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Hawk / Testor's 1/48 scale
McDonnell F2H-2 Banshee

by Don Fogal


McDonnell F2H-2 Banshee


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I finished this Banshee while taking a break from my SR-71 Blackbird project. I started it about a year ago...
I started this one off with the Testors 1/48th scale kit, originally released in 1957 by Hawk Model Company. Testor then acquired the molds, and re-released it.
The 2 reviews I had read listed many inaccuracies in the kit, some were easy fixes, most were not…
After reading my references, and looking over the kit, I decided I could tackle most of the problems in similar ways to the guys whom I had read. My repairs ranged from simple fixes to major surgery. My one indispensable reference was Squadron/ Signal FH/F2H Banshee in Action, Number 182.






Anyone having built Tamiya’s F4D Skyray will recognize the new cockpit. I used some other parts from my spare parts box.

I wanted to pose the canopy open, but the canopy rails were molded on the fuselage halves. So after gluing the fuselage together, I used a sharp scribe to cut the rails free. The rails were cleaned up, the glass attached, and a new front frame was made from stock.

The whole assembly was sanded, polished and given a “Future” dip. I really couldn’t be sure about the size of the canopy, so it was left as is. I used the tape from a “P-Touch” label maker for the white stripe around the canopy glass. It was cut in to narrow strips, applied, and then secured using more Future.

I built a new nose landing gear bay, tail hook bay, and Intake splitter plates from plastic stock. For the intakes, I cut slots in the wing, parallel to the fuselage, and inserted the plastic card, then sanded them flush with the wings surface. I really should have continued, and built intake trunks, but hindsight is 20/20. All the landing gear doors are new, fashioned from stock. The kit doors were rather thick, and crude.
The pitot is new, as is the blade antenna on the belly. The tail hook is also new, compliments of the spare parts box.
The fuel tanks are moved back approximately 1/8th of an inch. They also needed to be hung lower on the wing, not centered, or parallel with the span. Position lights were added to the front of the tanks also. These were carefully cut from the tail of an old ESCI Skyraider kit, and glued in place.



The wings would have had a 1/8th inch gap between the top surface of the wing, and the fuselage if left alone. I built a new section using laminations of plastic stock, and a lot of Squadron putty.
The biggest, and main problem is with the overall dimensions of the model. For the F2H –2, the model is too short. The model measures out as a –1, approximately ¼” too short. So, being that I wanted to build this plane for my Korean War aircraft collection, I needed a –2. The actual -2 aircraft was 14 inches longer than the –1. The increase in length was to add more internal fuel space.



After reading, studying the pictures and drawings in the ‘In Action’ book, It was easy to see where the new section should be, just ahead of the wings, and aft of the cockpit. So, I cut along the appropriate panel lines, and built a new section, using more plastic stock. It worked out better than I thought it could have.



The whole model was sanded smooth, removing the raised panel lines, including the raised lines for the decals. Then the whole plane is re-scribed.



Painting and Markings


The plane was then painted with Model Master’s Gloss Dark Sea Blue, the leading edges of the wings, tanks, and tail surfaces are Aluminum. I chose the markings for VF-172, USS Essex, Korea. VF-172 was the first Banshee squadron to deploy to Korea. The markings were all picked out of my spare decal library, with the exception of the Buno. which was used from the kit. The panel lines were highlighted using a Dark Gray wash, some weathering here and there, then I sealed the plane with a Semi-Gloss, to help replicate the sun bleached, salt exposed finish.

As a fighter the Banshee wasn’t able to keep up with the new Soviet built Mig-15, so, it was used as a bomber. It excelled in this role, especially from the viewpoint of the Marines on the ground, whom where protected by Banshees acting in the close air support role.
The 20mm cannon ports in the nose were drilled out, I borrowed some 500 lbs. bombs from my A-26 Invader kit, and the pylons came from an old F9F Panther kit. So now my Banshee is armed with more than just *screams.



(* For anyone who didn’t know, McDonnell Aircraft Company, later McDonnell Douglas, kept a tradition of naming it’s aircraft after supernatural, or ethereal beings, i.e. Phantom, Banshee, Demon, Goblin.
Banshees are “apparitions” whom roam the moors, and county sides of Scotland. It is said to hear the scream of a Banshee was a evil omen, and the sounds of their screams were so loud, and horrifying, that it would scare men to near death, turning their hair white with fear.)






Now, I’m not saying my Banshee is totally accurate, but I think I captured a much closer representation after all the work was put in. I had fun with the challenges in improving what is the only injection molded 1/48th scale Banshee available.



I’m happy with it, and that’s what counts!






Jim Mesko/Squadron     FH/F2H Banshee in Action

Scott Van Aken            Modeling Madness
Steve Mesner               Modeling Madness
Darren Roberts             Aircraft Resources Center
Semper Fi, Don


Additional Images


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Model, Images & Text Copyright © 2007 by Don Fogal
Page Created 17 January, 2007
Last Updated 24 December, 2007

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