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SBD 3/4 Dauntless - A-24 Mexican Banshee1/32 Pro Built

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HISTORY

The A-24 Banshee was a USAAF dive bomber very closely based on the Douglas SBD Dauntless, the main US Navy dive bomber during the crucial years of the Second World War in the Pacific. It was one of a number of aircraft ordered by the USAAF in the aftermath of the success of the Stuka during the German blitzkrieg in Poland and France in 1939-40, but was never intended to be a main frontline aircraft. It was to be used until more powerful aircraft, such as the Curtiss A-25 (also based on a Navy dive bomber, the SB2C Helldiver), arrived in sufficient numbers. It was also intended to use the A-24 as a dive bomber trainer. The A-24 had a short service career. At the outbreak of war the basic A-24 was to equip the 27th Bombardment Group, based in the Philippines. The collapse of the American position on the Philippines saw the aircraft diverted to Australia, where it equipped the 91st and 8th Bombardment Groups. The 91st took its aircraft to the Dutch East Indies, the 8th operated from the north coast of Australia. After suffering heavy losses during the first half of 1942, the A-24 was withdrawn to the training role.

 

A large number of A-24s were produced for the army. The 168 A-24-DEs were followed by 170 A-24As, based on the SBD-4, which arrived in early 1943. The most numerous variant was the A-24B, based on the SBD-5, of which the army received 615 from the middle of 1943. By this time events had revealed that the dedicated dive bomber was dangerously vulnerable to enemy fighters unless given a dedicated fighter escort. While the Navy continued to use its dive bombers in just that manner, the USAAF (like the RAF) switched to the use of the fighter bomber. Aircraft like the Hawker Typhoon or P-47 Thunderbolt could fly the ground attack missions and hold their own against German or Japanese aircraft.

Source: http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_A-24.html

ABOUT THIS MODEL

KIT REVIEW

SBD-3

MANUFACTURER : TRUMPETER

 

Here is the second installment of the Dauntless series from Trumpeter - the SBD-3/4/A-24A. This latest release from Trumpeter is as impressive out of the box as the first release - the SBD-1/2.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on eleven parts trees, plus four trees of clear parts, one fret of photo-etch details, two pair of rubber tires for the main gear, and an acetate instrument panel face. According to the specs, there are 257 parts in here and while I'm not going to count them, you can clearly see that there is detail in this box!

 

As with most aircraft projects, assembly begins in the cockpit. The instrument panel front is molded clear so you can sandwich the acetate instrument faces between clear front and gray rear to get the instruments to show through the bezel glass faces. The rear of the gray instrument panel has the rear of the instruments molded protruding behind the panel so you can see those details when viewing behind the panel.

 

The remainder of the cockpit is equally well-done with photo-etched seat belts and harness for the pilot's seat and seat belts for the gunner. The cockpit appears to be completely equipped with all of the control levers, dual stick, rudder pedals (foot rests for the rear gunner), and even a life raft canister.

The R-1820 engine is a real work of art. The radial engine has separate rocker arm covers for each of the cylinders, a nice collector ring for the exhaust manifold, the accessory pack that mounts to the rear of the engine with the various vacuum pumps, fuel pump, etc., a nicely done engine mount that mounts to the firewall, and even an oil tank mounted on the firewall.

 

The superdetailer may want to wire up the engine, but you're going to have lots to see through the cowling face and through the open cowl flaps. To make things more interesting, the cowling is molded in clear so you can leave part or all of the cowling transparent to show off that R-1820, or paint it with the rest of the aircraft. Even the section behind the cowl flaps is molded clear so you can see the rear of the engine if you wish.

 

After the engine, construction resumes with the rear cockpit and once again, you'll be amazed at the level of detail in here. The 30 caliber gun alone is eight parts, not counting the gun ring it mounts onto.

One of the more important points (at least to me) in this kit is that there are no photo-etched hinges for the flight control surfaces. THANK YOU!! The elevators, rudder, ailerons, and flaps/dive brakes are all separately molded so you can position them as you see fit.

One thing I haven't seen before in styrene is careful engineering of the cockpit transparencies. Of course you can pose the aircraft with the sliding canopies closed (as with most any kit), but what is really impressive is that these clears are thin enough to slide over and under one another so the front and rear canopies can be posed open without lots of fiddling (or resorting to vacuformed parts). Bravo Zulu!

The kit assembly is very straightforward and the details are very nice, right down to the 50 caliber guns that sit on either side of the instrument panel.

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