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  • Writer's picture@PlaneThought41

The Beast: 1/48th Monogram SB2C Helldiver

Updated: Sep 20, 2021

This is the old original 1/48th Monogram release of the Helldiver - 1960s vintage (not to be confused with the much later and more sophisticated ProModeller or Revell version released in 1997). My kit was from the 1973 release, which just had an updated the box from the original release, however with a bit of work I got a decent example out of this ancient kit back in my youth.

Notable Kit Features:

  • 1960 Monogram models were more toy like than replica like

  • Front and rear sliding canopies

  • Folding wings (for the smaller storage spaces below the kitchen countertop deck)

  • Bomb bay opened and closed (load 'em up we got a mission!)

  • Propeller spins (although you are responsible for all engine and other sounds)

  • Bomb was able to be dropped (so you could dive bomb targets of choice in the living-room)

  • Landing gear retracts (so you could cleanup the aircraft on the way to the target)

  • Movable dive brakes (to slow the steep descents from the ceiling - chair optional)

  • Positionable tail hook (for when you recover on the countertop carrier post dive bombing)

Build Inspiration:

Back in my younger years, I started getting more interested in WWII Pacific aircraft (after a period of focusing on WWII Europe and then Vietnam era aircraft). I noticed that as WWII progressed the size of the American aircraft (in particular) grew considerably. Distances to be traveled and aircraft capability were driving factors and you can clearly see this end result in the SB2C Helldiver. Aiding in my model making interest, I also purchased one of many "In Action" series of books on this aircraft and found a nice example of a yellow nose Helldiver to recreate in scale... and so it began.

Heads-Up Report:

  • Raised panel lines and details

  • Very sparse (and inaccurate) cockpit

  • Wing fold is rudimentary (and inaccurate)

  • Working bomb-bay hinges are heavy & inaccurate and should be removed

  • No detail in the gear wells... but there are wheel wells at least

  • Canopies are thick

  • Inaccurate rear defensive armament

Kit Additions / Modifications:

  • Sanded off raised panel lines and detail

  • 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)

  • Built wings in fixed open position and filled gaps in wing section joins

  • Sealed up the working bomb-bay and filled gaps

  • Replaced forward guns with brass tubing (albeit too heavy)

  • Replaced exhaust with brass tubing

  • Cut basic cowl flaps

  • Glued on the rocket stubs but not the rockets

End Result:

Painted up in the late USN FS 15042, with the added detail of the drilled out holes in the flaps, this kit looks decent at least on the display shelf. At the time I couldn't source the proper aircraft identification numbers, and so it remains today, as I rarely go back to fix a display aircraft model when there is plenty of stash kits to work on!

After-Build Report: This kit needs a fair bit of work to bring it around to a decent model. Really to build a SB2C you'd want to source the much later Pro Modeler release with engraved panel lines and modern detail... but this build is doable if you are looking for a really inexpensive build or a challenge to hone your skills on.

Note: The 1997 Pro Modeler kit was also re-released by Hasegawa (late 1990s), Revell (1998 & 2011) and Accurate Miniatures (2005) most kits with photo-etch details included.

Completed build #15 - November 1986 using the 1/48th scale Monogram #6831 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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