by: Andy Brazier [ ]
History The final production version of the famous Helldiver dive bomber was the SB2C-5 which was able to carry much more fuel, featured a paddle-bladed propeller without a spinner, enlarged bomb bay, sliding front cockpit canopy hood with simplified framing and other improvements. By standard, it was also fitted with the AN/APS-4 radar set.
Being delivered to a few US Navy units, the SB2C-5 version took part in the closing fightings of the war. For a short while after the war, the type became a standard dive bomber of the US Navy until being discarded from the front line service.
Within the military aid programme, the SB2C-5 Helldiver was also delivered to Italy, Greece, Portugal and Thailand. The Italian Helldivers were the longest-serving ones, flying until 1959. Greece successfully used her machines to battle the communist insurgents during the Greek Civil War.
France´s machines were operated not only in domestic waters but also, and one may say most importantly in the then French Indo-China where they saw action against the Viet-Minh and got themselves famous in 1954 for taking part in the heroic, albeit unsuccessfull operation to liberate seized Dien Bien Phu.
Info from Special Hobby
In the box Packed in an attractive top opening box, the front depicts a artwork French Naval SB2C-5 Helldiver in flight.
Inside the box you will find three solid colour sprues and two clear sprues, along with a bag of resin parts and a small photo etch sheet.
Although the majority of the parts are produced from the Academy kit which dates back too 2005, to make the SB2C-5 version Special Hobby have added two new sprues to this boxing, so a number of Academy parts are not used.
The new plastic parts are for the bomb bay doors and the four bladed prop. New clear parts for the canopy are also supplied.
Flash on the kit is non existent, considering the age of the moulds, but there are a few pin marks that will need dealing with, most notably in the undercarriage bays and doors.
Exterior detail is very nice with recessed panel lines and raised area's for the control surfaces adorning the fuselage and wings.
Interior detail is very nice and with the inclusion of the resin and photo etch parts should give it a very busy cockpit. Some surgery is required to fit the new parts, as well as filling a section of the cockpit floor.
Detail is sparse in the undercarriage bays with only some very prominent spars inside the bays. Detail for the legs is pretty much standard for 1/72nd but with the inclusion of resin wheels, with some nice tread incorporated on the tires, the detail is taken up a notch.
The internal weapons bay has some fine detail inside and along with the detail moulded onto the doors does look the part. The doors can be only modelled open.
An engine face fits inside the one piece cowling and with some paint and a wash should bring the detail out.
The clear parts are thin and err "clear" with no distortions. The canopies are only shown modelled closed in the instructions.
The resin and photo etch parts add to the detail in certain areas.
The photo etch sheet holds the harness for the pilot and a back plate for the resin wheels.
The resin parts cover a wide selection of parts, including an instrument panel with rudder pedals, new main and tail wheels, and all of the external ordnance.
The resin parts are free of any blemishes, and are mated to the casting block only at one end, and should be easy to remove and clean up.
Weapons for the Helldiver consist of a pair of internally mounted 0.30 in (7.62 mm) M1919 Browning machine guns in the rear cockpit, and two 20 mm (.79 in) AN/M2 cannon in the wings. Two resin 1000lb bombs are fitted in the internal bomb bay. Externally the kit comes with one 500lb resin bomb, two fuel tanks and eight 5 in (12.7 cm) high velocity aircraft rockets.
Parts breakdown for the kit is pretty standard with left and right fuselage halves, and upper and lower wing sections.
The tail and rudder is moulded onto the fuselage halves and the tail planes are separate parts.
All the control surfaces are fixed in the neutral position, so making them off center will require some surgery.
The slats can be modelled in the deployed position, or if you cut off the hinges which are moulded onto the wings, closed.
The internal bomb bay is modelled in the open position and with the inclusion of some resin bombs should look pretty busy.
Instructions and decals The instructions are printed on a folded A4 size glossy booklet, and is in full colour.
The build sequence in 35 steps over 8 pages. Its easy to follow with internal paint colours given along the way for the Gunze range of paints.
Any parts that need resin or P.E parts are clearly marked along with any surgery needed.
Four marking options are supplied with a late war US Navy machine, a Dien Bien Phu machine of the French Aéronavale, a Greek Helldiver and also one Italian machine.
The marking options are -
1- Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver.
BuNo 89357, 3.F-16, Flottille 3.F, Aéronavale, French Indochina, 1954.
2- Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver.
No 215, VB-9, USS Lexington (CV-16), US Navy, Pacific Ocean, August/September 1945.
3- Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver.
86-11, MM80036, Aeronautica Militare, 1950-55.
4- Curtiss SB2C-5 Helldiver.
9, 3329, No.336 squadron, Larissa, Hellenic Air Force, 1949.
All the aircraft are painted in the Dark Blue, with the Italian machine having some very bright yellow stripes on the underside of the wings and fuselage, as it was used as a target tug.
The decals are printed by Aviprint, are in register, and carry a few stencils. I have never had any problems with Aviprint decals, so no troubles should arise using them.
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