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1/18 SBD-5 Dauntless - update 18/11/16 - FINISHED!!


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  • 4 weeks later...

*update 05/04/15*

Hi guys!  Time for an update on the big Dauntless build.


First and foremost, I have more or less abandoned the idea of showing the aircraft as crashed / abandoned, for several reasons. The most obvious is that 90mm (or 1/18) Vietnam era figures are very hard to come by. I have no problem scratch building the figures required, but getting the weapons / equipment in this scale is problematic.  Secondly, there's the sheer size - I'd be looking at another 3 foot square base, and it's not do-able at the moment.  Finally, I think I've already got the crashed aircraft idea covered with the Fortress.  Therefore I will simply super detail a stand-alone model of the Dauntless.  This means I must discount some detailing options.  But it opens up other possibilities, so I'm happy with the idea.


OK down to business..


My work in the last few weeks has focussed on the avionics equipment.  I'm having problems deciphering exactly what equipment might have been used on a French Dauntless circa 1947. I found this excerpt from the pilot's manual on the net.  As RADAR was introduced on later models only (dash 4, dash 5, dash 6 models) I think this description is applicable to my model:


‘The radio equipment consists of an AN/ARC-5 multiple-channel communication radio, a navigation receiver, an ARB receiver, a tactical radio (RADAR),  an identification radio and an inter phone system'


I also managed to find the official US Navy Radio Characteristics chart for VSB class aircraft (ie Scout Bombers) like the Dauntless, and it states that the equipment was as follows (presumably for earlier Dauntless models as it references the DU-1 Direction Finder)


GP-7 Transmitter
RU-19 Receiver
LM-7 Frequency Meter
DU-1 Direction Finder (ie the loop antenna and associated equipment found forward of the gunner's position on the Dauntless)


I also needed to depict a beacon homing receiver, such as the ZB-3 Homing device.


To cut a long story short, here's what I decided to show in my aircraft:


GP-7 Transmitter
RU-19 Receiver
LM-7 Frequency Meter
**ASB Radar of some kind**
**Homing Device of some kind**


I contacted a couple of radio enthusiasts at Duxford, and they generously gave me their advice as well.  I'm not saying that the final result is 100% accurate, but I'm happy with it. 


Here are some images to illustrate:


This is the avionics shelf out of the box - from top left to bottom right:


RADAR display
RU-19 Receiver
GP-7 Transmitter





And here's the avionics shelf after my modifications  - from top left to bottom right:


LM-7 Frequency Meter
RU-19 Receiver with Dual-band tuning unit
RADAR Display
GP-7 Transmitter








Here are some photos of the real instruments:


RU-19 Receiver with tuning units




A GP-7 Transmitter:




an LM-7 Frequency Meter:




I don't have any photos of the RADAR display (I actually went with a photo in the ‘Walk Around' book) but it looks just like my effort and vice versa (I hope).  There are also a couple of items like the modulator and the dynamotor that I didn't add - not enough room on the avionics shelf, and besides I can just pretend they are hidden behind all the radios etc.


That just leaves the homing device.  My reference pics show it on the ‘parcel shelf' just behind the rollover post behind the pilot. 

Here's the DU-1 direction finder which was installed in earlier Dauntless models up to the dash-three:




This would have been removed on the later models and replaced with a homing device, like this ZB model:




Here it is installed on the ‘parcel shelf', and on the left a spare dual-band tuning unit:




Once the fuselage halves are buttoned up, unfortunately a lot of this detail kind of disappears!  But the point is, it's there:




Meanwhile, I have also been slowly but surely adding details to the cockpit sides, both front and rear.  Photos of many different Dauntlesses were studied, so the model is a kind of composite. Again, unless you are a real expert, the odd minor error will go un-noticed, plus I am happy with it.

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Right side front cockpit wall:




Right side rear cockpit wall:




Overview of cockpit so far:






There's plenty more to do, even more so now I have decided to build a complete airplane!  But that's half the fun isn't it?
Ciao for now

Edited by richdlc
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