The Vought was the main shipboard observation aircraft used by the United States Navy during World War II. The U.S. Navy wanted to replace the standard biplane
design with a more modern monoplane one that could be used for several tasks including directing warship fire and supporting shore bombardment. The Kingfisher’s
maiden flight was on March 1, 1938 and the first 54 airframes were delivered in August 1940. In total, Vought produced 1,519 Kingfishers and it was widely used as a
shipboard, catapult-launched scout plane on U.S. Navy battleships, heavy cruisers and light cruisers during the war. The Kingfisher was a compact mid-wing
monoplane with a large central float and small stabilizing floats under the wings and powered by an air-cooled, 450hp Pratt & Whitney R-985 radial engine. The OS2U
could also operate on land with a fixed-wheeled landing gear. When needed Kingfisher could be armed for combat missions with a .30-caliber Browning M1919
machine gun manned by the pilot forward and another manned by the radio operator aft. The aircraft could also carry two 100-lb bombs or two 325-lb depth charges.
The Kingfisher was also used as a trainer and for air-sea rescue missions. The OS2U served much longer than planned and was only gradually replaced late in World
War II with the introduction of the Curtiss SC Seahawk in October 1944.

The Kit - The 1:350 scale Vought F-8 OS2U Kingfisher from L’Arsenal 2.0 comes with resin and photo-etch parts to build four aircraft packaged in a zip-lock bag.
No decals are provided. The detailed fuselages, vertical tail fins and horizontal stabilizers are well cast as one piece with a good amount of details, such as flaps and
cockpit windows. Each airplane is attached to a casting runner which is done in such a way as to prevent warping of the stabilizers and tail fins, which is a common
ailment for resin aircraft. The attachment point is very thin, so removing the runner can be done with an Exacto blade followed up with some light sanding to remove
any blemishes. The fuselage sides have slots into which the main wings are inserted to attach them. The belly has indents to which the main float supports go into. The
main wings and floats also come attached to casting runners and require some cleanup to remove resin film. The undersides of the wings have slots to accommodate
the resin bomb pylons and photo-etch wing float supports. The floats have slots to accommodate the optional landing gear supports. The smaller resin parts come on
another runner and are comprised of the wing floats, 100-lb bombs and pylons and option landing gear wheels. Again some resin film needs to be removed but
otherwise the parts are cleanly cast. The photo-etch parts include the propeller, wing float supports, main float rudders with landing wheel, antennas and optional main
landing gear, You get enough photo-etch parts to equip six aircraft, so you will have some extras in case you lose or mangle a particular part (been there done that!). If
you are going to use the Kingfishers as a shipboard airframe, then you can omit using the photo-etch main landing gear and associated resin wheels and clip the wheel
of the photo-etch rudder. Assembly instructions are provided on a paper insert that also serves as the package label and contains a blow-up diagram showing the
location of the resin and photo-etch parts and images from three different perspectives of an assembled Kingfisher. The illustrations are simple yet effective.
The Vought OS2U Kingfisher from L’Arsenal 2.0 can be used on many different 1:350 scale plastic and resin kits of United States Navy battleships and cruisers to
replace the ones that come with the kit if you are not satisfied with those. I for one will use a pair on my Banner
Arizona build in place of the kit’s versions. My
thanks to
L’Arsenal 2.0 for providing the review sample.
Felix Bustelo
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