LíArsenal 1/400
Vought 156 F Aircraft upgrade set
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Reviewed by Felix Bustelo
 The Vought 156 F is essentially the French version of the SB2U-2 Vindicator bomber/scout plane manufactured in between 1936 and 1941 for the United States Navy and Marine Corps.   With the war in Europe impending, Vought looked to that continent for export sale possibilities.  The French government was impressed with the demonstration and they placed a contract for 20 aircraft under the designation V-156-F for the French Navy in February 1939.

While based on the earlier SB2U-2, the V-156-F featured a number of changes to meet the needs of the French Navy, most of which were internal.  External differences included replacing the .30-caliber machine-guns with French Darne 7.5-mm machine guns and wing-mounted fence-type dive brakes, which were originally rejected by the U.S. Navy.   

The French placed an additional order for 20 V-156-Fís in May 1939 and in July of that year the first V-156-Fís arrived in LeHavre. Escadrille AB1 on the carrier Bearn was the first French unit to fly theV-156-F.  When the carrier was declared obsolete for war service, her squadrons were moved ashore.   The V-156-Fís planes saw action in the early years of the war, including providing coverage during the Dunkirk evacuation, with the surviving aircraft flying their final mission on August 30, 1940.  Four V-156-Fís are credited with sinking an Italian submarine twenty miles off Albenga, Italy.

The Vought 156 F is another addition to the LíArsenal line of 1/400 scale resin and photoetch aircraft.  Like most of the other packets, you are provided with enough parts to build a total of five 156 Fís.  The fuselage and wings are cast as a single part.  Two sprues of 5 main landing gear wheels are done in resin. The casting is very well done, with a great level of detail.  Casting film needs to be trimmed off of the main aircraft parts and some minor sanding and clean up is required. The small photoetch set provides twin-bladed propellers, the main landing gear struts and wheels and the tail landing gear and wheels.  You are given the option of using the one-piece photoetched main landing gear and wheel or, if it strikes your fancy, you can clip off the photoetched wheels and substitute them with a resin version.  Locator holes are present on the underside of the wings for placement of the struts. Click images
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The assembly instructions are provided on a small insert in the ziplock bag in which the parts are packaged.  The brief instructions are written in French but the blowup diagram clearly shows the placement of the photoetch and resin parts. French roundels and markings are available on a separate decal sheet (Item # AC 400-08).
LíArsenalís Vought 156 F set will be included as a bonus in the first 300 kits sold of their forthcoming Bearn aircraft carrier, but will be available separately as well.  You can use these to model the Bearn in 1939 or you can use them to model U.S. Navy or Marine Corps SB2U-2 Vindicators if you so desire. No matter what you will use them for, they will look great. I would like to extend my thanks to Jacques Druel for providing this review sample. Click the logo on the right to visit their website.


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