Detail & Scale Header
Digital Publications Link
Aviation Photo Section Link
Scale Modeling Section Link
Aviatin Artwork Link
Furball Aero Design / Detail & Scale Decals
About Us Link
Contact Us Link
Home Page Link

Detail & Scale Books

Quick Links to Available Detail & Scale Series Publications.


Detail & Scale Series


F3H Demon in
Detail & Scale
**********F2H Banshee in
Detail & Scale, Pt. 1

**********
SBD Dauntless in
Detail & Scale

**********

F-102 Delta Dagger in Detail & Scale
**********

F4F & FM Wildcat in Detail & Scale
**********

F-8 & RF-8 Crusader in Detail & Scale

**********

Military Aviation Websites:
Click Here

——————

Scale Modeling Websites:
Click Here



KIT REVIEW


Eduard SBD-5 Dauntless Limited Edition
1:48 Scale

The Douglas SBD Dauntless was one of the most storied aircraft of the Second World War. It was the primary dive-bomber of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps from the pre-war years until the end of the conflict.  In early 2016, Eduard released a limited edition 1:48 scale multimedia kit of the SBD-5 Dauntless.  Based on the venerable Accurate Miniatures kit, this release includes various new resin parts, photoetch metal details, decals, and more.  Recently, we discussed this kit in Detail & Scale Digital Series Volume 5 (SBD Dauntless in Detail & Scale) available at http://detailandscale.com/sbd_dauntless_digital_book.html and at iTunes in iBook format or amazon.com in Kindle format; you just need either a computer or tablet to read it!).

(Return to top of page)

Affectionately nicknamed by its aircrews as the Slow But Deadly, the SBD Dauntless started out as the Northrop BT-1, and when Douglas Aircraft acquired Northrop's BT-1 design in 1937, the renowned Ed Heinemann (later known for his A-4 Skyhawk) and his team reworked the BT-1 into the dive bomber, escort, and reconnaissance platform known as the Dauntless. More than 5,900 SBDs spanning six major variants were produced between 1940 and 1944. The most numerous production run was of the SBD-5, of which 2,695 examples were produced. SBDs participated in some of the most important battles of the war, from Pearl Harbor, the Battles of Coral Sea and Midway, Guadalcanal, and the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Indeed, SBDs sank more Japanese ships than any other allied aircraft. And while often associated with the Pacific theater of operations, the Dauntless also saw action over North Africa in Operation TORCH and even brought pressure on the Nazis – SBDs embarked on the USS RANGER attacked German shipping off Bodø, Norway, in 1943 as part of Operation LEADER. The USAAF flew their own version of the SBD which was the A-24 Banshee. In-depth coverage of the development, operational history, and differentiation between the multiple Dauntless variants can be found in Detail & Scale Digital Series Volume 5 (see link above).

(Return to top of page)

The Eduard SBD-5 is based on the 1:48 scale Accurate Miniatures SBD family, the first of which came out in 1997.  While Accurate Miniatures in no longer in business, the molds thankfully live on.  The basic plastic in each kit comes on five sprues amounting to around 110 injection-molded parts.  This limited edition kit includes 15 resin parts from the Eduard Brassin line along with two photoetch frets amounting to 83 metal parts.  The instructions were completely redrawn by Eduard (they look nothing like the old Accurate Miniatures instructions) and were printed in color.  Decals are printed by Cartograf, and cover five SBD-5s:

  • SBD-5, Royal New Zealand Air Force, No. 25 Squadron, Bougainville, April 1944
  • SBD-5, USMC, VMS-3, Virgin Islands, Spring 1944
  • SBD-5, USMC, VMSB-331, Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, Spring 1944
  • A-24B-1-DO, USAAF, 407th Bomb Group, Amchitka, Aleutian Islands, Summer 1944
  • SBD-5 s/n 36817, French Naval Air Forces, 4me Flotile de Bombardemente de l’Aeronaval, Western France, early 1945

Strengths: Eduard’s choice to use the Accurate Miniatures mold for the basis of this kit was certainly wise.  While these SBDs are not quite perfect, they are excellent kits and by far the best injection molded Dauntless in 1:48 scale.  All parts are high-quality injection molded plastic, and this model has a well-earned reputation for being well researched along with excellent engineering and fit.  Despite its age, only a little flash could be seen here and there on the sprues.  Though ejection pin markings are visible in a few places such as the cockpit sidewalls, some will be covered by the subsequent addition of parts.

