This is the 1/48 Dauntless from Academy. I chose to interpret an SBD-2 from VMSB-241, based on Midway Atoll in 1942 and, I assume, one of the planes used in the fabled attack on the Japanese fleet in June.
Since it was first produced by Accurate Miniatures, this vintage kit has justifiably developed a reputation as the definitive kit of the Dauntless in this scale. It’s well engineered, with great fit and a level of detail that requires no after-market parts (nor were any made, apparently). However, having chosen to represent it in-flight, I had to invest in a gunner from PJ Productions and requisition a pilot from a Tamiya Corsair.
Also – as one of the distinctive features of the Dauntless was its surface texture – I decided to cover the thing in raised rivets. I initially tried HGW wet transfers, but found these to be useless; all the rivets floated away from the backing film with every attempt. I landed on Archer rivets, which performed excellently. I couldn’t quite get every row with complete accuracy, but they give an impression of the bristling surface of the airframe and provided a good structure to paint and weather.
The process of painting it was one of the main attractions of building this plane. Perhaps I went a little overboard given this specific variant, but I was inspired by the many beautiful shots of the Dauntless’ mottled, patched and damaged paintwork – a story in colour and texture. I used mostly Mission Model paints; they layer well and lend themselves to subtle effects built over time.
Although I recommend the kit wholeheartedly, I think the decals in the original Accurate Miniatures boxing might be better; the big roundels were all out of register. Any other errors in the build are mine, not the kit’s; I keep forcing parked planes into flying mode, so I create plenty of problems for myself that way.
Thanks for looking!
10 additional images. Click to enlarge.