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F2H-2/2P Banshee

Kitty Hawk Models 1/48 F2H-2/2P Banshee Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 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

First Look


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.

Kitty Hawk Models had announced the F2H series in their product line-up not long after they began producing model kits, so this has been a long-anticipated kit for many modelers. This isn't the first F2H available in 1/48 scale as many will remember the Testors kit which was really an empty shell that was more like an F2H-1 despite all of the markings to the contrary. CollectAire also offered the F2H in resin, but resin kits have their own limitations as did some of CollectAire's kits. This new kit from Kitty Hawk is really the first injection-molded kit of the F2H-2 and the first of the subject developed in many years.

As with previous Kitty Hawk releases, this kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and one fret of photo-etched parts. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Options for gun-nosed F2H-2 or reconnaissance-nosed F2H-2P
  • Detailed ejection seat with photo-etched pilot restraints
  • Nice cockpit tub with decals providing instrument panel and side console details
  • Positionable canopy
  • Detailed gun bay
  • Positionable gun bay access panels
  • Detailed recce nose bay (no access doors)
  • Nice engine details though these won't be seen after assembly
  • Positionable outer wing panels
  • Positionable speed brakes
  • Positionable flaps

Among the external store options in this kit:

  • 2 x bombs
  • 4 x rockets
  • 2 x wingtip tanks

Four marking options are provided for this kit:

  • F2H-2, 125068, VF-11, T/116, USS Kearsarge
  • F2H-2, 124978, 978, MCAS El Toro
  • F2H-2P, 125687, VMJ-1, MW/3
  • F2H-2P, 128870, VMJ-1, YW/4

Compared to previous releases, this kit isn't overcomplicated and with the exception of the engine casings, it doesn't waste time with details that will not be seen after assembly. We'll get this kit onto the bench to see how well the model assembles and fits, but so far this kit has promise and leaves room for aftermarket detail possibilities for the AMS modeler.

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