Kit: No. AP29
Manufacturer: Hasegawa, distributed by Marco Polo Import Inc., 532 S. Coralridge Place, City of Industry, CA 91746
Comments: Injection molded, 53 parts, decals.
THE FIRST NEW 1/72 scale Dauntless in 30 years comes from Hasegawa.
Molded with fine recessed panel lines, the new SBD features basic interior details, a 1,000-pound bomb and a pair of 250-pounders, clear three-piece canopy, and markings for two dive bombers.
The parts breakdown allows for later variants to come. The three-piece cowling seems awkward at first, but it fits perfectly around the engine and against the fuselage and forward-firing machine-gun palette.
Inside, the pilot's instruments are decals that fit onto flat panels, adequate for the scale. The pilot's seat is narrow, measuring only 14" wide, and the gunner's seat is even narrower at 12". There are several ejector-pin marks on the interior walls of the fuselage halves, but no rib/frame structure is present. The pair of .30-caliber machine guns in the rear lack detail, and no single-gun option is provided.
The parts fit is excellent throughout. I had trouble, though, fitting the windscreen over the pilot's tubular bombsight and had to lengthen the notch in the windscreen. The canopies are well molded, but too thick to pose properly in the open position. On the real aircraft the canopy sections slide over one another. I simply installed the windshield and the pilot's sliding section slid back. It appears fine unless you look closely.
I painted the model with Polly Scale light gray and blue gray. The decals are beautiful, but the white is translucent and muted over the gray paints. A nice touch is the red/yellow/blue prop-tip decals.
Since the diving flaps are not drilled through, I applied a wash of Polly S insignia red, then used a pencil eraser to wear away the excess red around each recess. Not bad, but next time I'll try an aftermarket photoetched set.
Experienced modelers will want to revamp the cockpit and dive flaps, but entry-level modelers will love this kit's fine fit and surface detail. I spent 22 hours on this little dive bomber. It scales perfectly in length and a few scale inches short in span compared with the dimensions in the out-of-print SBD Dauntless in Detail and Scale by Bert Kinzey.
Hasegawa promises more SBDs and TBFs as it continues the line of World War II U.S. Navy warbirds.