SBD-5 Dauntless Limited Edition
Eduard continues its “full meal deal kits” this time with Accurate Miniatures 1/48th scale SBD-5. For those who haven’t seen them, Eduard takes a very good kit, adds resin, photoetch and masks and bundles it into one solid kit. Let’s look at the contents. First, the highly detailed Accurate Miniatures SBD-5 kit. The full kit is here with all the parts including optional position canopies, nice engine detail and wonderful engraved detail. There was the barest flash present on a couple parts only. The resin parts for this include the tires which have two optional outer hubs, a tail wheel and parts for the gun. The decals are from Cartograf and have five excellent options. Markings are provided for the following:
- SBD-5, NZ5056, 25 Sqn, RNZAF, Piva, Bougainville, 1944
- SBD-5, unknown, VMS-3, USMC, Virgin Islands, 1944
- SBD-5, unknown, VMSB-331, USMC, Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, 1944
- A-24B, 42-54298, 407 BG, USAAF, Amchitka, 1944
- SBD-5, 36817, 4 Flotile de Bombardement de l'Aeronavale, France, 1945
There are specific call outs for certain parts that are only used on specific options. I chose now and picked the Atlantic scheme option from VMS-3 based in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands (that is some nice duty). A full masking set is also included with tape masks which will make the canopy a snap to mask. Lastly, there are two sheets of photoetch- one colorized primarily for the cockpits including instrument panel, side wall detail, seat belts and other miscellaneous small parts. The second fret is not colorized and has parts to back up the first as well as parts for the gun. All of this for $55…NICE
Construction starts (and takes a while) in the cockpit. The instrument panel is sanded smooth and then painted and the magnificent photoetch details added. It creates a beautiful replica especially when flat coated and then clear coat the instrument dials. Looks great. The same treatment is given to the sidewalls. Some surgery is required to remove some kit parts and then add the detail back. I especially like the throttle quadrant and strapping added. There are also a few PE parts to add to the bottom of the cockpit and naturally seat belts for both positions.
The same treatment is given to the radio with sanding and then a complete replacement with photoetch. Lastly before the fuselage gets closed, the back gunner turret and parts are assembled. These are very fiddly and would really help with a second person as alignment is critical. Take your time and build parts E37L, E37R and D40 and let dry thoroughly. Very thoroughly. Then add the seat and PE ring. Paint and add the belts and be careful- it is a fragile part but when done, it looks great.
The fuselage is assembled and here, a second person helps just to get things aligned. Sub Assembly G, the base for the back instruments has a completely ambiguous set of instructions as to locations. If you look carefully, there are two slots per side in the upper fuselage just behind the pilot’s headrest- that’s the place! Once together, the cockpit floor and lower wing are added with a trim or two to enhance fit. Before adding the top wing, don’t forget to add the two holes for the wing radar.
The rest of the construction goes pretty quick by adding the top wings which I added styrene strip to for improved fit and then sanding. The horizontal stabilizers were added. My selection did not have an arrestor hook so it was trimmed and added. My version also had he standard tail wheel too.
Once note here- part D117 needs added prior to the cowling and nose assembly as it rests inside- the drawings do not show that well. The cowling itself and top gun deck are four pieces so add slowly and let the glue dry before adding to eh kit and you will get a good fit. I then added the top dive break (which fit loosely) and landing gear and was ready for paint.
I preshaded with black and sprayed the bottom insignia white. After looking at the instructions, I added a line of tape to the front of the wings and horizontal stabilizers and shot dark gull gray to match the pattern on the instructions. I then gloss coated the model to prepare for decals. The decals for the kit are excellent and settled right in place. I added a gray Florys wash to the kit and wiped off leaving just enough in the panels lines. A flat coat and we were ready for the finishing touches.
The antennae, bottom dive brakes and bombs were added to the bottom along with the pitot tubes and antennae’s. I added the dive brakes in the dropped position. It looks great and shows off all the inner detail. The resin wheels are awesome and were painted and added also.
The canopy was masked, shot with interior green and then dark gull gray. While that was drying, I added the antennae rigging and remaining parts to the top as well as the exhausts. The masked and flatted canopy was added and the fit was iffy stacking all the sliding parts. I left the aft most piece off and with a little trimming, the fit was good.
Lastly, the rear gun was built. This consists of 19 resin and photoetch parts and builds into a very good replica. Take your time as some of the parts are smaller than 1 mm in size. The gun shields were painted prior to adding while the gun was assembled and painted first. The entire thing was added to the rear cockpit gingerly and the kit was finished.
Eduard has once again taken a very good kit and added just the right amount of photoetch and resin to make it sparkle. Highly recommended- it is one stop shopping. I would only say that, due to the abundance of small parts that some photoetch experience would be a good thing to have.
My thanks to Eduard for the excellent opportunity to build this excellent kit and to IPMS-USA for allowing me to review the kit.