Cyber-hobby’s Helldiver features several options for construction and display, including folding wings, posable turtledeck, flight controls, bomb-bay doors, flaps, and dive brakes. Photo-etched-metal dive brakes/flaps and seat belts are included.
The interior is loaded with detail, but the instructions are vague in spots as to how and where everything goes together. Locating aids for parts aren’t the best, so some fitting and fiddling needs to be done. Additionally, the instructions fall short in that there are no color callouts for any interior parts; some extra reference materials are needed. There are incorrect part numbers on the instructions, such as substituting the slats’ numbers for the bomb bay doors, and omissions, such as no wheels in the wells for the in-flight mode. Parts C19 and C35, the interior supports for the gunner’s turtledeck, aren’t shown on the sheet. And the arresting hook is shown installed upside down.
Also not on the sheet are parts D28 and D29: carry-through strengthening inserts to be used if you want to build the model with the wings spread. These are really welcome parts and ensure a strong joint with no outer-wing droop. The inner and outer wings fit together precisely.
What appear to be optional plastic flaps are the interior flap structures to which the photoetched-metal parts attach; they’re detailed but solid, so the delicate see-through effect of the photoetched metal is largely lost. I elected to omit them and just use the metal parts alone.
The bomb bay is beautifully detailed, and its doors may be displayed open or closed. A dual bomb-displacement trapeze is included, with two 500-pound GP bombs to tote.
The landing gear drag braces attach to the main struts with their lower ends representing oleo scissors, but the gear is molded with the oleos compressed. So, they don’t exactly match up with the open scissors links.
Clear parts are nicely done, but have a double mold seam on each — hard to clean up without losing frame detail. The sliding canopies are too thick to pose open without forcing them down over the fuselage contours; I didn’t want to risk stress cracks in them, so I closed up both cockpits. That’s a shame, having put in all that interior detail.
The numeral 4s on the decal sheet were skinnier than all the other numbers, but everything worked beautifully. The white is opaque, the registration’s dead-on, and there’s no excess carrier film. The smallest sets of numbers are applied to the wings’ leading edges, though the instructions omit that. A photo of this aircraft in one of my references clearly shows wing walks, so I used decal film to represent them; they aren’t on the sheet.
I spent 30 hours building my Helldiver, and it’s one great-looking model. But the instructions don’t do the kit justice. With so many small parts and the need for additional references for painting and detailing, I’d recommend this kit to more-experienced builders.
Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2012 FineScale Modeler.