Built Review
USN F2H-3 "VF-41 Black Aces"
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by: Kevin Brant [ SGTRAM ]


The F2H Banshee, developed by McDonnell after WW2, has been used by both the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps, as well as the Royal Canadian Navy. The aircraft was used from 1948 to 1961, seeing action during the Korean War. The second most built variant was the F2H-3 that increased the length of the fuselage, redesigned tail, and increased fuel capacity.

A new release from Academy Models covers the F2H-3, which is a second release from Academy and includes new decals.


3 Plastic sprues
1 Clear Plastic sprue
1 Sheet of Decals
2 Instruction Sheets


Opening the box I was pleasantly pleased with what I saw, the kit from Academy with what looks to be well molded in light grey plastic. The kit does have engraved panel lines, though maybe a little wide, they still look good. There are not many pieces, shown by only three sprues in the box, meaning it should be a rather quick build. On the parts them-self, I found little to no flash, no sink marks, and what looks to be no visible ejector marks to show after assembly.

As for the details, the cockpit is a little sparse, but does include decals for the instrumentation. Also the inside of the landing gear bays is not detailed at all, thought the landing gear itself does look rather nice. The jet intake and exhausts are nicely detailed on the interior with good surface details.

For under wing store, there are two rockets per wing included, unfortunately they look just a tad "blobbish" with weak details, but the wing tip drop tanks do look to be well done.

The instructions look to be well laid out with ten steps, easy to follow, especially with the low part count. A separate sheet include many of the painting and marking schemes, which there are a good number, including some for Royal Canadian Navy fans.

  • VF-41 "Black Aces", USS Bennington, 1956
  • VF-31 "Tomcatters" USS Ticonderoga, 1956
  • VF-52 "Knightriders", USS Ticonderoga, 1958
  • VMF-214 "Black Sheep", 1957
  • VF-870, Royal Canadian Navy, RCNAS Shearwater, 1956
  • VF-870, Royal Canadian Navy, HMCS Bonaventure, 1958
  • VF-871, Royal Canadian Navy, HMCS Bonaventure, 1958

The decal sheet is large to cover all the option, and is printed by Cartograph. The colors are well done, and all look to be in register.


The assembly began like most aircraft, with the cockpit. Only a few parts, so quick to build. For the seat with the lack of restraints, I added a couple pieces of 1mm tape, which through the canopy will look fine. The kit instructions stated Zinc Green for the interior, which I used as I did not have any good reference images for the RCN version. I also added a little Deluxe Products Liquid Gravity to keep the nose down when displayed.

The fuselage fit was very good, just a little putty and sanding to hide the seam. With only the cockpit sandwiched by the two halves, it went together very easy. The wings also went together real easy. The jet engine intake and engine parts were painted with Vallejo Metal colors prior to fitting in between the halves. The fit of the wings to the fuselage is also very good, easy to line up due to the depth of the wing root. It should be noted that if you plan to fit the rockets, you will need to drill the holes in the wings prior to assembly.

Doing the Royal Canadian Navy scheme, I picked two Vallejo greys, probably wrong, but they provided the effect. The Cartograf decals went on very nice, as usual, and settled down in the panel lines well with little Solvaset.

The landing gear was painted with Vallejo Metal, and attached easily.

While just a quick build with lack of references, I was pleasantly surprised with the overall fit and easy of assembly. Even though some of the details are soft, it does produce a nice looking aircraft.


Overall this is a nice little kit of the F2H-3 from Academy. While some of the details are soft, it builds into a nice little plane. You folks with better aircraft skills then me could easily turn this into a little masterpiece. The great select of markings should make this an attractive kit for Navy flier fans. I would definitely recommend this kit, even for beginners with the simplicity.
Highs: Simple build, great fit, great marking options
Lows: Some details a little soft, including landing gear bays and cockpit
Verdict: A nice little plane, great option for beginner or a canvas for expert builder to detail. Highly recommended
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: 12548
  PUBLISHED: Feb 16, 2018
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to MRC!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Kevin Brant (SgtRam)

I am an IT Consultant and father, with a passion for plastic models. I mostly prefer 1/35 Armor and 1/48 Aircraft. My main interests are anything Canadian, as well as WW2 German and British Armor and Aircraft. I have been building models since I was a young kid, got away from it for awhile, but r...

Copyright 2021 text by Kevin Brant [ SGTRAM ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


The biggest problem with this kit is that they copied the -2 nose gear leg from the Airfix kit and missed the slightly important point that the -3's leg is longer. This is what gives the model its unrealistic nose-down attitude when completed. The leg needs to be lengthened by about 4 or 5 mm to be accurate. F2H-2: F2H-3:
FEB 15, 2018 - 09:06 PM
Jess Thanks, I wish they would have included the decals for the wing tanks. And yeah my choice of greys was way off, I am guessing Paint4Models let me down this time for FS colors . I might pick up another and do it all up right. I did like the kit. Kevin
FEB 15, 2018 - 09:15 PM
Your underside grey might stand to be a trifle lighter, but I don't trust the colour values in that photo I linked; I think they're way off reality. You got it closer than the photo did The more I look at those two photos, the more I think that the problem is the nose wheel fork. In the -2 it's almost horizontal, and in the -3, it's closer to vertical. The difference must lie in the shock absorber strut rather than the length of the nose strut. In the -3 it's either longer, or kept at higher pressure which forces the fork to tip further down.
FEB 15, 2018 - 09:43 PM
Well I think you have done a very good build straight out of the box Kevin. Nicely done tim
FEB 16, 2018 - 04:22 AM
Nice clean build Kevin, looks really nice. Great review as well. Andy
FEB 16, 2018 - 04:41 AM
Kevin, Thanks for the review. I love your "Banjo!" She looks better in RCAF colors than in USN. (Did I really say that!? ) I want a Banshee so I am glad to see this review.
FEB 16, 2018 - 08:57 AM

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