Building Monogram’s 48th Scale Vought OS2U Kingfisher
The Kingfisher took to the air in 1938 and quickly became the Navy’s eyes of the fleet on any ship that had a catapult. I was fortunate enough to hear a talk given by one of the few who flew this aircraft and still remember some of his recollections to this day.
Did you ever wonder what happens when a reconnaissance seaplane returns to the designated co-ordnance to meet the ship and the ship is not there? Well they begin to fly a grid pattern while waiting for their ride to return until they run out of fuel.
Landing on the open sea is not like landing in a sheltered harbor. The ship usually has to create a calm area by making a turn and leaving a relatively flat area of water in the lee of the ship. Flying directly at the ship the pilot has very little space to get the plane down on the water.
When the ship is not there, the pilot has to ditch, timing his touch down on the backside of a wave trough if possible. The speaker related how difficult this was to accomplish, and in his case the plane nosed over and sank, leaving him and his gunner to get into their life raft and hope someone comes looking for them. In this case a destroyer was dispatched and was able to locate them. This was not always the case.
The Monogram kit of the Kingfisher has been found in hobby shops for many, many years, and is still a findable kit today on E-Bay. Over time, the aftermarket produced lots of resin replacement parts, as well as PE sets, to improve those few errors that arose with the kit and add detail as reference material improved. For years the Monogram kit was the only game in town.
Modelers like me, striving for perfection with this old favorite purchased these products, increasing one’s original investment in the project by a considerable amount. The days of purchasing a different decal sheet and building the model out of the box soon disappeared if competition was your goal.
I built this model a few years ago during the years when resin manufacturers were producing incredibly accurate detail sets, and I was very excited to put everything that was available at the time into this model. The canopies had to be vacuum formed of course if one wanted canopies to be open, due to the thickness of the clear parts. Next came the complete resin interior for both the cockpit and the radio/gunner’s area. The corrected length main float came next, which was a big hunk of resin to say the least.
I plumbed the engine, scratched the float rudder assembly and rear wheel. Seat belts were added, the rudder was repositioned, the beaching gear was detailed and a gun sight was added to the rear gun. Guitar string material was used for the float supports and Modelmaster enamels where used to paint the before the war scheme. Monofilament antenna finished the project.
This was an enjoyable build.
4 additional images. Click to enlarge.