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Curtiss SB2C-4





S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: SW 72008
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media: 38 "limited run" injection molded parts in grey plastic; 14 resin parts; 2 vacform canopies; 2 small sheets of decal markings; 1 sheet of photoetch parts, 6 pages of construction and painting instructions.
Price: USD ? from www.squadron.com
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Popular US WWII subject; Nicely engraved panel detail; etched parts and resin pieces; spare canopy supplied
Disadvantages: Large injection molding gates on parts
Recommendation: Recommended for intermediate and experienced modellers.


Reviewed by Dale Smith

Sword's 1/72 scale SB2D-4 Helldiver is available online from Squadron.com




Affectionately, or sometimes not so affectionately known in the early days as the 'Beast', the Curtiss SB2C was developed in 1938 to meet a US Navy dive bomber specification. The US Navy subsequently ordered 370 airframes powered by the proven R-2800 Pratt & Whitney engine.

Many difficulties were encountered in development and production and as a result of these problems, and the time required to correct them, the first SB2C-1 aircraft were not delivered to the US Navy squadrons until December 1942. The type saw combat for the first time almost a year later in November 1943 over Rabaul, New Guinea.

As the earlier problems were overcome, a newer version specified as the SB2C-3 was brought online in 1944 with improvements that included a more powerful engine, a four bladed propellor and a larger payload. Further improvements resulted in the SB2C-4 that included racks for rockets or larger bombs and better handling characteristics. 5516 airframes were eventually delivered to the US Navy, with the type also serving with the French, Italian and Portugese navies. The Greek and Thai airforces also used the aircraft after WWII.




The kit is supplied in a light grey ' limited production' style of plastic typical of manufacturers in the Czech Republic such as Sword and MPM. The injection gates on the parts from the molding process are quite thick, so careful separation and cleaning up of all the parts will be required. 2 vacformed canopies are supplied, so all you modellers out there that cringe at the thought of vac canopies, can rest easy in the knowledge that if you do muck one up, you have one more chance! Both of my canopies were nicely formed with no deformities or blemishes.

Details on the main kit parts such as the wings and fuselage is nicely engraved with locating lugs and holes supplied to locate the horizontal tailplanes and the wingtip pieces. No location positions are supplied for the mainplane to fuselage join, so care and judicious use of glue and alignment will be needed here. One or two of the parts had small molding imperfections on their surfaces, but nothing a swipe with the sanding stick will not fix. Flash on the parts is also minimal considering the manufacturing process.

Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

14 resin pieces are supplied that cover the wheelwells, cockpit sidewalls, exhaust manifolds, crew seats, gunsight, rudder pedals, radio operator/rear gunners position instrument panel and wing gun barrels. All of the resin parts are nicely formed with no air bubbles or deformities.

A small stainless fret is supplied that contains the dive brakes and some small aerials. The details on these small parts is excellent and has to be seen to be appreciated. The etched details are done by Eduard so the quality of these items is assured.



I was unable to locate any line drawings in my reference library, but stated measurements in a number of publications seem to tie up well with what measurements I took freehand then converted to 1/72 scale. The kit may be about a millimeter short in length, but most of us apart from the purists can live with that. It may have been my freehand measuring that let me down here as well. The molding also captures the bulky fuselage cross section.

2 marking options are supplied. The first is for an aircraft 'White 114' of VB-3, USS Yorktown in late 1944 in a Sea Blue, Intermediate Blue and White scheme. The second is for an aircraft of VB-85 'White 80' on the USS Shangri-La in June, 1945 in an overall Glossy Sea Blue scheme.



The decals are printed by 'Techmod' and have good colour density and register. Colour painting instructions are called out during construction with references given to ANA and FS numbers.




This model looks like it will build into a nice replica of the 'Helldiver'. Some patience when cleaning up the parts and test fitting before application of glue will work in the builders favour and a nice model should result.

Recommended to more experienced modellers that are used to building multi media kits.

Many thanks to Squadron Mail Order for supplying the review sample

Review Copyright 2002 by Dale Smith
This Page Created on 03 April, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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