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Academy 1/48 SBD-2 Dauntless Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2014 Manufacturer Academy
Subject SBD-2 Dauntless Scale 1/48
Kit Number 12296 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice detailing inside and out Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $55.00

First Look


For background on this subject, look here.

When Accurate Miniatures ceased to exist as a company a few years ago, we had seen their kits appear under several different brands before Model Rectifier started to reissue the line last year using the same packaging from Accurate Miniatures. Here we see something different, the same kit now in Academy packaging but retaining the Accurate Miniatures logo on the packaging. It has been a while since we looked at this kit, so here we go:

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Beautifully detailed front and rear cockpits
  • Nicely detailed R-1820 engine
  • Positionable landing/dive flaps
  • Choice of one-piece or segmented canopy
  • Both cockpit canopies can be posed open or closed

Armament options include:

  • .30 caliber machine gun for rear cockpit
  • 2 x 100lb bombs on underwing bomb racks
  • 1 x 1000lb bomb on centerline trapeze

Markings are provided for three examples:

  • SBD-2, VMSB-241, 6, Midway Island, Jun 1942
  • SBD-2, VB-2, 2-B-2, USS Lexington, Mar 1942
  • SBD-2, VB-2, 2-B-2, USS Lexington, Jan 1941

Comparing this kit to the SBDs of other manufacturers, the first place you'll look is at the dive brakes. With the others, these flaps are usually solid, or in one case, represented with photoetch. While photoetch is usually a good thing, especially for the perforated details, it lacks the ability to replicate the internal structure of the flaps. This kit's dive flaps/brakes are styrene, nicely perforated, and complete with all of the internal details. These internal details are especially visible after you paint the internal surfaces red.

One of the most visible and important areas of any aircraft kit is the cockpit, and this kit doesn't fail here. Where the other kits benefit from an aftermarket cockpit detail set, the Academy/Accurate Miniatures kit is far more detailed than most of the aftermarket sets I've seen for the SBD.

Another nice touch with this kit is your choice of two canopies - one closed up, and one forward canopy, center canopy, gunner's canopy and rear canopy all as separate parts. With either choice, the windscreen is a separate part.

In the original releases of the SBD, the kit had vinyl window masks which modelers experienced mixed results. This release doesn't have those masks but Eduard has produced canopy masks for the Accurate Miniatures family of SBD Dauntlesses using the very easy yellow tape masks.

While there are a number of SBD kits in 1/48, the two major contenders are the Accurate Miniatures tooling (this kit) and Hasegawa. I've seen discussions in favor of both kits and having built both, my choice is still this tooling. Straight out of the box, it builds into a great model and for AMS modelers, there are a number of aftermarket detail sets available. Whatever your choice, this is my choice for best 'Slow-But-Deadly' Dauntless in this scale!

Thanks to MRC for this review sample!