Testors/Hawk 1/72 SBD Dauntless






Two Aircraft


Mark Doremus




The Douglas SBD Dauntless was already considered obsolete before it cemented its place in history at the Battle of Midway. In two days, Douglas’ Slow But Deadly dive-bomber sank 4 Japanese carriers and halted Japan’s expansion in the Pacific.

Originally designed by Ed Heinemann while he was working with Jack Northrop at Douglas Aircraft’s San Diego factory. The SBD (Scout Bomber Douglas) was selected as the winner of a 1934 Navy design competition for a single engine bomber. Production began in 1939 with planes reaching the fleet by November 1940. The Navy was planning on replacing the SBD with the Curtis SB2C Helldiver during 1942, but teething problems kept the "Beast" out of service until late 1943.

SBDs participated in every major Pacific battle, and remained in service in the both the Atlantic and Pacific until the end of the war. The SBD was also used by the Marine Corps and flown by the U. S. Army as the A-24 Banshee. Both the Marines and Army used the SDB for close air support for ground troops. In the Atlantic, SBD’s were used in Anti-Submarine Warfare.


This is an old Hawk offering, the Hawk name is still engraved in the fuselage halves. While the fuselage features engraved panel lines, it also has the outlines for the star and circle engraved in the plastic. The fuselage is about 9 scale inches short, and the cowl is about 9 scale inches too tall. The forward section of the fuselage seems a little too square in the area of the guns and the lower fuselage doesn’t follow the contour shown in the drawings by Lloyd S. Jones in "Detail and Scale". Considering the age of this kit, there is very little flash, but ejector pins mar several cosmetic surfaces.

There is no carburetor air scoop on the cowl, and only one cowl flap on each side, so the fuselage most closely represents a –5 or –6. The engine is represented by a set of 9 shallow cylinder heads on a flat plate. The cockpit is largely left to the modeler’s imagination, consisting only of two benches for the aircrew to perch on. Two machine guns are provided on a fanciful base. A one-piece canopy represents the forward three sections of the 5-section greenhouse. Again, the lack of an aiming telescope makes this a –5 or -6 and not one of the earlier versions.

The wing is one piece, with the holes in the dive flaps represented by shallow recesses. While you could drill out the holes to give the feel of an SBD, real dive brakes will require major surgery and scratch building. Engraved lines represent the gear in the raised position; mounting holes for the gear are also provided. Engraved lines represent the "mailbox" slots near the leading edge of the wings. Since the wing is solid, these might not be too hard to drill out. The SBD had two streamlining fairings that could be installed over the recesses for the lower fuselage window and the centerline bomb station. This area is molded to represent the fairings in place, so showing the 1000 lb. bomb on the trapeze is a little less than accurate. The kit also comes with a pair of 100 lb. bombs. The small bombs are molded in one piece, with a mounting slot to match tabs on the wing.


Scale-Master decals are provided for two different airplanes. One is an SBD-5 of VS-37 used in Anti-Submarine Warfare with the Atlantic Fleet in Feb. of 1944. The other is for the SBD-3 flown by Ensign Leppla during the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942.



Maybe a master modeler could turn this into a serious contender, but why try? Airfix has an OK kit and Hasegawa has released kits of the –3, -4, -5 and –6. This kit is better suited to introducing young modelers to the hobby. It would also be an ideal kit for testing a new modeling technique before risking that expensive Tamigawa kit.

Review kit courtesy of my wallet and a sale at a local retailer.



Kinzey, Bert, SBD Dauntless in Detail & Scale, Squadron / Signal Publications, Carrollton, TX, 1996

Stern, Rob, SBD Dauntless in Action, Squadron / Signal Publications, Carrollton, TX, 1984

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