Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

SB2U-3 Vindicator
VMSB-241, Battle of Midway


Accurate Miniatures, 1/48

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: 480202 - SB2U-3 VINDICATOR Marine Corps Bomber.  VMSB-241, Battle of Midway
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 111 parts in grey styrene, 11 parts in clear injection molded plastic, etched metal seat belts. Instructions and decal sheet for one complete aircraft with numerals to make one of 11 different aircraft.
Price: USD$27.43 on line from Squadron.com
Review Type: FirstLook - In Box
Advantages: Finally the Vindicator is out. Masks for the clear parts
Disadvantages: Overdone fabric ribbing of the wings and control surfaces; noticeable vertical sink marks on rear fuselage; canopy molding
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman

Accurate Miniatures' 1/48 scale SB2U-3 Vindicator 
is available online from Squadron 




The day I received this kit, there was an article in the news about advances in reproductive science; a woman gave birth to a baby that was “conceived” 13 years ago. It may not have been 13 years ago that a high quality, injection molded kit of the Vindicator was conceived, but given the trials and tribulations of Accurate Miniatures since that conception, very few modelers thought the kit would finally be released.

Well, it is here and one and all can be rightly proud of this kit. The level of detail is excellent. If you enjoyed the SBD series, then you will not be disappointed with the Vindicator. In fact, it appears that the cockpit interior is represented in finer detail than was the case with the Dauntless.

The kit is well molded and there are virtually no visible mold ejector marks. Those that are inside the fuselage would be hidden under the sidewall detail, or easily cleaned up with a few swipes of sand paper.



Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The surface detail is made up of finely engraved panel lines and virtually microscopic, and appropriate, rivets and panel fasteners. The fabric on the fuselage is beautifully represented. My sample, however, had two vertical sink marks on the left fuselage half and one on the right causing a noticeable crease in the fabric. These sink marks run the full height of the fuselage. They appear to be related to the molding of the rear bulkhead alignment rib, to which part 68 attaches, and a smaller rib further forward.

I am also not sure about the representation of the fabric on the main wings and control surfaces. To my eye, they look a bit overdone; somewhat like wood furring strips applied over tarpaper. According to the instructions, Accurate Miniatures was provided access to the sole surviving SB2U at Pensacola, Florida, so the representation may be correct. My observations are based on pictures alone. But given how fine is all the other detail, the ribbing just looks a bit much to me.



It has been brought to my attention that there may be an issue with the wing machine guns. The -3 was intended to carry four .50 cal machine guns in the wings, outside of the propeller arch. But in practice, they usually carried only one. It appears that the unused gun ports were blanked-off. The kit does have the four opening for the guns in the upper wing halves, but you will need to make and insert the gun barrels, or blank-off the openings.

Now for the issue with the kit, in the –1 / 2 Vindicator, the single wing gun was in the starboard (right) wing. When the -3 carried only one gun, it also was in the starboard wing. The wing in the -3 kit has the ejection port on the underside of the port (left) wing only. If the same wing underside is used for the –1 / 2 Vindicator, it appears to be incorrect. The kit has it molded on the wrong under-wing.

Furthermore, if, in fact, the -3 was to carry four guns, would there not have been under-wing provisions for four ejection slot panels? There would be one under each wing inside the wing fold, and one under each wing outside the wing fold. The kit does not have that represented.

Finally, it also appears that the ejection port is molded too close to the wheel well and intrudes upon the opening. It should be further out by approximately 1/l6 inch.

I also have questions regarding the canopy. All the pictures I have seen of the -3 (and apparently the -1/2 also) show that the canopy immediately behind the pilot's position was sheet metal for the length of approximately three canopy frames. The kit does not have this represented. Instead, the entire canopy is "framed". Even if painted to represent the sheet metal, the frame lines would still be quite distinct under the paint. Although the paining guide shows that part of the canopy is to be painted, it should be specifically pointed out.

The kit does provide for a few options, one of which appears to be “a secret”. There is one 1000 pound bomb and two 100 pound bombs. The bombs have nicely molded fins and finely molded arming propellers. Be careful handing the bombs, as the propeller is delicate. There is an option to place practice bomb dispensers under the wings in place of the 100 pound bombs. There is also a centerline tank that can be used instead of the 1000 pound bomb.

You have the option of using weighted or un-weighted tires. Additionally, there are open and closed cowl flaps and open and closed canopies. With regard to the canopy, AM has saved many a modeler a good deal of time consuming masking of that grand greenhouse by including a set of masks. I noticed that two of the masks should be reversed, as they are incorrect on the sheet. The first two sets of masks immediately behind the windshield masks should be reversed in position. The larger of the two should be applied at the forward most position.

The one “secret option” appears to be the wing fold. There are two parts in the kit numbered 6 and 7. They are clearly the bulkheads to create a folded wing. The bulkheads are molded as a single piece with the appropriate wing-fold angle. The instructions are silent on these parts. One could be venturesome and cut the wings and the spar to have a folded wing bird. Fold lines appear to be clearly engraved at the inboard end of the control surfaces. I wish the wing fold could have been scribed on the inner surface with appropriate instructions.


The marking provided are for the Vindicators of Marine unit VMSB-241 at Midway on June 5, 1942, all in Blue-Gray over Light Gray. There is a complete set of national markings and stencils for one aircraft. But, there are individual aircraft numbers to represent any one of 11 different aircraft. You will, however, either have to paint the white fuselage medical tape bands or use white decal strips, as none are provided on the decal sheet. The decals are cleanly printed, but the printer is not indicated, bearing only the AM logo and name.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

In looking at the decals there is one point not made clear in the marking instructions. The instructions explain that just prior to the Battle of Midway the red and white rudder stripes and the red centers to the national markings were painted over. The kit provides decals, 3 and 4, for the rudder that represent the rudder stripes over painted with a Blue-Gray paint. One may choose to use these, or apply red and white rudder decals from another source and over paint with a Blue-Gray.

The problem with the instructions is with respect to the national markings. The instructions indicate that the national roundels, decals 1a and 2a, are to have white dots, decals 1c and 2c, applied at the center. But, the instructions show a lightened, but identifiable, red center. Most likely the proper decal placement order would be to apply decals 1a and 2 a, then apply the red centers, 1b and 2b, then finally apply the white centers, 1c and 2c. The effect then would be to have the red appear to have been over painted with white.

Unless my sample did not come with another piece of paper, or I unwittingly misplaced it, there is no explanation for the marking on the sheet for “131-S-7”.




From what I see in the box, all the effort to bring the Vindicator to modelers was certainly worth it. It truly is a welcome addition to the models of early WW-2 U.S. aircraft. Even though I have raised some issues, which should be considered, I recommend this kit.

I would also like to point out that the AM packaging tradition continues on. The kit is packed in a large box with the larger sprues separated from the delicate clear parts, decals and instructions by means of a cardboard separator. In this instance, the cardboard separator is a “work of art” and can be framed and put on the wall of one’s workroom. The separator pictures the Vindicator of pilot Capt. Richard Fleming and radio/gunner PFC George Toms.


Thanks to Joe Myers at Accurate Miniatures for the review sample.

Accurate Miniature kits are available worldwide through hobby retailers and at Squadron.com

Review and Images Copyright © 2005 by Steven Eisenman
Page Created 14 July, 2005
Last updated 16 July, 2005

Back to HyperScale Main Page

Back to Reviews Page