Accurate Miniatures 1/48 SBD-3 Dauntless (Midway)

KIT #: 480311
PRICE: $33.50
DECALS: Multiple options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2005 release


The Douglas SBD Dauntless is 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 United States Navy's main carrier-based scout/dive bomber from mid-1940 through mid-1944. The SBD was also flown by the United States 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. The type earned its nickname "Slow But Deadly" (from its SBD initials) during this period.

During its combat service, the SBD proved to be an excellent naval scout plane and dive bomber. It possessed long range, good handling characteristics, maneuverability, potent bomb load, great diving characteristics from the perforated dive brakes, good defensive armament, and ruggedness. One land-based variant of the SBD omitting the arrestor hook  was purpose-built for the U.S. Army Air Forces, as the A-24 Banshee, which saw some service in New Guinea.


During its far too brief existence, Accurate Miniatures produced kits that proved to be not only accurate representations, but also quite detailed as well. Many modelers commented that the only way to properly build these kits was to slavishly follow the instructions, and that deviation was a recipe for trouble.

The kit comes in a fairly large box with instructions, clear sprue, and decals under a false bottom. The other sprues are packaged two to a cello-bag with superbly done external and internal detailing. There are a number of components that fit on the fuselage inner sidewalls. The instrument panel is clear and you apply an instrument decal on the back. I'm not fond of this approach as I simply cannot easily paint around all the dial faces. Thecockpit floor includes a partial wing spar.

Once all that s done and put together, the lower wing is attached followed by the upper halves. The engine assembly is built and the three piece cowling attached. Then work moves to the landing gear and bomb assembly. All of the flight controls are molded in the neutral position, but this is not true of the extensive dive brakes. These can be modeled fully open, fully closed, or with just the lower sections extended as it would be in the landing position. You are given two different canopy options. One is a single piece and the other is with the canopy panels open. The kit supplies a vinyl masking set for the canopy, which is a great touch.

Instructions are well done with detail drawings and all the color info needed on each construction step. The instructions are for the Coral Sea boxing so there is an addendum sheet that applies to the Midway version. The decal sheet provides options for every plane in VB-3 aboard the USS Yorktown at Midway. The decals appear to be quite well done and include the 'painted over' rudder markings.


Since Accurate Miniature's demise, this kit has been reboxed by Italeri, Academy, and Eduard. It is still the best you can get in this scale and provides more detail than either the Hasegawa or the old Monogram kit. Well worth building if you fancy this aircraft.


January 2023

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