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F2H-2/2P Banshee

Kitty Hawk Models 1/48 F2H-2/2P Banshee Quick Build Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2016 Manufacturer Kitty Hawk Models
Subject F2H-2/2P Banshee Scale 1/48
Kit Number 80131 Primary Media Styrene, photo-etch
Pros Nice details and options Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $59.95

Quick Build Review

Here is Step One - the cockpit tub. Note that there is no control stick here as the one provided in the kit was malformed and what was on the sprue tree disintegrated when removed. The rear cockpit bulkhead has visible ejector pin marks that you'll want to fill before assembly. The left cockpit sidewall curves inward around the side console which is also curved to match. The right cockpit console does not curve to match the sidewall so it had to be modified to allow the sidewall to fit. The rear deck has been left off this assembly until this tub is installed into the fuselage so we get good alignment. Note that there is a clear part that installs on the rear deck which the instructions say should be GP11, the graphic is correct but the part number is GP10.

F2H-2/2P Banshee

Step 2, the 'nose gear cabin'. The nose gear door hinges that mount on the well sidewalls work fine if they're properly formed, but one of mine was short shot just like the control stick. The nose gear strut assembly is seven parts including the one-piece wheel. This seems to be over-complicated but to make matters worse, the vertical hinge arms C53/C56 have holes to mount the nosewheel fork and tabs to mount to the end of the nosewheel strut. Unfortunately, there are no receiver holes for those tabs on the strut so I had to remove the tabs and take a guess on placement.

F2H-2/2P BansheeF2H-2/2P Banshee

In Step 3, the fuselage halves come together. Remove the fuselage halves from the sprue trees, clean up the sprue tab remnants, and then spend some extra time on every edge to remove mold flash. This kit seems to have lots of flash for a new tool and one bit of flash will foul up the fit. Even after I went over the halves carefully, I still missed two spots of flash, so take your time. The right fuselage half has the pitot boom molded to the vertical stabilizer so take care not to knock that off. You might want to put a notch into the left half of the vertical stabilizer as the kit doesn't provide one and the tail bulges around the pitot boom.

The arresting hook is a two-piece assembly with a mating tab on C20 but no corresponding mounting hole on C16. To make matters even stranger, there are hinges on the end of the tail hook 'Y' but no mounting pins in the tail hook well C55. Instead, this is all covered up by door C2.

Despite the tailhook glitch, the fuselage halves go together almost perfectly (it would have been perfect if I'd noticed the lack of the slot in the left-side tail for the pitot boom and fixed it before starting to glue up the fuselage halves.

F2H-2/2P BansheeF2H-2/2P BansheeF2H-2/2P Banshee

Steps 4 and 5 build up the main gear struts. The pins on the gear struts are a different diameter than the holes on the gear doors so they don't fit.

F2H-2/2P Banshee

In Step 6, we assemble the gun compartment and nose. I started with the 20mm ammo cans and discovered a flashback to the Kittyhawk 1/48 F-35B build - female-to-female joins. Looking at the next ammo can assembly and it had male-to-male joins. Avoiding the politically incorrect analogies, I used the following combination of parts to assemble the cans: B16/B31/B20, B15/B30/B19, B26/B29/B18, B27/B28/B17. Install these to the frame as shown in the instruction diagrams and all is well. The gun assembly mounts to the nose perfectly. Excellent fit!

F2H-2/2P BansheeF2H-2/2P Banshee

I opted to build the access doors closed to see if they'd fit and they almost do, I think the one small gap was me and not the kit. Like the gun assembly, the nose assembly fits over the guns and onto the nose nicely. Only a touch of filler will be required. Note: the instructions do not mention ballast and as I found after completing this model, the F2H-2 requires about 8 grams of ballast in the nose to keep it from sitting on its tail. The F2H-2P has that heavy camera pallet so it should need less ballast should you opt for a recce bird.

F2H-2/2P BansheeF2H-2/2P Banshee

Step 7 builds up the photo reconnaissance nose of the F2H-2P and as I mentioned in my first look at the kit, it is a shame that there is no way to show off this detail once the nose is assembled as there are no access doors or other access provided in the kit. You can see in the first image that the sensor pallets are assembled and ready for final assembly in the nose. The camera windows don't fit. They're beveled to drop into the corresponding openings in the nose but they are not a drop-fit out of the box. I'm sure you can fine tune each of the ten windows to get there, I simply got them close and pressed on.

F2H-2/2P Banshee

Putting the nose halves together is a bit of a challenge. The forward pallet with the forward-looking camera sits on a mount molded into each nose half but if you glue it into one side, it may not align with the other side when you bring the halves together. I decided to glue the nose halves together, use tweezers to snap the forward pallet into its mounts, a long brush to carefully apply cement, then insert the large pallet and repeat the process. It worked.

F2H-2/2P Banshee

In Steps 8 and 9 of the F2H-2 build, the port and starboard engines are assembled. It is worth noting that one potential fit hazard is the ejector pin stubs like those inside the engine casing halves. You'll find these on various parts throughout the kit and are easy to remove. The instructions have you glue the intakes onto the engine fronts but don't do it yet. There is no alignment key/pin to help orient the intakes properly and you'll have a heck of a time if they dry before you assemble the wings. I skipped ahead to Step 10 to get the lower wing center section (part A7) and use it to orient the intakes. Before you start, take care to remove all of the mold flash off of A7 so you won't have any assembly obstructions.

