Hasegawa 1/72 SBD-3/4/5 Dauntless
|PRICE:||$29.99 on sale ($49.99 SRP)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Two complete kits (2013 boxing)|
The Douglas SBD Dauntless was a World War II American naval scout plane and dive bomber that was manufactured by Douglas Aircraft from 1940 through 1944. The SBD ("Scout Bomber Douglas") was the U.S. Navy's main carrier-borne scout plane and dive bomber from mid-1940 through mid-1944. The SBD was also flown by the U.S. Marine Corps, both from land air bases and aircraft carriers. The SBD is best remembered as the bomber that delivered the fatal blows to the Japanese carriers at the Battle of Midway in June 1942.
During the time of its combat service the SBD was an excellent naval scout plane and arguably the world's best dive bomber. It possessed long range, good handling characteristics, maneuverability, potent bomb load capacity, great diving characteristics, defensive armament and ruggedness. In most of these characteristics the SBD was superior to the German Junkers Ju 87, the Japanese Aichi D3A "Val", and any dive bomber possessed by the Royal Air Force, the Soviet Air Force, or the purpose-built designs for the U.S. Army Air Forces, which used the SBD without an arrestor hook as the A-24 Banshee.
This is a reboxing of Hasegawa's standard SBD Dauntless kit. The box contains two complete kits, both with the different cowlings to allow either an SBD-3/4/5 to be built. The kit also includes different prop hubs as the -3 often flew with a spinner and had a different hub from the later versions. The kit comes with an adequate cockpit that includes a floor, seats, control sticks, instrument panel and separating bulkheads. Rudder pedals and the rear gun ammo box is molded into the floor. There is no sidewall detail. The cockpit clear bits come in three sections with a windscreen, pilot's canopy and rear section. THey are not designed to be modeled open. You get two different windscreen sections with one having a slot in it for the sight used on the -3 and -4.
As mentioned, there are different engine cowlings and side panels with one having a carb scoop in the upper intake appropriate for the -3. A complete engine section fits into the cowling halves. An upper cowling section is separate as these are different between the -3/4 and -5. Radar antennas are available for under the wings of the -5 and holes need to be drilled out for that. Another difference is in the tail wheel with the -5 having a pneumatic version instead of the smaller, hard rubber one used in the earlier versions. A nicely done bomb crutch and bomb is provided. The wing bomb racks are molded in position and the kit includes 50 pounders to put on those racks. There are a pair of twin '7.7mm' machine guns for the rear cockpit. If doing the -3 option provided, this will have to be cut in half. Until the Battle of Midway, the -3 only had one gun in the back.
Instructions are standard fare for Hasegawa with Gunze paint references. There are markings for three planes. One is a -3 from the USS Enterprise and VB-6 in February of 1942 (hence only one rear gun). This has the large early insignia with the red and white rudder stripes. It is painted in blue-grey over gull grey. In the same colors is the -4 from VMSB-233 on Guadalcanal in early 1943. This one has the insignia without the red center and no rudder stripes. The -5 is another Marine Dauntless from VMSB-231 in the Marshall Islands in 1944. This one is in the tri-color scheme and the post-1943 insignia. The decal sheet is quite large for this kit and includes wing walk areas as well as instrument panels for all the options. It also includes the prop tip decals.
Despite the small improvement of the yen/dollar rate, Hasegawa kits are still stupidly expensive when it comes to retail prices. For instance, a recent 1/72 Tomcat kit was $85.00 retail. Were it not for the sale, I would not have purchased this on. It retails in Japan for 2800 yen which at today's exchange rate is $28.00. Not sure how many time this one has been reissued, but the molding is still in first rate condition so I'd have to say it has not been released too many times. To be quite frank, I only picked this one up as I did not have a Hasegawa 1/72 SBD and wanted one for the Starfighter SBD-1 conversion.
Thanks to me for getting this one on sale.
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