Accurate Miniatures SBD-3, "Dauntless"

January 22, 2017 · in Aviation · · 14 · 2.9K

Hey Folks!

This is a 1:48 scale, SBD-3, "", that I built many years back. If I recall, it was right around the time the kit was released.

This was a while back so bear with me. I recall the kit going together very well. It has LOTS of interior detail...visible interior detail I might add..and the fit overall was really nice.
The detail in the cockpit is VERY busy. There are a lot of fidley parts, but they all come together for an excellent representation of the "offices", front and rear.

All in all a good build, but it's not a shake and bake, and needs a wee bit of concentration and TLC to get the kit done.

The instruction sheet was much better than previous A/M efforts, (The /M series comes to mind...), and the decals were ok.

The aircraft I modeled, was an SBD-3 from Scouting Squadron Two, crewed by Ensign John Leppla, and John Liska Arm2, during the Coral Sea battle.
On 8 May, aircraft from Lexington attacked the IJN Shokaku, striking her with two or three 1000 lb bombs, and several near misses. Ens Leppla put his bomb about 50 yards off the starboard quarter of the big Japanese Carrier.

While the Americans were returning to their carriers, a strike launched earlier by the Japanese was approaching the American task force, consisting of the two fleet carriers, USS Lexington, (CV-2) and USS Yorktown, (CV-5). Arriving over the American ships as the Japanese were lining up to attack, Ens Leppla spotted a formation of Nakajima B5N Carrir Attack planes, and dove down on them destroying two with his cowling mounted MG's, before expending his ammunition. Ens. Leppla was not finished however. Before running out of Ammo, he damaged a third B5N. He proceed to fly up along side the Japanese aircraft, and his gunner, John Liska swung his weapon to the side, and raked the cockpit, killing the startled crew, and knocking down another attacker.

For his bravery and aggressive action during combat with hostile forces, Leppla was promoted to Lt.(jg) and posted to the newly forming Air Group Ten. He would lose his life on 26 October, 1942, when he was shot down from behind as he came to the rescue of a TBF-1, under attack.

Reader reactions:
9  Awesome

9 additional images. Click to enlarge.

14 responses

  1. Really nice work, that finishing job. I've done a couple of these myself and you're right - it's a nice kit. Actually I still have one to finish (I think I hit a rather large "bump in the road" during the assembly, but can't remember what it was now). None of mine came out this well, though.

  2. I really like everything about this one. The article is really good too. I have several of these kits but so far I haven't gotten around to building them. Right now on the work bench is the AM TBF-1C Avenger that I'm backdating to an early dash 1. If the SBD is anything like the AM TBF then it should be a great kit. Thanks for sharing this with us. Two thumbs up !

  3. Beautiful kit, fine execution and great background story. Thanks for sharing Frederick.

  4. Great build and great ref. story.

  5. Another interesting background story, just enough information about the kit, and nice photographs showing off the detail and finish. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  6. Thank you Robert and George. Tom Clever wrote a much better and more accurate description of the fight these two Navy men brought to the enemy. All together, they were credited with shooting down seven Japanese, between 7/8 May, 1942. At least four of which, were A6M's! They flew into harm's way, their own ship's anti aircraft fire to try and attack the enemy, as they, were attacking Lexington.

  7. Great build and seems like a perfect touch to the weathering. Very nice!

  8. AM's SBD is one of the best kits ever, and you have done full justice to it.

  9. Nice build and history

  10. Great job, interesting story.

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