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Paul Barber
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On This Day: Battle of Midway 80th Anniversary, SBD-2 Dauntless, Academy 1/48

June 4, 2022 · in Aviation · · 27 · 1.4K

On this day, 80 years ago World War 2 turned thanks to the bravery of the aviators of the Pacific Fleet. 80 years ago today The Battle of , which would reverse the fortunes of those at Pearl Harbor, began.

The dive bomber 'Silent But Deadly' had been worked hard up to that point and was, in that moment, being superseded by the SBD-3. Most planes were faded, worn and well-used.

The aircraft ‘BuNo 2106', is the famous plane pulled from Lake Michigan, and incredibly restored to reside currently in the National Naval Aviation Museum in Florida.

It has a very well documented History, having survived the attack on Pearl Harbor; flown in raids against the Japanese in New Guinea; and now existing as the only surviving plane from Midway.

Eventually this aircraft became part of a training unit in Illinois and ditched in Lake Michigan in 1943. It was recovered in 1994 before going on display, after restoration, in 2001.

It is considered to be one of the most ‘historic' aircraft on the planet!

Below is a picture of the plane on Midway Atoll, dating from early June 1942.

And for those wishing to know more, here is a presentation by the Museum explaining exactly how special this aircraft is!

I shot the photos of the model using 2 backgrounds, one was white card, the other more antique looking dark brown. I couldn't decide which worked best so I have used photos from both sets.

Thanks so much to @lis for inviting me to join in the 'Bomber Command' group build. It's a great idea - head over there and add a build! I will be adding something slightly bigger next, as this is pretty small for a 'bomber'. I guess though, it's not the size of the dog in the fight that counts after the heroics performed in the Dauntless in those early days of June 1942.

Finally although this is an oft built kit, a fairly common subject, and others have done it better than me, I'd like to thank all those over at the BC GB for their guidance and encouragement. I have to say also, that this build certainly reminded me how fast the time goes, and of those we've loved and lost or who are MIA, since the 75th Midway Anniversary GB. Where did those 5 years go?
Reader reactions:
24  Awesome

27 responses

  1. Excellent model of a historic plane.

  2. As someone who's done more than his share of AM SBD's Paul @yellow10, let me assure you that you have done this one very well indeed. A great result.

    One minor nit: It's "Slow But Deadly," not "Silent But Deadly." An SBD is slightly less noisy than a T-6. 🙂

  3. This is a beautiful build. The phots are also top notch. Thanks for sharing. Now I need to build one…?

    • Thanks Matt - nice kit. I struggled with knocking the dive brakes off every 30 seconds until I got the CA glue out. And the wing to belly join needed some serious work. Almost certainly my bad. Highly recommended!

  4. Real nice, Paul! I can't imagine how the gunner felt during one of those dives.

  5. Paul, @yellow10
    You have hit yet another home run here with your SBD build. I really like the storyline and the pictures are phenomenal. It was a pleasure to watch you work your magic on this Dauntless. I really enjoyed following along with your journal.

    This model would look perfectly at home in the Naval Museum in Pensacola sitting next to the original one that survived Midway. If not there it would be even better if it was in my display case ! 😉

    Our local airport was built by the US Navy early on in the War. It was used to train the dive bomber crews and there were well over 100 of the SBD’s stationed here at NAS Deland. It was the last stop before they were shipped out overseas. Your plane was stationed here just prior to the transfer to the Chicago area where it was lost overboard in a training accident.

    You can see the “DE” modex alphabet letters on the side of the fuselage where the paint had washed away from years underwater. DE was the code for Deland.

    This is an incredible build. All of your work is. They are also getting a little bit better with each new kit you build, and that’s something that is very hard to do when you are building at this level. Building up another SBD or two) is in the works at my Iron Werke's model construction facility. I want to build up one in a natural metal finish that I found a cool picture of several years ago. It happens to be based from another nearby NAS, this time Jacksonville. However, the main one I want to build is for the all time top scoring dive bomber pilot from Midway, a Kansan by the name of Norman "Dusty" Kleiss. Here's a link to his story. He was the only American pilot to score three hits during the Battle of Midway.

    There was a great interview with him back sometime around 2015. or 2016, shortly before he passed away. They also did a television segment on him and It was aired on the History channel. I don't remember the name of the show, but I'll see what I can do to find it and send you a PM if you're interested.
    Two thumbs up my friend, and that’s only because I don’t have three of them to offer.

    Take care ! 🙂 Boy where did the last 5 years go ? I miss our old gang a lot.

    • These words are really too kind, Louis! I actually can’t wait to see you produce that NMF Dauntless. I remember your photograph of it. I know you will do kit complete justice!

      As for Dusty Kleiss, I think you have just caused me to buy another book!

  6. This is an excellent result, Paul @yellow10
    Especially the fading effect looks superb.
    Definitely another winner to be added to your fine collection.

  7. great build and story of plane!

  8. Lost of words, Paul! This is a truly superb Dauntless, a great tribute to all those men who gave a decisive battle there!

  9. Great build and narrative!

  10. Profile Photo
    Walt said on June 5, 2022

    Really a beautiful build and finish. I have this kit but the -5 and look forward to building it. I will be sure to use your blog ad a guide.

    • Thanks, Walt!

      I wish I’d had more time for the WIP! All I can add is that I used Eduard Etch. MRP and SMS lacquer paints and VMS dull-coats.

  11. Add my congrats to the others, Paul (@yellow10). This is a terrific build of a really memorable plane. Paint, decals, and finish are really nice. And I would say that this certainly qualifies as a bomber, since the Navy couldn't fit B-17s and B-24s on their carriers. They could fit B-25s, but that is a story for another time. Cheers.

  12. Thanks so much George, definitely punching above it’s weight!

    And a Doolittle raider is indeed an excellent choice!

  13. G'day Paul (@Yellow10),
    This is a great build - your painting and weathering are superb.

    I built the same kit and aircraft, but in its earlier guise from the New Guinea raids.
    You can see it here
    I loved building this kit, as I can see you did too, as the detail and fit is fantastic - dive flaps excepted.


  14. Bravo! A great looking model of a very historic airplane! The SBD sunk more tonnage in the Pacific war than any other American aircraft. You have inspired me to build my copy of this model. It is an Accurate Miniatures edition I bought a long time ago. Aircrew affectionately called this plane "The Barge". It is my personal favorite American aircraft of the Pacific war. My compliments on a job well done ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  15. Beautiful! Thanks for this great post!

  16. Paul, that is a real bombshell of a bomber! Love the faded and worn look you achieved. Excellent work - I'm sure you are proud to add that to your shelves!

  17. Absolutely beautiful!

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