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Everything posted by richdlc

  1. thanks very much guys, appreciate the comments :-)
  2. thank you very much. I was a little concerned I'd overdone it but it matches u to my reference pics cheers..my photos are not great as I just used my iphone, but the best I could do! thank you Adrian, very kind cheers! The most time consuming and tedious part, probably many thanks Dave :-) yes I'm pleased with the end result! I did mate, many thanks, they were a big improvement cheers Pete thank you! haha thank you, might inspire them to take u the hobby? thank you Pete. This is a well documented and well known machine, and I put my own slant on it cheers Russ, shame I can't convey the sheer size and presence in photos
  3. thanks guys yes I was always in two minds about the weathering throughout the build, but it looks 'worse' than it is in close up photos... but you are right, these machines were at the end of their service life and heavily weathered.
  4. total construction time just under two years. From Merit SBD-3/4 kit with extensive modifications. New windshield, scratchbuilt flaps and actuating mechanism, scratchbuilt interior, twin 0.30 cals, engine, engine accessory compartment, bomb racks and fuselage interior. Skinned with pewter sheet.
  5. *update 18/11/16* Hi guys as you will no doubt be aware by now, the Dauntless was finished a few weeks ago in time for Telford. I'll now update the build thread to show you how I got to that stage... the canopies are good, albeit way too thick. To correct this issue it's really necessary to replace them. However, due to time (and talent) constraints I decided to work with what I had and detail them. Various accoutrements, locking handles and emergency release handles etc. were added: I decided to have a full bomb load 'for display purposes' - I'm well aware of the age old argument as to whether ordnance is mounted with panels open. Some say yes, some say no. I thought it would be a shame not to have the aircraft bombed up. First of all I scratched the outer bomb pylons as the kit ones are rubbish. Here's the right hand one (with strike camera): and both of them - the bombs were also dressed up with new fins, fuses and fuse wires: Main bomb and its distinctive cradle: The main wheels are those horrible rubber efforts that some kits come with. I had them replaced with 3D-printed ones: The propeller is the wrong type for this machine. Although a Hamilton pro, it represents an earlier incarnation, with the large counterweights around it. I widened the tips, and created a new prop boss After that it was simply a matter of painting....a lot of painting. I used Colourcoats enamels for the tri-colour scheme, which are the most accurate paints on the market. The French machines retained the U.S.N. glossy sea blue / intermediate blue / non-specular white scheme in Indochina. I ended up with this: All national / unit markings were deliberately hand-painted for an authentic look. there are plenty of other things that I didn't have time to photo-document, for example the windshield, but you can see them in the 'ready for inspection' forum The model took a 'commended' at the IPMS UK Nationals in Telford last week Many thanks for following my build over the past two years. Needless to say I never want to see another Dauntless again. I hope to be able to enter it in more competitions in coming years, and to have more people see it in person, because it's hard to appreciate the sheer size of this beast! regards Rich
  6. many thanks guys. It's a very slow, but rewarding process. A few more months should see me over the finish line. In time for Telford? It's 50/50 at the moment...
