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A-25 Shrike

DML 1/72 A-25 Shrike Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2013 Manufacturer DML
Subject A-25 Shrike Scale 1/72
Kit Number 5115 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Great detail, positional control surfaces Cons None
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $43.95

First Look

Sea King
Sea King

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. The Army Air Corps had shown interest in the dive-bombing capabilities of the aircraft, ordering 900 as the A-25A Shrike. By the time the A-25 started deliveries in 1943, the USAAF was no longer interested in dive-bombing and few made it into operational service.

This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on five parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and one fret of photo-etched parts. Some key features of the kit:

  • Nicely detailed front cockpit
  • Very detailed rear gunner/radio operator's station
  • Positionable canopies
  • Positionable rear turtle deck for normal flight or gunnery
  • Detailed weapons bay with two bombs on trapezes
  • Positionable weapons bay doors
  • Detailed engine
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Positionable elevators
  • Positionable rudder
  • Positionable flaps/dive brakes
  • Positionable landing gear
  • Positionable wings (only the first 10 of 900 had foldable wings)
  • Separately moled outboard slats

The kit provides decals for a single simple example:

  • A-25A-5-CS, 41-18787, unidentified unit, 1944

This aircraft would have been a game-changer had it been available earlier in the war with far fewer handling problems, but only the US Navy, Greece, and the French were to ever master the 'Beast', all others simply passed them along to someone else. This will make an interesting conversation piece on your scale flightline.

My sincere thanks to DML for this review sample!