The SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber Aircraft:
The Douglas SBD Dauntless was a World War II American naval dive bomber that was manufactured by Douglas Aircraft from 1940 through 1944. The SBD ("Scout Bomber Douglas") was the United States Navy's main carrier-borne dive bomber from mid-1940 through mid-1944. The SBD was also flown by the United States Marine Corps, both from land air bases and aircraft carriers. The SBD is best remembered as the bomber that delivered the fatal blows to the Japanese carriers at the Battle of Midway in June 1942 when four Japanese caerriers were sunk, which turned the tide of war in favor of the United States

During its combat service, the SBD was an excellent naval scout plane and dive bomber. It possessed long range, good handling characteristics, manuverability, potent bomb load, great diving characteristics, good defensive armament and ruggedness.

The intital design on the Dauntless (initially called BT-1) began in 1935 with Northrop. In 1937, after Douglas bough Northrop, Douglas ordered modifications which provided the final basis of the SBD. By 1939, the SBD entered service. The aircraft was built at Douglass El Segundo, CA, plant and the company's Oklahoma City, OK, plant. Both U.S. Navy and Marine Corps placed orders for the new dive bomber, designated the SBD-1 and SBD-2 (the latter had increased fuel capacity and different armament). SBD-1 was for the Marine Corps, and the SBD-2 was for the Navy.

The next version was the SBD-3, which began manufacture in early 1941, with heavier armor, self-sealing fuel tanks, and a total of four machine guns. The SBD-4 provided a 12-volt (up from 6-volt) electrical system.

Finally, The most produced version, was the SBD-5, which was mainly built in the Douglas plant in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This version was equipped with a 1,200 hp (890 kW) engine and an increased ammunition supply. Over 2,400 of SBD-5s were built. A few of them were shipped to the Royal Navy. In addition to the Royal Navy, the New Zealand Air Force used them during the first few yers of he war, but then replaced them with the larger, faster, heavier and land-based Vought F4U Corsair.

Some SBDs were also flown by the Free French Air Force against the Nazi German Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe.

The final version, the SBD-6, had more improvements, but its production ended during the summer of 1944.

The U.S. Army Air Corp had its own version of the SBD, called the A-24 Banshee. It lacked the tail hook used for carrier landings, and a pneumatic tire replaced the solid tail wheel. The USAAC had 948 of these aircraft built.

Altogether, 5,937 Dauntlesses were built and used in world War II, with production ceaseing in 1944 when the US began producing the newer, larger, faster, and more capable Hell diver.

Despite its improvements, it came at a time in the war when the issue had pretty mnuch been decided, though there was still hard fighting to be accomplished. For the critical years of the war, from December 1941 through 1942 and into later 1943, it was the SBD Dauntless that carried the war load for dive bombing attacks on Japanese shipping and land installations...and its record spoke for itself during the battle of the Coral Sea, the battle of Midway where four Japanese carriers were sunk by Dauntless dive bombers, three of them fatally injured in a space of six minutes during the major attack. The battle of Gauladalaanal and the sea surrounding it, and finally the battle of the Philippine Sea.

Rugged, with heavy armor, well armed for self defense, and capable of carrying anough ordinance to heavily damage or sink Japanese carriers and other major shipping, the SBD Dauntless was one of the major instruments of war used by the United States in its victorious campaigns against the Japanese. It was also used, though less so in Europe, particularly during the campagn to take North Africa from the Nazis.

By 1944, th Dautless squadrons were being replaced bu the new Hell Diver, but they had already made their mark on the war effort.

Crew: 2
Length: 33 ft 1¼ i,
Wingspan: 41 ft 6? in
Height: 13 ft 7 in
Wing area: 325 ft²
Empty weight: 6,404 lb
Loaded weight: 9,359 lb
Max. takeoff weight: 10,700 lb
Powerplant: 1 × Wright R-1820-60 radial engine, 1,200 hp
Maximum speed: 255 mph at 14,000 ft
Cruise speed: 185 mph
Range: 1,115 mi
Service ceiling: 25,530 ft
Rate of climb: 1,700 ft/min
Wing loading: 32.9 lb/ft²
Power/mass: 8.92 lb/hp
2 × 0.50 in (12.7 mm) forward-firing synchronized Browning M2 machine guns in engine cowling
2 × 0.30 in (7.62 mm) flexible-mounted Browning machine gun in rear
Bombs: 2,250 lb of bombs

The Testor SBD Dauntless 1/72 Scale Model Aircraft:
This model is from Testor's and is a fairly straight forward build. It is actually a rebox of an earlier Hawk model. Very little (if any) cockpit detail.