  7. *update 30/6/16* Hi everyone I’ve been hard at work over the last few weeks. Last time I showed you how I made the actuating mechanism for the wing dive brakes. This time around, it’s all about metal skinning. A major shortcoming of the kit is the fact that every rivet is recessed (this being basically a scale up / rip off of the old Accurate Miniatures 1/48 kit). You can get away with it in 1/48 - not so 1/18. Every panel was measured, riveted and cut from pewter sheet. Some were easier than others. I had to bear in mind at all times later stages in the construction - for example, the wings won’t be attached to the fuselage for some time, but I still had to make all the relevant panels ready to attach. Here are a few photos showing where I am up to - around 90% of the body is either metallized, or has panels ready to attach later: I’ve also been working on all the flaps, ailerons and moving surfaces…some pics: for the fabric surfaces, I thought long and hard about trying to replicate the excellent results achieved by Peter (Airscale) on his 1/18 Spitfire build using scratchbuilt frameworks covered in Solartex. In the end I decided I just don’t have the time (or frankly, the skill and inclination) to try that with this build. It’s already nearly 18 months in and I’m impatient! In the end I tried a different technique. I put a grinding bit in my dremel and let it ‘dance’ over the fabric surfaces on the flaps - this left random little nicks and gouges across the surface of the parts. After I’d polished them up using a polishing wheel (again in the dremel) the flaps had a high gloss shine, the harshest edges of the indentations were nicely burred out and it looked kind of cool. Time will tell if it has worked or not. Without the benefit of an undercoat, the effect kind of looks like wood grain as opposed to canvas…..but we’ll have to wait and see. Check it out: The plane is now slowly approaching the stage where I can attach the wings to the fuselage. However, before that happens I must first scratchbuild the actuating mechanism for the central dive brake…. and tackle the cockpit transparencies. For now though, here’s a mock up - as it is difficult to convey the sheer size, I roped in a rather handsome model to hold the plane for the cameras. One other thing I can’t really convey is the weight of this beast - which is going up considerably the more metal I add! more soon, but possibly not for several more weeks Rich
  8. thanks very much Guy thanks for the heads up...this will actually be a French machine circa 1948 / Indochina. From what I've seen the colour scheme didn't change from the one used by the previous owners (i.e. the USN). I might have to do some more research into the colour of the centre dive flap though
  9. many thanks guys! It did test my patience at times but it's a rewarding exercise when all is said and done.. ask me how I feel after doing the other side and the centre one though
  10. This end (the end closest to the fuselage) is subtly different as the entire mechanism joins onto the mechanism for the under-fuselage dive flap Observe the left hand side of the bottom flap in the last photo - notice the notch cut out of its edge. Unfortunately this isn’t strictly accurate - a mistake during the design process meant that the bottom flaps were made as simple copies of the top ones. The top ones DO have a notch cut out of the edge closest to the fuselage, but the bottom ones do not, as you can just about ascertain from this photo: I’m not too bothered by this. Eagle-eyed viewers (and no doubt real Dauntless owners and pilots) will probably pull me up on it, but TBH it would take longer to fix it than not. And that’s the least of my problems! This one flap has probably taken 30 hours to make, and I have the other one to do, plus the center flap! Until next time, any feedback and comments / queries welcomed. Rich
  11. **update 17/4/16** Hi everyone - I feel it is time for one of my periodic updates, so here goes… In recent weeks I have been concentrating almost exclusively on the dive brakes. These are a very distinctive feature of the SBD, and as they are painted bright red, provide a welcome splash of colour. You may recall that I got mine custom made in brass, at great expense. Although generally I avoid brass as I don’t like working with it (and feel that it offeres limited detailing possibilities as everything is flat), in this case I don’t think that I could have made the main flaps in any other way - at least not to the same standard and consistency. There are dozens of holes in the dive flaps that need to be exactly the same size - a difficult proposition if scratchbuilding the entire thing.. I started by making the outer flaps. The first step was to glue everything together and add some rudimentary details in the form of strengthening spars from plastic strip of the appropriate diameter. I mentioned earlier how I cut out the dive flap sections from the wings to make it easier to build them, and I’m glad I did as they require constant handling. The kit parts are designed to be moveable - the plastic parts are held in place by little brass flanges hidden within the wing halves, and these are in turn held in place by screws. I modified the aforementioned brass flanges and screwed them in place, then reinforced them with the strongest two-part epoxy I could find. Onto the flanges I then soldered the dive flaps. Believe me, I hated every minute! I’m rubbish at soldering, but eventually even my ham-fisted attempts produced a strong enough join. This means that the dive flaps are now held open at the correct angle. The soldered joins take the weight. Once I add the opening/closing mechanism, there will be some additional strength. It’s not rock-solid, but anything less than a direct hit on the dive flaps shouldn’t do any lasting damage… Unfortunately I was now left with an unsightly mess, so….I cheated and covered up all evidence of soldering with plastic rod, pewter sheet etc. This does mean that things are slightly overscale, and that if scaled up to real life size the whole mechanism would be fouled by the oversize framing, but that’s not really a major issue for me. I had to compromise and I think the result looks OK. Now for some photos of the real thing - they should show the complexity of the main feature of the dive flaps, which is the actuating mechanism: Each flap has six actuating arms arranged in equal spacing along a couple of tubes. I gradually made mine from plastic sheet, strip and rod, plus some resin nuts and bolts, adding layers of detail. There is a little artistic licence here and there. I would estimate that each actuating system, plus associated flaps have over 200 pieces in them. Everything was done in batches of 6, repeated ad nauseum… In place on the right hand dive flap - the final ends of the actuating arms can only be cut to shape and added once the assembly is glued into place…
  12. glad you are still going with this one! I'm sorry I was never able to get over and photograph that real one I mentioned all those months ago for you :-( But unless they actually own one and spot any errors, I think the casual observer will still think it looks amazing!!
