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This is another one of those kits that I never got around to building in my youth.  Not that I didn't try once or twice!  But now that I'm older and stupider, I decided to give it another go by tackling one step at a time to see how far I could get it.

I started by tossing all of the interior parts and scratch-built new cockpits from plastic sheet.  I did use a resin seat for the pilot. 

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With that done, I assembled the rest of the kit and sanded all of the rivets on the wings and fuselage down until just a hint of them remained.  I also drilled out the dive brakes and filled the gun troughs forward of the windscreen (the troughs should only be in the cowling).  I also addressed the non-existent wheel wells by carving a basswood master for the dish-shaped interiors and smash-molding inserts.  They aren't entirely accurate but they are better than nothing.  At this point the whole thing looked really rough and I had my doubts about it.  Time for a coat of primer!

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That revealed only a few spots that needed a little filler, much better than I had hoped for.   But to get any further I would have to address the windscreen and canopies, potentially the hardest part of the project. Using the kit parts was out of the question, they are pretty awful.  I did not have the Falcon set of vac canopies that includes the SBD's but I did have a Pavla vac canopy set intended for use with the Hasegawa SBD kit.  I carefully cut out each section of that (discovering in the process that a razor-sharp chisel blade is an EXCELLENT way to cut and trim vac canopies, something I always struggled with), and tediously trimmed and test fit until things fit as well as they were going to.  The only real problem spot is at the very rear of the rearmost section- the canopy and fuselage have very different shapes there so I trimmed and sanded both to get them to meet halfway.  I ended up with one of the best fitting vac canopy jobs I've ever gotten away with.  A little bit of Vallejo putty helped smooth things out.

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It was a pretty easy trip to the finish line from there.  I painted it with Mission Models paints (my new favorites), used Starfighter Decals for the markings of Medal of Honor winner Lt. (jg) William Hall of VS-2 which flew off the U.S.S. Lexington during the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942. The spinner was made from a re-shaped parts box spinner.

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I'm pretty happy with it, it turned out much better than I thought it would!

Dan

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Fantastic!

Given a choice, I'd always go for Hasegawa's kit in this scale; yet your excellent build shows you have such skill that it doesn't matter.

Impressive result, extremely well done. :clap2::clap2::clap2:

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Great build and finish, it was one of those kits I'd always walked past, but this makes you stop and appreciate what can be achieved in skilful hands :)

 

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Fantastic result! I applaud your skills and your eye for what is needed to improve an oldtimer. Welcome in the virtual club of vintage kit modellers! This goes beyond painting a modern kit nicely!

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That looks very nice, Sir!

 

Good to see it in the pre-war scheme, too.

 

Kudos on wrangling this so well, and especially on that trim little interior.

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What a great result from an old kit, Dan -

 

Looks superb

 

Regards

 

Dave

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One I certainly built in my younger days and one I have been working on in recent times too - although it's currently put away in a box for when I get my enthusiasm back.

Your build certainly sets a standard I'd be struggling to match.

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Great job with the interior and other detail work, Dan.  I like the colors and subtle weathering too.  Well done, and I'd be tickled pink if I could get my Dauntless looking even half as nice as yours.

 

Cheers,

 

Mark

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Great work on an old kit.  Your cockpit and canopy work has transformed this kit. Well done sir!  I too have one with the dive brakes drilled but that is as far as it got.  Your work is inspiration to resurrect the project.

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