Sunday, July 3, 2016

Accurate Miniatures SBD-3 Douglas Dauntless Pt 1

My stash includes a number of Accurate Miniature kits, but I have only built one - their P-51 Allison engine Mustang armed with four 20mm cannons, which I built circa 1999 and is still in my built models collection.  It was a pleasure to build and produced a very nice model.

According to an entry on Wikipedia, the AM company filed for bankruptcy in 2003.  I know the molds are still around and still being used, at least some of them.

Whatever happened to the company, it is very sad that they did not continue in business.  Their kits are excellent, and in time the company could have become a real power house in the model world.  The kits live on for sale on eBay, and Italieri produces some of them.

This particular kit came into my possession in early 2000, when I bought it in a large, somewhat plain box mailed directly to me from AM, $36.00 post paid.  The box contained two complete SBD kits - one SBD-3 and one SBD-4.  The 3 has markings for a Dauntless that fought at Midway and the 4 for an Operation Torch Dauntless.  The box is rather large and contains a bunch of bagged sprues.  I sorted them all out, and I wonder if maybe you can make most of a third SBD from them.

The label says “Pre-Release Kit”, and maybe they intended that at the time.  I wonder if it was more that the company was awash with debt and was trying to raise some cash selling these models?  Who knows?  I know they were not around that long after I made this purchase.

As I said, there are a bunch of sprues to contend with.  I keep a cardboard box top/tray under my work table, and I use it to hold kit parts during construction.  I label the sprues in masking tape with their letter designation.  This keeps all the parts in one place if they fall off the sprues, and the labels make it really easy to find the part you are looking for during construction.

Not surprisingly, the construction starts with the cockpit.  No need for after market parts here.  The cockpit is very complete.  As usual, I primed with Vallejo Gray Surface Primer and then Vallejo Interior Green.  

Notice the little bottle on the upper right. The label says “MEK”, meaning Methyl Ethyl Ketone, a powerful paint remover and thinner for synthetic resins and coatings.  It is very volatile and should not be ingested.  However, it is very inexpensive (about $7/pint at Lowes or Home Depot) and will outlast 16 jars of Tenex 7R which costs about $7 per ounce.  I find that MEK flows better into joints and may flow further than an equivalent amount of Tenex 7R.  So, some care is needed.  In my opinion, MEK melts plastic more quickly and completely, especially when it has already been painted.

The cockpit floor includes lots of levers and detail.  Here it is partially primed.

The left and right side of the cockpit walls  appear below.  Rather than dry brush this area, I have used some Tamiya Weathering Master Dry Brush Effect material.  I am not quite done with the application yet.  I find this product easier to use than actual dry brushing and mistakes can be removed easily.

That is all the progress for now.  It looks like our hot Arizona summer is really getting under way (July is the hottest month here in Arizona).  So, I can see some more building time coming up.

(NB - If there are some spacing issues with this post, I am sorry.  I tries to get rid of the extra space between photos and text, but could not get it done.  Whether it was Google or my Mac, I do not know.)