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Kitty Hawk F2H-2 Banshee

Review of Kitty Hawk blue Banshee scale model aircraft
When the U.S. Navy told McDonnell it wanted something that hit harder and flew farther than the FH-1 Phantom, the designers and engineers created the Banshee, an incredibly versatile airframe capable not only of traditional fighter roles but also tactical nuclear delivery, night and all-weather combat, and photo reconnaissance.

Kitty Hawk’s detailed F2H-2 includes optional noses to build either a fighter or photo reconnaissance Banshee, plus a terrific cockpit.

The soft plastic is delicate; I broke several small parts when removing them from the sprues and cleaning up the mold seams and flash.

The 24-page instructions were vague about placement of some parts, notably the speed brakes, and some part numbers are incorrect. Interior color callouts are correct for gray-over-white aircraft but not glossy sea blue planes. Good references will help with many of the shortcomings.

Construction begins with the multipart ejection seat. The lowest two cross members on Part C22 seem too short and make the seat appear splayed out. It’s difficult to fix, so a resin replacement may be your best option.

Don’t glue the rear bulkhead (Part B77) as shown. Instead, hold the fuselage halves together with the cockpit in place, add the rear deck (B58) to the fuselage, and then angle the bulkhead to eliminate the gaps. I trimmed the top of Part B77 to fit the canopy.

Deviating from the instructions again, I added the nose gear after construction by sliding the rear mounting pins down and between diagonal ridges on the bay’s sides. After seating those pins, I turned the front locators into position. However, adding plumbing (C25) and front door hinges afterward was challenging.

I found it difficult to remove seams from recessed sections on the ammo cans for the gun bay. But most of the gun or photo bay detail will not be visible after construction. You may choose to display the interior detail separately; that leaves more room for the 1.5 ounces of lead to keep the nose grounded. Omitting the nose’s aft bulkhead improved its fit to the fuselage.

Be careful: It’s easy to twist the thin fuselage during assembly.

To ensure alignment, I waited to glue the intake trunks to the engines until I attached them to the lower wing. Large gaps fore and aft of the wing on the lower fuselage required filler.

I added the exhaust sections during final assembly by mounting the rear fan in the pipe and gently sliding them in from underneath.

I was never able to learn if the flaps should be separate pieces, as molded, or one large section per wing. Either way, the mounts on the curved section are short. I removed the mounts and glued them directly to the wing. The flaps are too small if you close them.

I painted the instrument panel rather than using the decal. The panel shroud is correct for a recon bird but not a fighter, and no gunsight is provided.
Photos helped me configure the speed brakes, but I had difficulty sliding them through the wings.
The wing tanks lacked locators, so I used a cutting-mat grid to align them. I could have used an extra set of hands to hold the wing sections while attaching the wing-fold hinges. If building the wings extended, reinforce the joints. Then trim the ribs (parts B41, B42, B43, and B44) to fill the space in the gear wells. You may want to shim the lower wing to ensure proper dihedral — I didn’t and the wings droop on my Banshee.
The kit provides eight pylons but only two bombs and four rockets. However, this load constitutes the maximum weight for a Banshee.
Kitty Hawk provides markings for four aircraft, but the print registration was off in my samples. The decals were thick and inflexible in some areas, and covered in a milky white overspray in others. The nose decals were too small, while the tank decals were too large; I masked and painted them instead.

I spent almost 50 hours building the Banshee with wings folded, a little less on the other. The length and wingspan (without tanks) matched my references nearly perfectly. However, to my Mk.I eyeball some of the shapes seem slightly off.

Kitty Hawk’s Banshee packs a lot of detail. But fit problems and poor decals make it a kit for experienced modelers.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the April 2017 issue.


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