The "Slow But Deadly"
Dauntless earned its niche in world history as it dove on the Japanese aircraft
carriers during the battle of Midway. This nimble aircraft armed with two .50
caliber machine guns shooting through the propeller arch and two .30 caliber
machine guns defending its tail was quite an opponent. Japanese pilots quickly
learned these planes were not easy prey in spite their sluggish speed. In the
hands of a good pilot and gunner they shot down Zeros! John Northrop originally
designed this famous aircraft. Douglas improved the design and I would not doubt
that Ed Heinemann had his
I bought this kit when it was first released. I shortly got home and opened the box. I got to say it was a bit of a disappointment when I saw the dive breaks. I started the tedious job of aligning the centers of the indentations and drilling out every hole.. If I had just known Accurate Miniatures was to release the SBD! Nevertheless I soldiered on one hole at the time. Later on Hasegawa released another SBD with photo-etched flaps, which I got to make up for the initial heartbreak. That kit still is in the box, but I have really come to appreciate the handy saw they provided with it. A pretty expensive one, but it is good.
The cockpit is got a lot of detail, but it cannot match the level of detail the Accurate Miniatures kit has. For one, all radio equipment is missing. There are no seat belts, and there is no relief tube. The detail in the cockpit is crisp, the panel lines are thin and accurate, but the flaps are simply terrible! I did not expect that from Hasegawa. Oh! Well, one bad apple in the bushel. I can live with that. I put this kit away in its box halfway built and went to other project. Several years later, I opened again the box and decided to finish it. I had put enough work already in the flaps, so here it is. I used Floquil's Blue-Grey and Light U.S. Navy Grey. I used the kits decals and they were a dream. I wish Hasegawa still used the same process to make their new decals. I finished the model without the rear canopies. The guns are worth leaving exposed. I could not use the rear transparencies as they were designed to fit in the closed position. I liked Accurate Miniatures approach to this problem. A one-piece canopy and a multipart canopy that allows you to build it with all parts stowed. In spite all of its shortcomings the kit builds to a decent miniature replica of this famed airplane.
Once again happy modeling!
Photos and text © by Ed Fuquay