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SB2C-4 Helldiver


Academy 1/72

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Academy No. 12406 SB2C-4 Helldiver
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media: 84 light grey plastic parts on two sprues, 6 very clear plastic parts on one sprue, decals for four aircraft including stencils, a four page fold-out instruction sheet with history, 13 computer generated build diagrams and parts plan with a separate decal/paint sheet.
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Heaps of interior detail for the cockpit, bomb-bay, wheel wells and engine bay, it looks like the canopy can be modelled open plus separate slats which can also be modelled open or closed.
Disadvantages: Computer generated build diagrams, bomb-bay may need to be modified to be closed and no under-wing ordinance.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Reviewed by Glen Porter

Academy's 1/72 scale SB2C-4 Helldiver will be available online from Squadron.com



The SB2C Helldiver, sometimes referred to by its crews as the “Big Tailed Beast” or as the “Son of a Bitch, 2nd Class”, was the replacement for the SBD Dauntless and was initially not liked because of its size. However it prove fast and tough and in fact sank more enemy shipping in the Pacific than any other US or Allied aircraft.

It has been quite a while since this kit, from Academy, was announced but it's been worth the wait. Like the other WWII aircraft in 1/72 scale that Academy has released over the last twelve months or so, it's highly detailed and looks quite accurate.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

With the quality of moulding we've come to expect from Academy with a level of detail far above the old Matchbox/Revell kit from a few years ago. Academy's new kit has many of the attributes that Braille Scale Modellers have been asking for for years now.

Apart from the high level of detail in all areas you've got things like open cow-flaps, separate leading-edge slats, open canopy and optional prop with or without a spinner.

That's not to say they couldn't have gone further with dropped flaps, lowered spine behind the rear cockpit and a bomb-bay that can be modelled closed. Still, no kit is perfect, so let's not quibble about what they haven't done and say “Thank You” for what they have.

A separate sheet is provided with the instructions for painting and decal placement and this covers the three main colour schemes used on this aircraft. The first two are in over-all Gloss Sea Blue, two aircraft from VB-85 aboard USS Shangri-La in June 1945. The next, from VB-3, aboard USS Yorktown, is in the three colour scheme and dated April 1945. The last is in the very attractive Atlantic Scheme of Dark Gull Grey and White, unit, ship and date unknown.

All the recent Academy decals that I have used have behaved perfectly so I expect these to do similar. With good register, colour density and minimum carrier film, Academy have supplied all the special markings for all four aircraft plus two very comprehensive sets of stencils, one white for the Gloss Sea Blue aircraft and black for the others plus national markings and even a set of instrument decals. These last could be done with-out as the instrument panels have raised details and the decals don't have much in the way of colour.

There are only three thing I don't like about this kit, and none are serious enough to put me off.

  1. Academy has started using computer generated build diagrams like Dragon and Mirage. They are a bit vague in clarity although not as bad as the other companies mentioned but I would still prefer the line drawings.

  2. The bomb-bay doors are fixed to the side-walls and can only be modelled open with-out modification.

  3. Academy have supplied two bombs for the bomb-bay but no ordinance for the under-wing mounts.

The above gripes aside, this is a lovely little kit of a very important aircraft and with seat belts and perhaps some under-wing bombs and rockets has enough to make the members at your next club competition swoon.

Highly Recommended.

Purchased for review by HyperScale

Review and Images Copyright © 2006 by Glen Porter
Page Created 15 February, 2006
Last updated 14 February, 2006

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