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Accurate Miniatures 1/48 SB2C-4 Helldiver Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2005 (Updated July 2011) Manufacturer Accurate Miniatures
Subject SB2C-4 Helldiver Scale 1/48
Kit Number 480406 Primary Media Styrene/Photo-Etch
Pros Excellent exterior and interior detailing, photo-etched details Cons Missing the AN/APS-4 radar pod, difficult build, soft molded details on canopy
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look


The SB2C Helldiver was one of the most effective dive bombers developed in World War 2 and served well into the 1950s. Ironically, the Helldiver spent more time as a prototype than a combat aircraft during WW2. For those who remember the movie 'Dive Bomber' that was released before WW2, there was a silhouette of an aircraft at the end of the movie - the XSB2C-1. The Helldiver was entering flight test before the war and might have retired the Douglas SBD early if all had gone well.

By the middle of 1944, most of the bugs had been ironed out of the beast and the SB2C-4 became the standard issue of bombing and scouting squadrons. These were supplemented and were eventually replaced by the ultimate Helldiver, the SB2C-5. This version remained in active Navy service until replaced by the Douglas AD Skyraider.

The SB2C-4 picked up the fight as it phased out the SB2C-1Cs and carried the war all the way to Tokyo. Some were equipped with underwing yagi antennas (ASB radar) while others were fitted with the AN/APS-4 radar pods under the starboard wing. Many SB2C-4s flew without either.

All of the speculation is over. Accurate Miniatures has released their duo of Helldiver kits based upon the Pro-Modeler molds (Revell-Monogram). This release is the SB2C-4, the same kit released previously by Pro-Modeler.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and features some beautifully scribed detailing on the exterior surfaces and nice interior detailing as well. The kit is presented on three parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts and a single fret of photo-etch. These four styrene trees are common to both kits.

The photo-etch parts are identical to the fret from the Pro-Modeler release except that this set was made by Eduard. The photo-etch provides seatbelt buckles and gun sight details as well as an ignition harness in addition to the dive brakes.

Those of you who've built the Pro-Modeler SB2C-4 kit already know how well this kit goes together. Those who haven't are in for a treat. The kit features beautifully detailed front and rear cockpits as well as a nice weapons bay on the flipside of the floor. A pilot's figure is also included.

The engine looks a little low-tech on the parts tree, but when treated to a good paint job, the photo-etched ignition harness and installed inside that tight cowling, you would be hard-pressed to tell it wasn't an aftermarket resin engine.

The wings are unfortunately not set up for an optional fold, but they are nicely detailed down to the stub rocket launchers, wheel wells, dive brakes and outboard slats.

One nit to pick with the kit is that there are markings for an SB2C-4E ASW aircraft, but the kit doesn't include the AN/APS-4 radar pod.

The other minor nit of the kit, not of Accurate Miniatures' doing, is the retractable rear fairing. The Beast would lower the rear deck aft of the rear cockpit to allow better clearance for the rear guns' barrels. This retractable deck includes the leading edge base of the vertical stabilizer. A little surgery with an X-Acto knife will fix this. Check your references.

Profiles and markings are included for two examples:

  • SB2C-4E, Black 47, ASW aircraft
  • SB2C-4, White 702, VMSB-244

The decal sheet provides additional aircraft numbers, so once again check your references as this provides you with some additional options. If you want maintenance stencils, you'll need to find Aeromaster sheet 148-120.

This kit is a detailed straight out of the box but it is a challenging build. Nevertheless, with all of the detail in this kit, even the AMS modeler should be satisfied without additional aftermarket details.

For a look at the build review of this kit, look here. If you can't find this kit in the Accurate Miniatures box, Revell reissues this same kit periodically so you can get one then.

Thanks to Accurate Miniatures for this review sample!