SB2C-4 Helldiver

by Eric Larson



This is the 1/48 Pro-Modeler kit I built a couple of years ago. The decals are from Aeromaster’s “The Beast Pt. 1” and their Helldiver stencil set.

I can never seem to build a kit out-of-the-box without adding a few little embellishments and such is the case with this model. Much has been written about this excellent kit so I’ll not go into the mundane construction details except to say that careful dry fitting is necessary when assembling the cockpit pieces, especially the rear. The instruction drawings are somewhat vague as to placement and I did need to do some minor trimming, but others may not run into that.

As for the extra touches, these include drilling out the formation lights under the starboard wing and adding new ones formed with epoxy and painted with Tamiya tinted clear paints, drilling out the wing cannon shell ejector ports, drilling out the holes in the dive flap interiors (tedious!!), and removing the solid sides from the pilot’s set and replacing with copper wire. I also scratch built the Yagi antennas and the bomb racks as I thought the kits looked a little “clunky”. Since the rear machine guns are so prominent, they also received extra detail in the form of some wiring and extra armor plating.



I exercised a little “modeler’s license” as I didn’t want to leave the life raft container empty (the big tube just above the radio equipment in the rear). I had no picture to tell what the actual contents looked like so I cut a 1” or so square of rubber from a yellow party balloon, rolled it up, dipped it in Future, gave it a good dose of brown wash, and shoved it into the container.

Painting, Weathering and Markings

The paints used were Floquil enamels.

After the painting was done, I applied a gloss coat, using Floquil Crystal Coat, applied the decals, and when dry, sealed them with another gloss coat. I prefer to go very easy with the weathering. I followed the gloss coat with a light overall brownish wash using artist paint (I can’t remember if it was oil or water based, I use both). I also used some heavier wash to do a little staining on the underbelly. I then applied a flat clear coat using Testors Dullcoat. Finally, to give a slight faded appearance, I mixed a tiny bit of gray paint in with some more Dullcoat and sprayed it lightly on the upper surfaces of the wings and tail.


This model was also the first time I used EZ Masks for the canopy and I was instantly hooked. I was able to mask all of the canopy parts in about an hour where my usual technique involving strips of masking tape would have taken several evenings of tedious labor. I’ve since purchased EZ Masks for just about every model I have that has a greenhouse type canopy. A word of advice for those who are thinking about giving them a try someday: be sure to follow the instructions regarding dipping the masks in soapy water before applying them. This makes placement and removal much easier. My masks stayed on for many days and came off with no problem.

Oh, for those who are concerned about such things, yes, I did sand off the copyright information under the tail!

More Pictures

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Copyright © 2003 by Eric Larson