There is something about the Curtiss SB2C
Helldiver that I have always found attractive as a modeling subject. I am not
sure what it is, because normally I wouldn't give an aircraft like this a second
thought. The moments of aircraft seem almost comical with it is incredibly
short tail and awkwardly large horizontal stabilizer.
I built two Monogram Helldivers when I was growing up. That particular model had
a couple of working features
that made it fun to play with. The bomb would
swing from the bomb bay and the landing gear would retract. It wasn't very
close to scale, but it did look like a Helldiver. I was very pleased with the outcome of both kits, especially
my rendering of the 3-tone pacific
paint scheme. These were my first Pacific theater models and I have been a
fan of WW II American carrier aircraft ever since.
This model shown here was a really enjoyable project. Although it is
made by the same company, it is not the same model. It is much closer
to scale and more detailed. Depending on where you purchase it, it may be
the Revell-Monogram kit or Monogram Pro-Modeler. As far as I know they are
the exact same kit.
The Helldiver was the second kit I built after
an eight year hiatus. This was my first attempt at weathering. All
the kits I built in the past were given a "factory fresh" finish. I was
experimenting all the way. To avoid the risk of ruining the finish, the
weathering was kept to a minimum. I added a bit more after I had built a
few other kits, but it still is a fairly clean airplane. In fact, there is
no weathering at all on the underside.
The kit comes with a fret of photo-etched brass parts which was also a first
for me. I had no difficulty working with these parts other than dropping the seat
belt buckles on the floor repeatedly.
It did not take me long to learn
that the best way to retrieve these was by scooping them up with a razor blade
or wetting a finger. The razor blade method is more reliable and I do not
have to lick glue and paint covered fingers.
I built my kit straight from the box with no modifications. The
instructions were very clear making assembly more enjoyable.
The most difficult part of the kit was masking all the panels of the canopy.
I polished all the clear plastic parts and then dipped them in Future floor
polish. I let them dry until I had finished all the other assemblies
(approximately a month).
I then masked the canopy pieces with a thin
self-adhesive foil and painted them. The foil wasn't too difficult to
remove. I sliced the end of a toothpick to a pointed edge and used it to lift the
film around the edges and then peeled it off with a tweezer.
At some point I broke the antenna off. I couldn't replace it because it
was too badly damaged. If the model arrives in good shape from the movers,
I will make a replacement from scratch so my Helldiver will be "finished" again.