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  • Writer's picture@PlaneThought41

Daunting Example: 1/48th Monogram SBD-5 Dauntless

This is another ancient 1/48th Monogram kit and build. Their Dauntless is 1960s vintage and was a toy more than a model. The landing gear worked, the wheels rolled, the dive flaps popped open and the bomb cradle worked. All attractive features for kids building model aircraft in the 1960s and 70s.

Notable Kit Features:

  • Decent aircraft outline

  • Front and rear sliding canopies

  • Bomb was able to be dropped using cradle

  • Landing gear retracts

  • Movable dive brakes

  • Positionable tail hook

Build Inspiration:

The SBD was the United States Navy's (and Marines) main Dive-Bomber from mid-1940 through mid-1944. It was flown from land bases as well as aircraft carriers and was definitely a necessity in my collection.

Heads-Up Report:

  • 1960 Monogram models were more toy like than replica like

  • Raised panel lines and details

  • Very sparse almost non-existent (and inaccurate) cockpit

  • Pilot seat has slot in which the molded pilot fits in such slot

  • No wing fold

  • Dive brakes have depressions instead of holes in the plastic

  • Working bomb crutch hinges are heavy & inaccurate and should be reworked

  • No detail in the gear wells

  • Inaccurate rear defensive armament

Kit Additions / Modifications:

  • The pilot’s bulkhead back is open, so a piece of sheet styrene was used as a back

  • Constructed pilot's seat to fill slot cut away for pilot figure

  • Sanded off raised panel lines and detail

  • Removed dive brake working gear links

  • Drilled out the dive brake holes (upper and lower but did not add sawtooth edges on top brakes as that was deemed beyond my skills at the time) Two hundred and sixty-five holes drilled out and you're done.

  • Reworked bomb cradle to be more accurate

  • Made arrestor hook more accurate by removing working feature

  • Opened up front air scoop

End Result:

In the early days of my air-brushing I would experiment with whether masking was necessary or not. In this case I masked off the lighter lower paint and sprayed the final dark blue free-hand. Afterwards I decided that masking was still probably best. The paint scheme for this aircraft was the WWII USN "Tri-Colour" scheme of Navy Blue (FS 35042) / Intermediate Blue (FS 35164) over White. I finished my Monogram SBD-5 using the kit decals. No weathering was done to this kit.

The After-Build Report:

This Monogram kit needs a fair bit of work to bring it around to a decent looking model but it can be done. Still I wouldn't recommend it. Realistically, you'll be much better off with any one of the newer kit releases. The excellent Accurate Miniatures version alone was released by Academy, Italeri & Eduard. There is also the 1/48th Hasegawa kit whos early renditions featured plastic non-perforated (just depressions in the plastic) dive brakes (break out your drill) - this was corrected by the inclusion of perforated phot-etch parts with later kits.

Completed build #54 - December 1998 using the 1/48th scale Monogram #6830 kit.

Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers

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1 comentário

Zac Yates
Zac Yates
10 de jun. de 2023

It's great to see an older kit given such care and attention, what a lovely build! The lack of wing fold in the kit should be forgiven as the original SBD didn't feature it.

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