Monday, August 30, 2010

1/32 Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless by BBI Elite Force

The SBD Dauntless was the most successful American dive-bomber of WWII inflicting massive damage on enemy ships in the Pacific war, serving the US Navy & Marine Corps. After the Japanese strike on Pearl Harbor, the SBDs operated from the US aircraft carriers Lexington and Yorktown during the early months of 1942. During the battle of the Coral Sea, the SBDs were joined by the Douglas TBD Devastator torpedo aircraft, and together they attacked and sank the Japanese light carrier Shoho and damaged the fleet carrier Shokaku. This was followed in June 1942 by the Battle of Midway, where SBDs from the carriers Enterprise,Hornet and Yorktown had a major success by sinking the Japanese carriers Akagi, Kaga and Soryu, and damaging the Hiryu so badly that it had to be scuttled. By the end of the battle, Japan had lost most of its capital ships in the Pacific.

Fascinated by HobbyMaster's 1/32 SBD Dauntless and despite the fact that I do not collect models in 1/32 scale; I decided to go for this alternative. This one came at almost 1/4th the price of its diecast counterpart, so I was pessimistic at first. Inside the box, it looked rather toyish, but after some basic assembly and properly displayed, this SBD is much better than I was expecting.

The good points:

- Pilots are much more realistic than HobbyMaster's SBD.
- Has weathering finishes which are nicely done.
- No sign of gaps and parts fit very well.

The bad points:

- Fixed flaps & rudder.
- No schemes to choose from as it this is the only SBD from BBI so far.
- Lacks detail on the arresting hook & landing gear.
- To close the gunner canopy section, you need to remove the figure and the gun as well.
- Rear gun is fixed and cannot be rotated.
- No stand is provided with the model. I had to borrow a Corgi stand for the photos :)

Things in common with the HM's Dauntless:

- Rotating metal propeller
- Sliding canopy
- Retractable undercarriage
- Rolling wheels
- Movable centerline bomb rack

Although I do not own one, Hobby Master's SBDs have the edge in quality, no doubt about this. BBI simply offers a plastic alternative Dauntless in 1/32, for those who don't want to spend too much and still want that big bulky model in their collection :)

This one represents an SBD-5 Dauntless dive bomber flown from the USS Enterprise (CV-6) by VB-10 in Operation Hailstone, a carrier strike against the Japanese base at Truk in the Caroline Islands, on February 16-17, 1944. Armament consists of a 1000 lb (454kg) bomb under the fuselage and two 100 lb (45kg) bombs under the wings.

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