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F2H-3 Banshee

Academy 1/72 F2H-3 Banshee Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2017 Manufacturer Academy
Subject F2H-3 Banshee Scale 1/72
Kit Number 12548 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice details, simple construction Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $24.00

First Look

F2H-3 Banshee
F2H-3 Banshee
F2H-3 Banshee

McDonnell Aircraft Company had the distinction of developing the first all-jet-powered aircraft to be operated aboard an aircraft carrier, that being the twin-engined FH Phantom. While the FH was under-powered and had limited capabilities, the aircraft provided the first real experience at operating the new jet-engine from the carrier (the hybrid-powered Ryan FR Fireball provided the first experience with the jet in flight while the radial engine was used for launch and recovery aboard ship). Even as the FH was being developed, McDonnell and the Navy had their sights set on a growth of the Phantom that could adopt more powerful engines and carry more of a combat load. This new development became the F2H Banshee which would also become the US Marine Corps' first jet-powered combat aircraft. While the F2H-1 was accepted by the US Navy, it was the F2H-2 that would be widely deployed and would also arrive in time for combat duty over Korea.

The F2H-3 was a super-sized F2H-2 with an eight-foot stretch in the fuselage that accommodated larger internal fuel tanks and the APQ-41 radar in the nose. The guns were relocated below and aft of their previous position to make room for the radar and allow for increased ammunition capacity. In addition, the wing pylons were increased to eight for a total bomb load of 3,000 pounds. This version served in the USN as well as the Royal Canadian Navy. The F2H-4 was a further update based on the F2H-3 airframe that offered higher-thrust engines and an improved radar set. This version served in the US Navy and the US Marine Corps.

Here's a nice 'blast from the past' - Academy has reissued the F2H-3 tooling with a new set of decals. This kit was issued once before in 2001 by Academy and a few times previously by Hobbycraft Canada. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees plus one tree of clear parts.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Easy assembly
  • Basic cockpit
  • Positionable canopy
  • Optional wingtip fuel tanks
  • Optional rocket loadout (four rockets on four pylons)

This release offers seven markings options:

  1. F2H-3, 126415, VF-41, I/105, USS Bennington, 1958
  2. F2H-3, unknown, VF-31, K/104, USS Ticonderoga, 1956
  3. F2H-4, 127614, VMF-214, WE/14, 1957
  4. F2H-4, 126374, VF-52, NA/208, USS Ticonderoga, 1958
  5. F2H-3, 126306, VF-870, 103, RCNAS Shearwater, 1956
  6. F2H-3, 126334, VF-870, 108, HCMS Bonaventure, 1958
  7. F2H-3, 126381, VF-871, 149, HCMS Bonaventure, 1958

This is a simple build that will look nice with any of the included decal options. The AMS modeler will know that there is at least one cockpit detail set for this kit out there. In any case, this tooling, whether in the Academy or Hobbycraft boxings, is still the only kit of this subject in this scale unless you wish to work with vacuform.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!