Build Report: Revell’s 1/48 OS2U Kingfisher

Many modelers I know joke that they are more model starters than actually modelers. One friend told me he had well over forty kits in some stage of completion, but hadn’t actually completed a kit in 10 years. That’s one of the reasons I like to stick to my motto of “build it like a kid”. As a kid, I could not have imagined not finishing a model- generally in the same day (or at least week) that I bought it.

Now that I’m an adult (at least in age), I may take a little longer to build models, but not too much longer. As evidence I present this Revell 1/48 Kingfisher, reviewed just a few weeks ago. Of course, it’s not a contest, and I certainly don’t try to build fast. It just happens that way. 🙂

The kit is the re-issue of the old Monogram kit. Two markings options are included, as are options for the float and land version of the aircraft.

Having found a really cool picture of an Alaska-based Kingfisher on wheels…. well, mostly, as it had ground looped, I decided to build my model in those markings. I did contact some folks regarding the aircraft, as it had some rather unusual markings and paint, but I was not able to get any additional information beyond the picture. So call this a “best guess”. It’s not an exact replica, I know, but it’s certainly close enough to count as an “homage”. 😉

I considered buying an aftermarket set for the cockpit, but decided to go out of the box because the kit parts weren’t as bad as some descriptions I had read, and, more importantly, it was cheaper to go it on kit parts alone.

Because I was doing the landplane version, I started the build off by sawing away the central float. Careful use of a razor saw, and some sanding sticks, took care of this quickly. (I did keep the float parts…. never know the ‘what-if” that may result!)

Building and painting the interior presented no problems. I used a homemade mix for the interior green. I buy a bottle of Tamiya green-yellow, which is a zinc-chromate yellow color, and simply add some flat black in to the bottle until it’s to my liking, and there you are- interior green for US aircraft. It’s not exact, but it works.

Because the lower wing is a single piece that passes through the fuselage, you need to insert the assembled wing into one fuselage side, then slide the other fuselage side on to it, gluing things shut. Prior to doing this, you’ll want to have the wing fully assembled and sanded.

One thing I found out too late- don’t glue the wing in until after the fuselage is glued together and dry! I sort of did it all at once, and realized only later that I’d gotten the wing slightly crooked, so it’s not quite perpendicular to the fuselage. Oh well…. lesson learned for next time.

The fit is very good, given the age of the kit. As on most old Monogram kits, you’ll need to sand the fuselage mating surfaces smooth, as there are very small ejector pins marks along the edges that hamper assembly. There was a small gap between the underside of the wing and the fuselage, but Mr. Surfacer cured that.

Having pre-drilled the holes for the landplane gear before closing the fuselage, I added the gear parts. I learned another lesson here. I should have glued on the struts that the wheels mounted to first, and let them fully dry. This way I could have made sure that they were even. Instead, I did all the parts at one time. And while it did fit fine, it was crooked. So now I have a Kingfisher with one wing slightly forward, one slightly back, and it sits crooked.

As always…. test fit. Gotta remember that. 🙂

The rest of the assembly went easily. Masking the many canopy frames took a while, but careful work pays off. The kit was painted in a variety of brands, Tamiya White on the undersides, Model Master Acryl for the Intermediate Blue, and Pollyscale US Sea Blue on the uppers. I did some post-shading with a mix of Tamiya Smoke and NATO Black, and some fading with a highly thinned Tamiya Deck Tan.

The tail striping and US insignia are from the kit decals, and the aircraft decals are from a Seafire Mk. 46/47 set.

Despite a few gaffes in construction, entirely my own faulty, I was quite happy with the build and enjoyed it immensely. While the kit is quite old, and lacking in some areas in terms of “modern” niceties…. like a more detailed cockpit, engraved panel lines, etc., it is a fun build, for not a lot of money. And it’s not a kit you see built too often, especially in the landplane version.

I highly recommend this kit to modelers of any skill level.