It is molded in grey, and there is little flash left on the sprues.

All in all, there are 25 parts on 2 sprues, and includes a clear plastic canopy. The panel lines are decent. The main wing is a single molded piece and the fuselage is in two pieces including the vertical stabilizor. The two fuselage parts and the wing are loose and not on a sprue.

The instructions are very straight forward and easy to follow.

There are decals for two versions of the aircraft included in the kit. One is an SBD-5 of VS-37 used in Anti-Submarine Warfare with the Atlantic Fleet in Feb. of 1944. The other is for the SBD-3 flown by Ensign Leppla during the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942

Landing gear can be shown in the up or down position. There are no wells shown so if you show the gear down, the door is on each wheel but there is no inset in the wings. If you show the gear up, there is literlly nothing for you to do. I dediced to show the gear down. The prop can be built to spin. There are pilot and gunner figures but I chose to leave them off.

Here are some pictures of the box, the parts, the decals, and the instructions:

THE BUILD - Painting and building September 30, 2016

This build was very straight forward. Good fit on the parts, though I did use my exacto knife and fingernails to scrape away some of the flash on a few of the parts.

Also, the painting is distincitve depending on which aircraft you build.

Here are some pics starting with fuselage, some of the parts painted on the spru, and then the fuselage together with the bombs and canopy attached. And finally the model together without decals::.

THE BUILD - Adding the decals and completion September 30, 2016

I then added the decals set for the Battle of the Coral Sea. She turned out pretty nicely for such a straight forward model:

She looks ppretty good for a really simple kit. You can get this kit on ebay for about $4-5 and a total of maybe $10 when you include shipping.

SCHEDULE for Future Activities - Oct 3, 2016

  1. I intend to build a number of WW II aircraft now from the US, Japan, England and the Nazis. (I will do this around my next major porject, the 1/350 Scale USS Nimitz by Trumpeter whihc I will convert into the USS Roland Reagan.)

The completion of the PLAN Carrier group was centered on the already completed Trumpeter's 1/350 scale PLA Navy's Aircraft Carrier CV-16, Liaoning, (in addition to the other escorts already completed) included Mini Hobby's's PLAN Guangzhou, DDG-168. I recently pre-ordered a 1/350 scale model of the PLAN Type 071 LPD, Yuzhao Class, announced by Trumpeter and due out in October, 2013. I will end up adding two of those, propbably LPD-998 Yuzhao and LPD-999, Jinggangshan, add the PLAN- DDG-139, Ningbo, and the PLAN DDG-115, Shenyang, along with the PLAN Weifang, FFG-550 and thus build a PLAN ARG.

The completion of the US Carrier Strike group was centered on the completed Tamyia's 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-65, (in addition ot the other escorts already completed) included Trumpeter's, USS Freedom, LCS-1, Dragon's USS Preble, DDG-88 and Hobby Boss's USS Texas, SSN-775. When a 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-80 (or any Gerald R. Ford Class) is released from Trumpeter, Tamiya, Dragon, or whomever else, I will add it to this group along with another AEGIS Cruiser. Whichever Ford Class coms out in 1/350 scale, I will build it as the USS Enterprise, CVN-80.

The US ARG will include Tamiya's 1/350 scale, USS Iowa, BB-62 (which I have already completed), Trumpeter's 1/350 scale USS Iwo Jima LHD-7, Gallery's 1/350 scale USS Sommerset, LPD-25, Bronco Models 1/350 Scale USS New York, LPD-21, Cyber Hobby's USS Independence, LCS-2, Acadamy's 1/350 scale USS Rueben James, FFG-57, and another Flight IIA US AEGIS class detroyer based on Trumpeter's 1/350 scale USS Lassen, DDG-82...all of these models which I already own.

