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1/18 French SBD-5 Dauntless UPDATE 18/11/16 FINISHED!

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*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


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Been wondering what you been up to ? I can see you have been busy some lovely work Rich the skin and riveting looks great will be a shame to cover it in paint but then you don't see to many NMF SBD-5's or do you ? :whistle:

Keep up the good work.



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Fabulous. That will need some shelf to display it!

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Excellent, just caught up with your progress, that foil has really improved the exterior

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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...

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*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!






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