SB2C-3 Helldiver

Published on
January 18, 2013
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Cyber-Hobby - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Dragon Models USA - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

Having built the Academy Special Edition 1/72 Helldiver a couple years ago, I jumped at the opportunity to review the new Cyber-Hobby Helldiver. The kit represents a slightly earlier Helldiver, with one of the most noticeable differences being the solid dive flaps. When the kit arrived, I was very impressed. The molding was well done, with crisp detail and no molding flaws. The kit is the high quality we have come to know from Dragon/Cyber-Hobby.


As I began building the kit, I decided to compare it to the old Academy kit (even though it’s an SB2C-5). So, with my built Helldiver on the bench with me, I commenced working on the interior. Immediately it was evident that the Dragon kit was far superior when it came to the interior. The detail was great, and although most of it is not easily seen when the model is complete (especially with the wings folded), the detail level is great. Of note is the very nicely done twin mount gun for the rear gunner. I was a bit disappointed that Dragon did not include any paint call-outs for the interior parts. In fact, the paint chart doesn’t even include Interior Green. Some areas of note – in Step 1, for the closed turtle shell, part C53 should actually be C36. In contrast, for a collapsed turtle shell, part E5 should be E6. Also, parts C11 for the engine will need their mounting tabs cut off, as they do not allow the parts to be mounted correctly. In Step 5, Part C35 is only used with a closed turtle shell. For the open turtle shell, some trimming will be needed to get it to fit correctly. Also, Part A9 will need to be trimmed to fit. In Step 6, both the closed and open turtle shells are shown in place. I also found that the canopies will not fit in the open position. A big letdown was the lack of a gun sight in the kit. The IP cowling includes a notch for the sight, which oddly enough fits the Academy gun sight perfectly. In Step 7, the leading edge flaps Parts D14/15 do not fit well and are shaped wrong. I ended up filling in their locations on the wing with Apoxie Sculpt. Also, the PE solid dive flaps will NOT fit with the perforated dive brakes (Parts F3-F11) in place. I left them off completely and just put the metal parts in place. Last, in Step 7, Parts D16/17 and D6/7 for the insides of the wing fold are backwards.


For painting, I decided to break from my normal Tamiya Medium Blue and Sea Blue and instead used Gunze Sangyo’s Intermediate Blue and Sea Blue. (I recently acquired around 200 bottles of Gunze paint). While the Gunze Intermediate blue is very good, I feel the Sea Blue is too light. It ended up almost blending together with the Intermediate. Oh well, live and learn. The decals went down well; however, I was slightly disappointed in how few decals there were in comparison to the old Academy kit.


I decided early on that I would compare to the two kits. So, here we go. Both kits are accurate in terms of shape and dimensions. Both build up to great pieces, and are easy to build. Pros for the Cyber kit are the interior, landing gear and bomb bay, options for closed bay doors, optional open turtle shell, and optional folded wings. Pros for the Academy kit are the gun sight, canopies’ fit in open position, stencil decals, and PE dive brakes. The major downfall of the Cyber kit is the lack of the gun sight and the decals, while the Academy kit’s major shortcoming has always been the bomb bay doors. Overall, a mix of the two kits would make for either a great SB2C-3 or -5.


I have to say, aside from a few small issues, I am greatly impressed by this kit. Dragon/Cyber-Hobby did a great job in listening to the modelers when it came to older 1/72 Helldiver offerings. The new Dragon kits finally gives modelers options that previously required a lot of work and aftermarket parts. I highly recommend this kit, as it builds up into a beautiful piece. My thanks to Dragon Models USA for providing the review sample and IPMS for allowing me to review it.


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