  13. ah, many thanks! Glad you've cleared up that mystery cheers for looking in guys
  14. The kit part is a 50% accurate representation, which sacrifices authenticity for rigidity and, to an extent, workability. The gear legs are designed to be pinned in place and movable. Also, when in place, the gear legs sit too high up into the wheel well, and lack lots of detail. Here’s hwat I mean - compare to the above picture: A metal rod goes from back to front through the visible hole and pins the gear legs in place, whilst leaving them free to retract - no good for me as I meed stability and strength. A butt-load of details were added to the kit parts. Entombed within each one is an old drill bit for added strangth. I also shortened the oleo struts by removing about half of their length. This may prove to be a weak point sometime in the future, but I glued everything back together with the strongest two-part epoxy I could find, so fingers crossed: In order to glue the wing halves together, it was first necessary to glue int the finished wheel struts, which I duly did, again with two-part epoxy. Is it a 100% accurate representation of the original? No. I had to sacfifice some accuracy for overall strength, but I am happy with the result. The gear struts now sit lower down in the gear bays and are as strong as I could make them. Oh yes - I totally forgot to take pics of the gear bays themselves before shooting a coat of Halfords white primer over them, but rest assured there are many added details. The undersides will be USN Non-specular white, hence the need to undercoat them before assembling the wings.. Finally, for now, undercarriage doors. Here’s the real thing - note how chunky they are: Here is one of the kit parts with my replacements, with which I am much happier: That’s it for now! State of play currently is: wings assembled, skinning started, main undercart legs attached. Next up is the huge task of making the dive brakes / flaps…..*sigh* I decided it would be much easier to chop out the section where the wing dive flaps go as I had to get on and get the wings glued together. I’ll add the completed flap sections nearer the end of the build as they will be fragile, heavy and prone to breaking. Till next time..
  15. *update 27/3/16* Hi guys, Happy Easter! It’s been a while since my last update, and I have been concentrating on the wings. A huge job, with many compicated facets, but one which I couldn’t put off any longer First up, the wing ‘mailbox slots’ names for their similarity to, er, mailbox slots at the time. They were designed to improve airflow and aileron control at slow speeds. Unfortunately, the kit is badly let down in this area with the openings moulded closed - really a poor design and totally unacceptable in this scale: top bottom Here’s the real thing to give you some idea of what it looks like: The easiest way to emulate it was to chop out the offending sections completely in both the top and bottom wing halves. I then built up the inside curves and sides using plastic sheet, strip and rod. The two dividing strengtheners were shoehorned in, and any resulting gaps filled so everything ‘flows’. Here’s the internal structure attached to the inside of the bottom wing half: Here’s what it looks like with the top wing half on: and from underneath again: By the time the pewter skin panels are cut to shape, riveted and attached, you end up with this: bottom: top: Daylight from bottom to top - as it should be! Next up, the main gear legs. I did have the scale aircraft conversions white metal ones to replace the kit parts. Unfortunately they are a direct copy, the problem being that the oleo struts are completely extended. As I want to give my plane a full bomb load for a change, this wasn’t good. Anther problem arose when I checked my ref pics. Here’s the real thing. Notice how the top of the leg is reinforced and bulked out with two adjoining sections, and how that section sticks out below the level of the wheel well:
