. The tail, as it was expected needed work to fit over the tail wing but it still left a big gap that would require putty. I elected to prime the model first so the flaws would come out more clearly.
Sure enough the primer showed all the work that would need to be done. The primer also made obvious all the pinholes that would need careful filling. To fix the tail joint I used 3M Acryl Red again for this project and a brush that I dipped in paint thinner. The thinner softened the putty and made it flow easily into the gaps.
It was now time for the first sanding just to get an idea how things were looking so far. As I expected one more primer layer would be necessary and more putty too.
For the pinholes I used a brush and Mr Primer 500. The liquid primer grabbed on the rough primed surface really well and with two applications it looked like it did the job.
I also took the initiative to lighten up the heavy handed panel lines on top of the fuselage. I did that by running Mr Primer 500 with a brush until they barely showed through.
At this stage the wingtip tanks were surface prepped and attached to the wings. I am not very sure about the look of the tank surface detail not because it is inaccurately scribed but because the tank access points appear to be discrepant with the photos as to their location.
The final inspection for surface blemishes and pinholes finally came out clean and the green light was given to proceeding to the paint shop.
Painting & Finishing
I first shot the white color using Testors Modelmaster paints. I use Insignia White but added some RLM 21 to it just to get the scale effect I desired. I diluted the whites with 50% thinner by volume and shot it at about 10psi. I also free handed the control surfaces on the top of the model.
The detail parts were also airbrushed with the same paint mixture. The tires were first painted black and then the wheels were airbrushed white busing a draftsman’s template. Using a draftsman’s template is easy. Select the cutout that matches the wheel diameter, mask the adjacent opening to avoid overspray and then use your gravity fed airbrush and shoot straight down the template opening. The result looks good and there is no overspray or corrections needed. Another good thing is that the airbrush stream will not feel completely all the wheel pattern details and a better 3-D effect will be had for no extra effort.
The paint was left to dry for a day under constant airflow from garage fan. The next day the top control surfaces were masked and standard Modelmaster gloss Light Gull Gray was used for the top coat. I free handed the side demarcations as per the pictures. The paint was also left to dry overnight under the fan.
In the mean time the vacuform canopy was taken out of its bag and was trimmed slowly and carefully out of its carrier sheet. I also elected to cut it open so I could pose the canopy in the open position and give a little more life to the completed model. The clear parts were washed with dish detergent and water. It was allowed to air dry and then it was dipped in Future. Future does make a big difference with clear parts. The vacuformed parts were allowed to dry overnight in dust free box. The end result is very much worthwhile and canopy looks very nice.
A lot of masking was necessary to get the Banshee ready for its natural metal leading edges and jet exhausts. I used Tamiya masking tape and artist's low tack masking tape. For the leading edges I used Alclad II Aluminum and for the exhausts I used Alclad II Dark Aluminum and I could just as easily have used a steel shade. I used a few light mists first and then later I used a little heavier coat. I just wanted to make sure that Alclad would not attack the Testors Model master paint underneath.
When the metal paint was dry, about 20 minutes, I removed the masking tape and admired the always trouble-free and great-looking metal sheen of Alclad II.
Next I moved on to the process of covering the camera bays with clear plastic. The instructions correctly tell you to do all that before painting the model. Somehow I did not catch this detail until after I had painted the Banshee! This meant that I had to be very careful in cutting the provided clear plastic so I would need a minimum of filling-in the seams. The instructions provide templates and this is fine but you really need to trim things on your own and use the instructions as a good guideline instead. This process took me about a day of trimming sanding and test fitting. The clear plastic was dipped in Future and after it was dry it was glued in place with jeweler's clear glue. The tiny gaps were smoothed out with white glue and a wet Q-tip.
The next step was the masking of the camera bay windows. The instructions provide templates again that indicate the size of the camera windows. I needed sharp and clearly defined masks for this step. What came to mind is the very nice Black Magic masks from Meteor. Now Meteor never made anything for the Banshee but what they do is offer plenty of material in their regular line. I think it was the Hasegawa Oscar mask kit that I used for this project.
I first cut out the templates from the instructions using a sharp X-Acto blade. I placed the templates on the model and judged if they needed further trimming. Then I placed the masks over the Black Magic mask and with the help of a metal sharp edge I trimmed out new masks for the Banshee camera bay windows. I carefully placed them over the clear plastic and proceeded to spray the model with white and then with gray paint again. The paint covered the clear plastic well and the masks will remain on until the completion of the model.
Lots of masking took place next in order to outline the black radome and the anti-glare panel. Also the intake lip areas were masked in preparation for receiving their red paint.
After the black and red paint had dried, all the masking tape was removed and the model was inspected for any signs of runaway spray marks.
The next step was to fit and glue the front portion of the canopy. It fit OK and it needed only a few drops of non smell cyano glue which has the added advantage of fogging clear parts much less than the more aggressive fast drying cyanoacrylate glues.
At this stage the landing gear has been attached and all the other small parts such as landing gear doors, arresting hook, tail bump and some small antennas.
The vac front canopy is painted and what is left to do is the main canopy and the ejection seat.
During the next stage the decals will be designed fitted and printed as per the only photo I have found of this aircraft.
With all of the Banshee painting out of the way and with some other projects completed it was time to get back into it. The next job was to print my own decals for the VU-1 squadron that I wanted to for my photo Banshee.
I use my inkjet printer and Bell Inc. decal paper. Inkjets are OK for black decals since black is pretty opaque and the underlying color does not show through.
Doing the decals was pretty simple and the only task is to print them first on paper and cut them to see how they would fit the model. Next they get printed on decal paper and once the ink is really dry I spray a coat of Microscale decal solution and it is all done. The decals go down on the model easy enough but there is still no comparison with professionally made decals.
The rest of the decals came from the spares box and were matched to the photos of gray/white photo Banshees of the same era.
The model was sprayed with semi-gloss Testors varnish and once dry it was lightly weathered with pastels. Lastly the Black Magic vinyls were carefully removed to reveal the camera bay windows.
The clear parts were cleaned up with a q-tip dipped in Goo-Gone so no tape residue would be marring the clear parts. Goo-Gone works very well with "Futured" canopies and clear parts and leaves them very shiny and free of tape gum.
The last step was to touch up the positional lights with clear Tamyia paint.
The model looks good for its age. It captures the lines of the Banshee well. I am not sure how long it will be before we see an injected one but for now I am happy to have this aircraft in my display case.
The model is recommended to modelers that have built resin kits before and have plenty of time to devote to one project.