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SB2C-4 Helldiver

Well this is my just finished 1/48 scale Revell Pro-Modeler SB2C-4 Helldiver, in the colors and markings of VB-84, U.S.S. Bunker Hill, 1945.

I read that the Helldiver was not universally loved by those who used it, but I imagine this big hoss had the desired effect on those they visited, just the same…

Everything here is stock out of the box except the seat belts, fashioned from scrap PE sprue and the HVAR rockets, which I got from my scrap box and modified a bit to fit. I think they are a bit too long to be true to scale actually. I also lowered the flaps.

This was painted by hand using a variety of hair brushes. I did not weather it other than dusting the interior green parts with some gray chalk because the Model Master zinc-chromate I used just seemed to bright.

I am also including a couple of pictures of the Helldiver and the other 3 dive-bombers I have built over the last 11 months. The concept of a dive-bomber has a certain fascination for me; maybe if I can find a 1/48 scaled D4y Judy I will built one of those.

Thanks for looking & happy model building –

14 additional images. Click to enlarge.

22 responses to SB2C-4 Helldiver

  1. Looks very nice – and goes well with the others in your collection. Great job!

  2. Great lookin’ “sun-of-a b***h 2nd class” – nice work, Ralph.

  3. Nice work, very attractive. What did you use for your blue paint?

  4. In an age of the so-called hi-tech modern kits, Mongram kits are still the t*ts as far as I am concerned. Very nicely done Ralph. A real eye-catcher.

  5. What Seamus said, she’s a beauty, and the best one available.
    The yellow nose was for the first Tokyo strike, distinctive marking for that .
    In addition to being called what Craig called it, it was also known as the “Beast”. Had a looong gestation period, hundreds of modifications. This Marine pilot told the story of how they transitioned from Dauntlesses, and one day he cranked her up, and the tail on his fell off. Think they went back to SBDs…. Amazingly, things like that tend to make one lose enthusiasm in ones mount.

    • Thanks Bernard, I’ve read some fliers accounts that say the SB2C has an undeserved bad reputation and I think by the time the -4 version came out most deficiencies had been corrected. I don’t know, it was before my time, I’m just a 56 year old kid who likes to build models and this a notable dive bomber that saw considerable use, the last of the breed.
      But on the other hand there may be something to reports like that. The wing fell off this Saturday when I started test fitting the landing gear! I got it back on without too much trouble but handle it very carefully…

      • Ralph: I was actually in WW II. My ration stamp book (Mom saved it, in case WW II ever came back) has my occupation as “infant”. True story!
        I like your dive bomber collection. Great idea. If you can find them, a Vought Vindicator (SB2U), and the earlier Curtiss Helldivers, the SBC-3 and-4 biplanes. Accurate Miniatures made the SB2U, and Classic Airframes the SBCs. Both companies are out of business, but the molds might surface again “under new mismanagement”. That or from a vendor at a show, or on E-bay.
        Navy fighters in the 20s and 30s had a dive bombing role secondary to fighting. The F11C Goshawk, and Grummans “Barrels” F3F-1/2.
        And for a while, the Germans were so caught up that they had JU-88s doing it, thus the “snow fence” dive brakes under the wings. They also wanted the DO 217 and HE-177 to do ditto.
        Somehow, that went away. Good ‘ol Ernst Udet!
        Glad you avoided a “strike” accident with yours.
        Great stuff!

  6. Ralph,That’s a Really a nice looking “Beast”. It makes the other dive bombers you built look small!

  7. A nicely done Helldiver sir.
    Nice finish.

    (To the tune of “My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean”)
    Oh mother, dear mother, put down that blue star
    Replace it with one that is gold!
    Your boy is a Heldiver driver
    He’ll never be thirty years old!

    My body lies under the ocean
    My body lies under the sea
    My body lies under the ocean
    Wrapped up in an SB2C!

    Universally disliked by just about everyone who was ever forced to fly one, the problem was really due to the official design requirement that two of them be able to fit on an Essex-class deck elevator with wings folded, thus requiring a too-short fuselage. The only reason it stayed in production was that the Curtiss-Wright Corporation was a subsidiary of United Tecnologies, whose Chairman, Charles Wilson (later famous for saying “What’s good for General Motors is good for America” when CEO of that company) was also president of the War Production Board. The majority came off the production line and were sent to aircraft parks where they sat until scrapped. The original SB2C-1C required 800 post-production modifications in three major waves of modifications, in order to go aboard a carrier. LT John Bridgers, Engineering Officer of VB-15, recorded of his time spent insuring the 24 aircraft assigned to the squadron had all those mods, “I was soon made aware that twas true what they said, that the SB2C had three fewer engines and one more hydraulic fitting than a B-17.”

    Nice model – the brush painting is impressive. One niggling bit though: it’s impossible to drop the flaps, sine what’s left up inside the wing is actually the interior of the flap. The only way around it is the very daunting Eduard photoetch set.

    • The way I got around it was to cut the interior flap panels off then flip them over, since their exterior surfaces had the details. That meant they had to be mirrored – panels cut from right wing re-mounted on left. It is hard to explain but this makes the detailed inner surfaces visible and provides the smooth, unfinished surfaces to glue the photo-etched flaps to. It’s weird.

    • Tom, thanks for the illuminating comments about Curtiss. They managed to blow it big time, from their lead with fighters in the 20s and 30s to apparently making everybody eager to get them.
      Is there a book on the downfall of Curtiss? I always wondered about them, being a big P-40 fan. Shucks, even the Ascender. (ahem!)
      I didn’t know about “engine Charlie” Wilson being in the middle of it all, either.
      Thats why I enjoy reading your comments, I always come away having learned something.
      That B-17 comment is absolutely marvelous!
      Keep it up! You oughta write ANOTHER book.

  9. Very very nice. Love them all. Gab you seen the Fine Moulds Judys? They have several variants, I have the inline engine built. I think hobby link japan still sell them, not sure though. Good luck. 🙂

  10. Great line up of bomb droppers there Ralph. I like them all!!
    Very cool.
    California Steve

  11. Stunning build Ralph. I have this one in my stash for ages. I think you have inspired me to get mine done. Well done!!!

  12. Brilliant Ralph. Anyone who can brush paint gloss and get it to look as good as yours has to be admired. Well done.

  13. THAT is Freakin’ beautiful!!!! Well done man!

  14. Thanks everyone!

  15. Thats not only a great looking Helldiver, your dive bomber collection is really impressive. Congratulations

  16. Last picture: 4 beautiful models!

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