SB2C-4 Helldiver Academy 1/72 kit
June 30, 2014 in Aviation
It has been a while since I have posted and I have finally finished a kit to offer. My two WIP albums haven’t changed but I did finish my first aircraft kit since childhood and thought I would put it up to show my highs and lows and open it up for comments and advice. It is an SB2C-4 Helldiver marked with the kit decals as White 79 from U.S.S. Shangri-La in 1945.
The Interior and the Small Bits
I painted the smaller bits and the interior with brush using Model Master Acryl zinc chromate green, flat black, leather, along with Vallejo dark rubber for the tires. I weathered the front and rear floor with a small bit of sponge in tweezers with dark gray and silver. I made my own umber wash with Model Master Acryl, dish soap and water and highlighted with the green lightened with white. The bomb decal stripes were not applied well and rippled after the MicroSol. The stencils on the bombs added some detail for a small part I thought.
The one piece of original design that I can claim is the strip of yellow 3M sticky note bookmark that I cut and rolled into the raft holder for some detail and added colour.
The one part of my efforts with which I was most pleased was the interior. Again, it is brush painted so not as smooth as it could be. I put in an order for the Eduard interior colour photo etch set and while waiting for its arrival, I was over-eager and sanded down the instrument panel and radio faces. Then, I discover that it was no longer available and had no choice but to settle for the kit instrument decals which were really quite thick and not as attractive. The bomb compartment looked fairly good, I thought after the wash and highlighting as well.
My First Canopy
I also could not get a hold of the Eduard canopy mask, which I also think is out of production, so had to teach myself how to make my own mask. Tamiya tape and a new #11 blade to the rescue. I pushed too hard with the blade and made a lot of cuts and depressions in the clear plastic. A lesson I learned is not to choose a plane like the Helldiver to try your first canopy! It turned out OK and at the end I brushed on some Future which filled most of the cuts and scratches and gave a nice shine.
I used Model Master dark sea blue spray can for the exterior paint. Again, I put it on too thickly in places and it pooled and hardened. I spent a lot of time with some sandpaper to try to smooth it down. You can still see some of the thicker parts on the wing and stabilizer edges. On the final coat I ended up putting an orange peel look on the finish which shows in the close up pictures. To try to smooth things out and to give the sea blue its gloss finish, I brushed on some Future leaving the green in its matte tone. It helped, but now wonder if it is too shiny.
The decals took a long time because of the many, and tiny, stencils on the wings. The stencils settled well but the national insignia did not. You can see the broken antenna that needs to be repaired. The two underwing antennae were broken and reattached many times also. Another important lesson I learned was to leave these to the absolute end before attaching them. I thought I was safe but had a chance to test my patience the more times I broke them.
Also had a chance to scratch build two parts. Both the pitot tube and the tail hook went flying into infinity with the tweezer catapult so I made my own with plastic rod and painted the stripes on the tail hook since I could not get the decal to wrap around that small of a diameter.
For a first effort, I was happy with how it turned out. I like the interior more than my job on the exterior. The umber wash added some nice depth and the highlighting worked well also. I didn’t add any weathering on the exterior, since I don’t think the gloss sea blue weathered much, or am I wrong on that? I did add some chipping with a silver artist’s pencil on the propeller leading edges, wing leading edges, cowling front and on the cockpit entries and wing walkways. The exterior paint was thick and with the dark blue, I did not bother with the panel lines either. I enjoyed the kit, aside from the thick national insignia. The wing to fuselage join was really smooth with how it is designed and I only used some putty on the stabilizer because of my bad placement. The landing gear would be not operational if this were a real plane since the tires settled at an angle because I put weight on them before the glue had truly hardened. All things that I know for next time. I did not scare myself off of building more aircraft and can now move on to the next kit more confidently. Please take a look and offer any pointers for the mistakes I have mentioned. Thanks.