USMC SBD-1 "Pearl Harbor"
With the recent release of yet another Battle of Midway film, it seems appropriate for Academy to release this version of the venerable Douglas Dauntless in Marine colors. This package starts off with Accurate Miniatures excellent kit of the Dauntless. In addition, we get a photoetch fret of seat belts and pre-cut masks for the extensive canopy framing. The marking options include a USMC SBD-1 based in Hawaii on December 7, 1941 and another Marine SBD-1 based at MCAS Quantico, Virginia around the same time.
I’ve always been a fan of the Accurate Miniatures line and this kit is no exception. Fantastic surface and interior details are hallmarks of the brand. The cockpit is packed with detail but I used some online reference photos to make sure I was putting parts in the right locations. The instrument panel is cast in clear plastic but the dial faces have raised detail on them so I used the decal provided and settled it in with some Solvaset.
Things moved quickly once the fuselage was closed up. I needed a bit of putty on the bottom wing joint trailing edge at the fuselage. The airframe is all one color with the wheel wells in white. After preshading with dark grey the aircraft was painted with Vallejo Model Air 71.046 Pale Blue Grey. After sealing the paint with some clear semigloss, I applied the decals which I found very easy to get off the sheet and settle into the details on the model.
A highlight of this kit for me is the dive flaps that can be posed open in dive mode (top and bottom) or landing configuration (just the bottom). I chose the latter. Make sure you paint the inside of the flaps red as they are on the real thing. The torque tube actuators for the flaps is a nice touch. Fear not the multi-framed canopies. The precut masks are easy to apply and fit perfectly. Aligning the landing gear is a bit tricky. There is a detail drawing in the instructions but you will have to work with it as the glue sets to get the angles right. Separate hubs both inside and out make for easy wheel painting.
Academy rates this kit a four of five on the skill scale and I would agree with that. If you don’t have one of these in your collection or you’ve never built an Accurate Miniatures kit, this is a good place to start. Thank you, Academy, for keeping these excellent Accurate Miniature kits on the market and supplying the sample to IPMS.