F2H-2/2P BansheeF2H-2/2P Banshee

There are two tabs on the bottom of each engine that plug into slots on the lower wing center section. Plug each engine into their wing location and set the intake assembly in place where it aligns with the wing intake opening and snaps onto the front of the engine face. When you're happy, glue them together and onto the lower wing half.

F2H-2/2P Banshee

In Step 10 of the F2H-2 build, you've got both engines installed and the two main wheel well inserts.

F2H-2/2P Banshee

Step 11 is where come caution is required. Here you install the flap wells that surround the rear engine sections. One of these did not want to fit so I tried the other one which did fit and showed me what I should be seeing with the first one. After a little fiddling, they were both installed. The instructions mention installing wing inserts (B41/B44) for the Close option, what they mean is you need to install these if you're displaying your model with the wings folded.

F2H-2/2P Banshee

In Step 12, the upper halves of the wings are installed and again, it takes a little fiddling to get the intakes, tailpipes, flap wells, etc., all in alignment but then that moment happens and I hit the seams with glue. Before I even get a chance to take a photo, I wanted to test the wing/fuselage joint to make sure I wasn't going to have a problem. This is the first time I've seen this type of wing/fuselage joint and when it simply snapped into place, I applied glue before it changed its mind.

F2H-2/2P BansheeF2H-2/2P Banshee

Since joining the wing center section and the fuselage was Step 14, I went back to Step 13 and installed the flaps and fairings on the underside of the wing center section. Step 15 wants to install the windscreen and canopy, but these will go on in the final steps.

Step 16 installs the horizontal stabilizers and these mount with no issues, just be sure that they are perpendicular to the vertical stabilizer.

F2H-2/2P Banshee

Steps 17 and 18 build up the outer wing sections. You can discard parts B42/B43 if you're leaving the wings in flight position as these plug the opening when the wings are folded. I assembled the left wing first (Step 17) per the instructions and I opted to depict the dive brakes closed. The instructions would have you assemble the wing halves first, then insert the plugs top and bottom for the speed brake slots. Unfortunately, there is no way to keep the plugs from falling into the slots. When I did this on the right wing, I inserted the plugs and then glued from behind and allowed them to dry flush to the wing surface before assembling the wing halves.

The next instruction glitch comes with the wingtip tanks. They say that A1/A2 and A10/A11 go together but you'll find that familiar female on female and male on male situation again. You can easily sort that out and assemble the halves. The tanks slip onto the wingtip with no locators for position/alignment. You'll have to look at pictures in the F2H Banshee in Detail and Scale to see how to orient them.

F2H-2/2P BansheeF2H-2/2P Banshee

Step 19 reveals the most unfortunate part of the model - here is where we mount the outer wing panels to the model. If your wings are folded, you won't have any issues. Since I wanted to pose mine ready to fly, I dry-fit the wing panels to the wing center section and on the plus side, the chord and camber aligned nicely between the inner and outer sections. On the down side, there is no mechanical join for this assembly - you simply butt-join the outer wing panels to the center section and hope for the best. I did, and when I took photos of the completed model, I saw that the outer wing panels not only did not have a dihedral, they actually drooped a degree or two. That got the model back onto the bench and the wing panels removed.

The solution is simple enough, I used a strip of Evergreen styrene on the lower wing edge on each side, then glued the wings back on. The addition of the styrene 'shim' on the lower edges added the needed dihedral back into the wings.

Step 20 covers the installation of the folded wings.

Steps 21, 22, and 23 install the main gear, doors, antennas, weapons pylons and external stores. I installed the main landing gear and set the model on its landing gear. It is a tail sitter. The instructions don't mention ballast, but I tried 4 grams to no avail, but 8 grams and the model rests on its nose gear. You won't need as much with the recce nose, but you'll want to leave the nose removable until you can do a proper weight and balance so you can add weights if needed.

F2H-2/2P BansheeF2H-2/2P Banshee

Steps 21, 22, and 23 install the main gear, doors, antennas, weapons pylons and external stores. I installed the main landing gear and set the model on its landing gear. It is a tail sitter. The instructions don't mention ballast, but I tried 4 grams to no avail, but 8 grams and the model rests on its nose gear. You won't need as much with the recce nose, but you'll want to leave the nose removable until you can do a proper weight and balance so you can add weights if needed.

One final note on the weapons pylons. You'll notice that the mounting pins on the pylons and the corresponding holes are 'D' shaped. They are keyed so they're (almost) fool-proof to make installation easy. This is a nice bit of engineering to wrap up the model.

F2H-2/2P BansheeF2H-2/2P Banshee

F2H-2/2P BansheeF2H-2/2P Banshee

F2H-2/2P BansheeF2H-2/2P Banshee

For me, the highlight of this model is the innovative wing-fuselage joint. The fit of most of the other major assemblies is also notably great. The challenging part of the model was the installation of the outer wings because the butt join is rather sloppy and discovering that the outer wings had a slight anhedral was even worse. At least this was easily fixable. The instructions do need more work.

So there you have it: the first decent F2H Banshee in 1/48 scale. It didn't take rocket surgery nor brain science to build and the results are worth it. If you're wanting to add a 1/48 F2H-2 to your collection, this is the kit you've been waiting for as long as you approach it as a limited production model and not as a Tamiyagawa-type kit.

My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!

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