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Hasegawa's 1/48 scale
SBD-3 Dauntless

by Bob Carr


Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless


Accurate Miniature's 1/48 scale SBD-3 Dauntless is available online from Squadron




This model is the 1/48 Hasegawa (JT-109) SBD-3 Dauntless. I obtained this kit and began work on it before becoming aware of the Accurate Miniatures offering in much the same way as I had kids before becoming aware of the associated sleep deprivation.

Determined to finish, I obtained the Verlinden update set for the Accurate Miniatures SBD and steeled myself for some serious scratchbuilding. I wanted to display the engine with panels removed, a detailed cockpit, and a few interesting opened access panels.



Armed with the Detail and Scale (SBD Dauntless, Vol. 48, Bert Kinzey) publication and as many Internet photos as I could find, I plunged in.





The Hasegawa kit is a bit of a disappointment compared to most of their other kits that Iíve worked on. In particular, the cockpit details are minimal, incorrect, and extremely simplified. I worked with what was present as well as adding a great deal of scratch built items. For example, the flare cartridge holders were carved/modified to better show the individual pockets and cover flaps were added from putty. Additional cockpit details included knobs, switches, air vent, antenna reel, fire extinguisher, cabling, seat adjustment lever, emergency hydraulics pump, radio gear, oxygen bottle, and Ö wellÖ just about everything. The rear compartment required modification of the sides of the floor to add what appeared in photos to be canvas covers (?). Unfortunately, once the cockpit is enclosed in the fuselage, little of the detail can be seen.

Thatís okay, I know itís there and the enjoyment and satisfaction that went into it is its own reward.


In hindsight, I should have removed all the molded on detail from the kit cockpit and scratchbuilt the entire area. Trying to modify and adapt vague representations was probably more work than scratchbuilding would have been.

This particular issue of the Hasegawa kit provides photoetch dive flaps which I chose to model in the open position. The activating rods and linkages just didnít look convincing in flat photoetch so I scratchbuilt those as best I could.


The kit canopies are clear but too thick to stack in the open positions. I managed to thin the pilot, main, and gunnerís canopies enough to stack, but was unable to make the rearmost small gun canopy fit and had to leave it off.

The Verlinden update set was a mix of resin and photoetch with what Iíve found to be their usual mix of quality. The majority of the resin parts were outstanding with a few being so-so. The photoetch is generally very good as far as detail and somewhat hit and miss regarding fit. The metal fret was corroded or stained on one side and almost all the parts required cleanup. To be fair, a light sanding with very fine sandpaper was sufficient to restore the parts to original condition.


A notable problem area was the engine. Some of the metal engine parts did not fit the resin very well and had to be omitted. An example was the cowl flap support ring. I wanted to leave the cowl flaps attached but just couldnít get various parts to fit. Perhaps it was just a lack of skill on my part. Regardless, when completed, the engine is a very nice representation.

Though it doesnít show well in the photos, the multi-part photoetch bomb racks are outstanding.

The Verlinden gunnerís seat, gun, and related items provide a big boost in appearance. There is even a photoetch laced support harness which, though tricky to assemble, is stunning when complete. Again, too bad itís almost invisible in the completed model.

Overall, the update set is a huge improvement over the kit and well worth the cost. It would be interesting to compare it to the Accurate Miniatures kit that itís intended for and see how well it stands up. Thatís on my modeling to-do list which, given the size of the list, should be completed several years after I die.

The open circular panel behind the wing on the port side is the stowage compartment for a life raft. The open panel is scratchbuilt from sheet brass and the raft was molded from putty and sits inside an aluminum tube.

The box sticking out of the starboard side above the wing and to the front is an ammunition container for the cowl guns and was fashioned from styrene. Thereís an excellent picture of some sailors servicing this in the Detail and Scale publication.

The main wheel mounts were scratch built from brass tubing and styrene and are a huge improvement over the kit items.


I wanted to add 1/48 figures servicing the aircraft but Iíve been unable to find any WWII ground crew or, for that matter, any scale figures that could be successfully modified. Why isnít 1/48 better represented? My local hobby store operator says companies have tried to provide figures in the past but they havenít sold well enough to continue manufacturing them. Iíll keep looking.


In summary, the project was thoroughly enjoyable and the Hasegawa kit eventually yielded a reasonable representation of an SBD-3. Next time, though, itís Accurate Miniatures!

Bob Carr
Canton, Michigan USA


Additional Images


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Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2006 by Bob Carr
Page Created 05 January, 2006
Last Updated 04 February, 2006

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