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SB2C-4 1/72 SB2C-4 Helldiver Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2012 Manufacturer DML/
Subject SB2C-4 Helldiver Scale 1/72
Kit Number 5103 Primary Media Styrene/Photo-Etch
Pros Easy Build Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $42.99

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 earlier versions 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.

DML's '' brand has released the much anticipated SB2C-4 in 1/72nd scale. This release is quite impressive out of the box. Molded in light gray styrene, the kit is presented on five parts trees plus two trees of clear parts and one fret of photo-etched parts. If you look at the details in this box, you'd think you were looking at a modern version of the Pro Modeler 1/48 SB2C-4 kit without the frustrations.

Despite the kit's small scale, it does feature some impressive details. Let's take a look:

  • Detailed front and rear cockpits
  • Positionable canopies
  • Choice of streamlined or flattened turtle deck (rear section that flattens for the rear gunner)
  • Detailed engine
  • Detailed weapons bay with two bombs on trapezes
  • Positionable landing flaps/speed brakes
  • Positionable tail hook
  • Positionable outer wing panels (flight or folded)
  • Positionable rudders
  • Positionable elevator
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Positionable landing gear

The kit provides markings for the following two examples:

  • SB2C-4, VB-87, V/205, USS Ticonderoga, 1945
  • SB2C-4, VB-3, -/114, USS Yorktown, 1945

The only problem in this kit is with the painting instructions. While exterior colors are clearly marked, the instructions don't identify the interior colors used in the aircraft or their hobby equivalents.

DML has done a great job with this kit and it is the best SB2C Helldiver kit in any scale with all of the nice engineering in this kit plus updates to the problems that plague the larger Revell-Monogram kit. Perhaps DML would consider up-scaling this kit into 1/48 scale? Please?

My sincere thanks to DML For this review sample!