  16. You may have noticed this detail: These small sliding doors were added to late model Dauntlesses that had been fitted with twin 0.50 cal rear guns. The kit, representing an earlier model, does not have these. To add them required chopping a section out of the fuselage on either side, and then scratching the doors and their rails from petwer. Here you can see one sie done. The topmost rails will attach to the bottom of the gun storage tunnel’s doors: You can see on this image the modified cooling slot openings characteristic of the SBD-5 (the earlier models of Dauntless had shorter, fatter ones). I’ll add the mealwork for these later. Finally for this update, here’s a photo of the giant 1/18 etched dive flap set that I had especially made at huge expense…at bottom right is the 1/32 version for size comparison: and again, little and large versions: But that’s a story for another time! Final image - a quick test fit. Starting to look like a real plane now! Regards Rich
  17. **UPDATE 12/02/16** Hi - it’s been quite a while since my last update, and quite a lot has happened. First of all, I finished off the forward gunaccess panels / IP coaming assembly. In these two images you can see the old SBD-3 style coaming with telescopic gunsight, and the newer style applicable to the SBD-5. Many of my reference pics are of restored machines, so I can’t be 100% sure if I’ve modified mine correctly. However, the general consensus seemed to be to cut it down, and fill in any holes. The basic shape is now there for further detailing. It was necessary to do this before attaching to the fuselage. Oh yes - and I radically thinned down the leading edge: as in other areas of this kit, it was way too thick. Because I’d forced the fuselage halves together in certain areas, I had to widen the IP coaming at the rear, and add quite a lot of plastic scrap and filler once it was in place. This view shows the bottom of the part - at front are the bun troughs for the forward fifties. These can be partly seen through the open engine access panels, so I added a few details with riveted pewter, and plastic. On the right, the butts of the forward fifties which protrude into the cockpit. Minimal detailing was required as not much of them can be seen. The part could then be attached permanently: Next up - skinning! I’ve now covered 80% of the fuselage with pewter panels. One of the major downsides to this kit is the fact that every single rivet is recessed - an unforgivable error in this scale as the exact opposite is the case on the real aircraft. I knew right from the start that I would have to skin the aircraft in metal. I did try and follow Peter (Castle from Airscale’s) example as seen on his Tigercat build, and use litho plate. However, after a few experiments I reached the conclusion that it isn’t for me - at least not on curved areas. It just isn’t malleable, or forgiving enough for my tastes.That’s not to say I wouldn’t use it on large, flat areas like the wings - but for now I am using up my stash of pewter. Enough talking - here are some pics:
  18. haha thanks Pete. It's not quite in the same league as those guys who build 1/5 Spitfires and the like from metal, but I like to pack in as much detail as I can... Hi - thanks very much! The idea is to have it ready for Telford in November, although that might not happen..who knows? Yeah the pewter turned out well. Probably only do-able in this large scale.. thank you very much. Unfortunately this won't be an all metal machine, rather a three tone blue/grey French navy one
  19. The engine is now attached permanently to the cowling. For the final part of this update, I will focus on the windshield. The SBD-3/4 had a telescopic gunsight that protruded through the windshield glass, whereas the SDB-5/6 was fitted with a Mark 8 Naval gunsight. I could have gone down the whole master / vacform route, but as I don’t have any vacforming equipment, I decided to take a big risk. I chopped out the windshield glass, and through trial and error I made a replacement one-piece one from clear thermaform. Believe me, this was tricky, and took around half a dozen attempts before I was remotely happy with it. Here’s the windshield, pre-modification - you can see the big hole for the telescopic sight at the bottom. And the same item after I chopped it up, masked and undercoated, with the clear thermaform part. Oh yes - rivets are prominent on the canopies / enclosures too - the first of many were added from appropriate hex-shaped plastic rod: Bit of a poor photo this, but that’s a Mk.VIII gunsight under construction… a few more bits to add to the windshield, such as the magnetic compass and the bullet resistant glass pane - it’s a wonder the pilot could see anything forward at all! update ends! Any and all comments welcomed, as usual Rich
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