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F2H-2 Banshee on USS Essex Korean War Diorama

Updated: Mar 14, 2020


This photo was the inspiration for creating the diorama using the 1/48th scale Kitty Hawk F2H-2/2P Banshee with my Rieth Creations Resin Correction Set.

I found it a very interesting juxtaposition ("primitive" to 1950s modern), how the men were working to strip and clean the 20mm cannons, propped up on ammo cans, on the deck of the aircraft carrier, out in the elements of winter, off the coast of South Korea.

Years ago, I had bought the Tamiya WWII U.S. Navy Pilots with Mototug. I always thought it was implausible to have a mission briefing on the deck of the aircraft carrier and not in the Ready Room, so I put it in the stash. For this scene, I had to modify the Naval Aviators, which were wearing WW2 tropical flight suits and "Mae West" life vests, and make them Korean War Aviation Ordnancemen in winter clothes and repositioned their arms.

I built the mototug, painted it yellow and weathered it, as I had seen in newsreel footage. I added the black non-slip areas from a Testors mylar sanding sheet The driver had rolled up sleeves, so I made wire rings for his wrists and made a long sleeve coat using thick super glue.

The F2H-2 Banshee was built as described in other blog posts. Furball Colorful F2H-2/2P Sea Blue Banshees decals for VF-172 were used.

I created the Banshee Resin Correction Set to correct shape inaccuracies of the plastic kit.

I super-detailed the cockpit with canopy rails and the canopy retract mechanism with parts that I designed and laser cut.

This photo shows the corrected center upper wing and intake of the resin correction set to good effect. Some kit fuselage engraved panel lines had to be filled and rescribed in a lower location.

The kit has 2 boxes on the rear gun bay station frame (not on actual aircraft) that put the cannons too far forward and didn't have the equipment shelf, so I corrected the gun bay and added equipment, including the nose framing and loop antenna.

The empennage was corrected by lowering the height of the vertical stabilizer, rudder and moving the horizontal stabilizer to the proper position. The vertical stabilizer to fuselage join line was reshaped.

The base was made from 1/16" basswood sheet and I laser cut the lines for the planking. I created a CAD file for the hold down strips and laser cut them from .010" paper stock. The hold down strips were glued to styrene channel. Look for this option where you buy picture frames.

The metal frame was bought at Hobby Lobby, which sells them in sets of 2 pieces with mitered corners in various lengths. Mine are 17" x 10". They also sell the corner miter connector parts. No cutting needed.

UPDATE: Shout out to the Northshore Scale Modelers for putting on a great Autumncon 2019.

I also want to thank the judges for rewarding the hard work and effort that I put into correcting the Kitty Hawk F2H-2 Banshee and placing it in a custom, scratch built diorama. The diorama was awarded a 1st Place in Dioramas, Best Diorama and the Best Navy/Marine Corps Subject. I was surprised and honored to receive such recognition.

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