Panel lines are recessed, crisp, and accurate.  The Accurate Miniatures kit hits all the points to be considered an accurate SBD-5.  The subtle but important differences on the engine cowling, such the single cowl flap on each side and the ventilation slots on the forward fuselage, and the deletion of the carburetor air scoop atop the engine cowling are all accurate for the Dash-5 variant.  Parts for the airborne Yagi radar set are included.

The front and rear cockpits are very well detailed amounting to a full interior.  Accurate Miniatures indeed captured many of the subtleties of the SBD’s interior, including details such as the flare pistol, map table, intricacies of the gunner’s .30 caliber turret ring, and even the hoisting cable.  Eduard’s pre-painted photoetched parts only enhance the cockpit to be sure, with precision-painted instrument dial faces, radio faces, levers, lap belts, the throttle quadrant, other details.  A good number of Eduard’s additional photoetch and resin parts provide a vastly more detailed and intricate twin .30 caliber machine gun and parts for the flexible mount.  The new gun and turret ring is actually one of the highlights of this limited edition kit – it’s very cool and very well done!  New resin tires are also provided, with crisply cast diamond treads.  For ease of painting, the tires were thoughtfully cast as single pieces, and the two styles of outboard wheel hubs are separate pieces that can be dropped into position.

The dive flaps (which can be built closed, full open, or in landing configuration with only the bottom flaps dropped) are also injection molded (though Eduard does produce photoetched SBD dive flaps, they’re not included here).  The kit’s plastic dive brake drive shafts and actuators are rather well done.  However, their installation can get complex and everything depends the position of the dive flaps.  Study the instructions carefully.

The basic kit also comes with a decent replica of the Wright Cyclone engine.  The clear parts include optional open and closed canopy configurations, and a new Eduard adhesive mask set is included to indeed simplify the otherwise complex masking process of the canopy and wheels.  Optional kit windscreens accommodate either the presence or absence of the pilot’s telescopic sight (for the SBD-5, remember that the pilot’s telescopic sight was replaced by a reflector gunsight that is nicely represented by the Accurate Miniatures part sight was deleted, so use the windscreen part in the kit that lacks the notch).  The downward-looking window in the pilot’s floor, which seems to have been omitted by many other manufacturers in the past, is accurately represented here.  Underwing munitions include two 100-lb. bombs and one 1,000 lb. bomb slung on the centerline trapeze.  The decals are printed by Cartograf, and represent the best quality in the business.  Airframe stencils are provided for one SBD-5.

Weaknesses: Only a few critiques can be levied against Eduard’s SBD, an in reality, they are directed only at the original Accurate Miniatures Dauntless kits.  The principle issue is that SBD airframes were covered in thousands of raised flush rivets.  The number of raised rivets on the skin of the Accurate Miniatures Dauntless kits = 0.  It is a surprising omission given the prominence of these rivets on the skin of the real airplane, but the Hasegawa kit has the same problem – no raised rivet detail.  Likewise, the fuel tank access covers on the bottom of the wing should feature recessed screws which are also absent.  Some screw detail is represented on the sides of the engine cowling, but that’s it.  Also, the dive brakes are very well executed parts, but they appear perhaps a just little thick in cross-section for this scale.  Molds seams are very prominent on the radial engine’s cylinder heads, and appear impossible to clean up without sanding down all that detail.  

Eduard's SBD-5 Limited Edition kit represents the most detailed out-of-the-box Dauntless in 1:48 scale, and it's worth a debate it exceeds the detail in the 1:32 scale Trumpeter kit to hold the title of "Best Dauntless Kit Ever." The resin and photoetch metal .30-caliber gun mount and guns really bring a lot to this kit just as do the diverse and unique marking options. This stands to be the definitive kit of this classic airplane. Sincere thanks are owed to Eduard for the review sample. You visit them on the web at http://www.eduard.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EduardCompany/.

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

(Return to top of page)

** Click on the thumbnails below to view a larger image.**


 

(Return to top of page)

Just Released!

JET FIGHTERS
OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
PART 1: THE FIRST TEN YEARS
*********

Detail & Scale Special Edition Books

U. S. Navy and Marine Carrier-Based Aircraft of World War II
*********


Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan Awakens a Sleeping Giant

********


Colors & Markings Series



Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 1: Atlantic
Coast Squadrons
********


Colors & Markings of the F-102
Delta Dagger

**********


Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
F-14 Tomcats,
Part 2: Pacific
Coast Squadrons

**********