The completion of the UK Group featured the Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Illustrious, R06 as its centerp[iece until a 1/350 scale Queen Elizabeth carrier is released. When that happens, I will add that carrier to the group as its centerpiece. The Royal Navy CSG will also include two Airfix 1/350 scale Daring Class DDGs (one of which is already completed), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Type 23 HMS Duke class Frigates (one of which is already completed), and the Hobby Boss 1/350 scale HMS Astute SSN (which is also already completed) and Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Tragalgar SSN. One day, when a 1/350 scale HMS Ocean LPD come out, I will use tt to start building a Royal Navy ARG.

The French CSG is centered on Heller's 1/400 scale Charles De Gualle, R91. I have purchased the 1/400 scale Heller French De Grasse, D612 DDG, which is an ASW DDG, the French Duquesne, D603 DDG which is an anti-air multi-purpose DDG, and the French Aconit D612 FFG and Gueprattet F714 FFGs, both of which are Lafayette class frigates. These five vessels will round out my French CSG. As soon as a French Robin class nuclear sub, like the French Perale S606 SSN is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will add that to the group. Also as soon as the Forbin D620, Horizon class anti-air DDG is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will purchase two of them and replace the De Grrasse and Duquesne with them, and then save those two for when a Mistral Class LPD is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale so I can create a French ARG with those vessels.

The completion of the Japanese JMSDF group was centered on Fujimi's very finely detailed, 1/350 scale Hyuga, DDH-181. It will be escorted by Trumpeter's 1/350 scale DDG-177, Atago, an AEGIS class DDG and the JMSDF, DDG-174, Kongo class (which I own), Trumpeters's 1/350 scale DDG-114 Susunami and DDG-111 (both of which are Takinami Class DDGs which I own), and by the 1/350 scale SS-503 Hakuryu (which I own), one of Japans new, very modern and capable AIP Diesel Electric submarines. As soon as a DDG-115 Akizuki in 1/350 scale is released, I will add it to this group. Should a 1/350 scale Osumi Class LPD be relased, I will buy two of those vessels and create a JMSDF ARG.

Then, finally it will be a complete Russian CSG (centered on Trumpeter's Kuznetsov which I own) the Russian Kirov Class nuclear battle cruiser (CGN), the Peter the Great, by Trumpeter (which I own), the Russian Slava Class cruiser, Varyag by Trumperter (which I own), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Udaloy DDGs (which I own), Hobby Boss's Akula II class SSN (which I own), and the new Yasen class Russian SSN (which I own), all in 1/350 scale. Some time in the more distant future when a 1/350 scale Russian version of the French Mistral class comes out (which is building in real life right now), I will add two of those and build a Russian ARG.

Recently I purchased Heller's 1/400 scale Foch, the Clemceau Class carrier that was sold to the Brazilians in 2000 and in 2002 was refitted and became the Brazilian CV, Sao Paulo, using steam catapaults. I will build the model as the Sao Paulo and thus start a Brazilian group, though the Type 22 DDGs and the FFGs the Brazilians use are not available at present. I have however purchased a set of 1/400 scale A-4 Skyhawks and S-3 Trackers to build a suitable airwing for the Sao Paulo.

Then, again, once the models are available, I'd like to build an Italian Carrier Strike Group centered on the Cavour and their Horizon DDGs, a Spanish Carrier Strike Group centered on the Juan Carlos and their F-100 AEGIS FFGs, and ultimatly an Australian Strike Group centered on the new Canberra Class LPD and the Hobart class AEGIS DDGs. If they ever build the models, an Indian Carrier Strike Group centered on either the Vikramaditya or their new ADS Carrier, the Vikrant, and their Kolkata class DDGs and Shivlak class FFGs would also be nice.

You can see all of these actual carriers, read their histories and specifictions at my site:


...and most of their surface escorts at:


Dragon's Fury

Dragon's Fury - World War Against America and the West
: Following great success in the War on Terror, politicians and analysts alike thought that future global conflict was impossible...but they were wrong. Journey into a possible future where Islamic terrorists sharpen their horrific skills & ally with Red China. In such a future, can the U.S. & western civilization survive?
Stand at Klamath Falls

The Stand at Klamatjh Falls
: How rural western farmers and their supporters stood up to entrenched environmentalism, activist judges, and agencies of the Federal gGovernment in southwestern Oregon...and prevailed.


Copyright © 2012 by Jeff Head, All Rights Reserved