Hasegawa 1/72 SBD-2 Dauntless @ Midway
What began as an OOB build turned into something a bit more complex. I had 2 SDB’s in the stash to pick from for the Midway group build, and selected the Hasegawa SDB-3. The Midway decal set I was able to secure for it was for a Marine SDB-2. The kit included a 3-piece painted canopy (windscreen, pilot section, and entire rear section as one, molded closed).
As I started on it, I decided to drill out the holes on the one-piece molded in airbrakes/flaps. I’ll not go into detail here as I already described the details on the group build post (see here: http://imodeler.com/groups/75th-anniversary-battle-of-midway-group-build/forum/topic/172-hasegawa-sbd-3-dauntless/), but half-way though drilling out one wing of flaps/brakes, I decided to sand down the molded piece to the thickness of the upper brake (to which wing half it was molded) then cut it loose, scratch build the lower flaps and pose everything open as if in dive configuration. I should have checked reference photos BEFORE I made this decision, as I totally forgot there would be actuator detail that would have to be included! I’ll just mention here that the upper brakes were the thinned original molded-in kit piece, the lower wing flaps were from sheet styrene, and all the interior ribbing details to the flaps/brakes and all the actuator details were made with various sizes of styrene rod and strips.
Looking at all the reference photos, I decided the model would look unrealistic with the canopy posed closed, since I always build in-flight, so decided to cut the back piece into sections and work to nest them. I was able to accomplish this with the 3 rear pieces (see the build details for a bit of sleight of hand required), but it was impossible to pose the pilot section pulled back, as the thickness of the canopy plastic just wouldn’t accommodate, so I ended up with a bit of a compromise.
Having made that decision, I also was afraid that with the open canopy, the empty cockpit would be apparent, so I scratch built interior ribbing and instrument/radio details, especially in the rear section where the canopy would actually be open. Up front I kept it a bit more sparse since that canopy would be closed, but still added especially those controls and ribbing that were up closer to the upper edge of the cockpit.
My research was a bit fuzzy on just when these Marine SBD-2’s were upgraded with twin guns in the real vs. the original single gun. Since the Hasegawa twin guns were really toy-like, I decided to take the single gun from the other MPC kit I had and use it, and make the assumption that this particular aircraft had not received the upgrade. Might not be accurate, but I’ll go with creative license!
Although most research seemed to indicate that the Navy SBDs were recent upgrades to -3’s and were in newer condition, most of the Marine -2’s were a bit more worn. I also found a couple of references mentioning the repainting of the insignia, especially on the upper wing, so I depicted the overpainting with pastel chalk powder before applying decals. For weathering, I took a bit more license, and took some of the heavy wear patterns seen on later war birds and toned them down just a bit – so more wear on the wing walks and a bit more chipping around some panel lines and access/fuel hatches.
This is one of the better Hasegawa kits, especially for a brush painter, in that the inscribed panel lines are deep enough that after a couple coats of paint and gloss coat, they still accepted a panel wash that didn’t disappear during clean-up. I used a grey wash vs black so the lines didn’t come out too stark. After decals were applied and covered with a dull coat, I weathered further with pastel chalk powers, and some oils for fuel and oil stains. Chipping was all silver pencil this time. By the way, the decals performed very well and look almost painted on! I did ruin the first one attempting to use Humbrol DecalFix – it just melted the decals – and I had to go back to Micro-Set/Sol.
Aerial rigging with Uschi line, and only other other details were to drill out all 3 guns and exhausts.
Two small disappointments: I used aftermarket crew, and I just couldn’t get the gunner to mount up as high as he should have been so it looks like he’s slouching down. I also had a bit of an issue with the upright strand of aerial rigging. I used Gator Glue on all rigging attachment points except where the upright piece connects to the horizontal run, where I attempted to use a drop of super glue so I’d have a more rigid “insulator” to paint. However, I had a hard time getting the glue to adhere to the thread, and as I tried to scrape it off of the pin onto the line joint, some of it got on the upper section of the upright piece and made it dry a bit bent!
All things considered, I really enjoyed the build, and I have to say this is one of my favorite completions! I’m pleased with the look of the finish, and the way the dive brakes and interior came out (though you can’t really see much of the cockpit!). I will say that this unexpected build took more time than projected, so my 2017 build plan is now way off track! Such is the hobby – kinda simulates life!
Thanks Louis for coordinating the build!
15 additional images. Click to enlarge.