SB2C-4 Helldiver

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Company: Revell, Inc. - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Revell, Inc. - Website: Visit Site
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First, exceptional thanks to our friends at Revell for re-releasing “the Beast” and providing IPMS/USA a copy to review!

This kit is a re-release of the former Monogram “Promodeller” Helldiver, originally issued in 1997. When you open the box, the only difference between then and now is that the molds have been around a bit longer, the instruction sheet is different, the decals are different, and the copyright mark on the underside of the elevator says “China.” One thing I noted was there were a few rough flash edges on the clear parts for the canopy; other than that, the kit is flash and sinkmark free.

This is a fairly straightforward build; both cockpits’ interior detail is bountiful, and careful painting and dry brushing provides an appropriately busy appearance. The instrument panel in particular has fine engraving; the decal sheet provides white dials and details, but I opted for a 000 brush to paint instrument details, with a dry brush application to highlight the raised parts. Same for the radio/radar stack in the rear cockpit; the life raft tube above the rack is empty, so I rolled some tissue, painted it orange/yellow, and placed it in the tube. Looks good!

Wing detail: Two wing gun muzzles are provided, as are underwing rocket and bomb racks with sway braces, but there is no armament to hang from them. Folding the wing will require scratchbuilding.

Speaking of the radio rack, this was the only part of the kit that I had difficulty with. I don’t remember the bulkhead preventing the fuselage sides from closing the last time I built this one, but I did note there was no positive location for the parts to fit into. I finally just squeezed everything into place.

The bomb bay has a dual trapeze with twin 750 LB hardened penetrating bombs, and the landing gear fits securely into locators with no problem. There is no provision to close the bomb bay doors; it can be done, but will require surgery as they are molded integrally with the sidewall framing latticework. This is good, as usually the doors on other models are very fragile and snap off the second you look at them. I used the doors as a stand while working on the top of the model! Four door actuators are provided, a nice touch frequently overlooked by others. The wheel wells are deep and include rib details, and gun barrels are small additions which add to the busy factor. Tires have slight flats on them; these were high pressure tires, so bulging would be minor.

Photoetch is provided for seat buckles, dive brakes, aileron servo tab actuators, the perforated defensive gun ring mount, and the engine ignition harness. As the dive brakes are closed, the opportunity to show them in the deployed, open position will require major effort. I used automotive gray primer to prep the parts, and used Tamiya spray to paint the interior first white, then red. I used thick superglue to attach the dive brakes to the plastic; it looks much better than just a black wash into recesses, as the see-through look allows you to note internal detail much as on the actual aircraft.

In the rear pit, the seat and gun ring are well designed. The twin .30 cal gun mounts and weapons are well detailed, and are made up of eight parts including a PE ring gunsight. I lost the PE forward bead sight, but it was so small I don’t even notice the missing part. The ring sight adds just the correct touch; I used some old color PE belts instead of threading the miniscule buckles for the harness. This was the last assembly I added to the model.

The four-bladed propeller may be installed with or without a spinner. An early model three-bladed prop option is not provided in this release. The engine is very well done, and the photoetch ignition harness adds immensely to the final product. Even the prop governor control is included. Clear canopy parts have adequate framing to do a creditable job on masking with standard clear frosty or kabuki tape, which took me all of 15 minutes with a #11 Xacto blade. I had a bit of difficulty with the windscreen fit, but a smear of Elmers® glue, followed by interior green paint (to prevent the dreaded “I see your putty job” see-through) event, worked well.

Marking options are provided for a Marine tri-color sea blue/intermediate blue/white from VMSB-224 at Mindanao in June 1945, or an overall late-war sea blue scheme from the USS Bunker Hill during Tokyo raids in February 1945. I’ve never done the overall blue before, and in this case the use of Testors rattle can DSB with Tamiya Camel Yellow for the cowling (over a white primer undercoat) worked well. It took two days to cure, but that’s gloss paint. The decals were great; they did have a tendency to stay where they initially landed, but flooding with water worked well. I did not use the copious stenciling, as I understand from a former Essex crewmember, “We painted the aircraft while underway and didn’t have time to worry about it”.

In the end, this is one of Revell’s better kits. Details abound, and it looks like “the Beast” when complete. Thanks once again to Danielle Rogers at Revell for providing IPMS/USA the review sample, and to our fearless leader Steve Collins of the review corps for having Dave Morrissette send me the kit, which is at the same time helping Dave’s cause of “clearing my basement of stuff that keeps accumulating”.


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