The following introduction is as provided by Kagero:
Douglas SBD Dauntless is one of the most popular American naval bomber of World War II era. The name Dauntless fits well to the aircraft's "personality”. SBD was build with the aim of dive bombing which quickly were nicknamed as "helldiving”. Interestingly one of the successors of Dauntless - Curtiss SB2C - was officially named "Helldiver”. SBD was a two-seated light bomber and scout aircraft developed in year 1940 and based on Northrop BT-1 airframe. During the next year many improvements were added, such as: self-sealing fuel tanks, stronger armament and better electric installation. The most characteristic element were the airbrakes. They were mounted through almost full length of the bottom wing and halves of upper part of wings. Therefore the braking system was very effective stabilizing the dive, easing the aiming and getting plane from the steep dive. The plane became fully capable war machine. The most popular version was SBD-5 with 1200 HP Wright R-1820-60 radial engine. Almost 3000 SBD-5 were produced. The plane took part in many important battles over the Pacific but definitely the most significant were Battle for Midway and over the Guadalcanal. Dauntless' were solid and reliable planes and crews really liked them. They quickly gave it a special nickname made from letters SBD - "Slow but Deadly”. Today there are four airworthy SBD's (all in the USA). 11 more are museum exhibits or undergoing restoration.
This offering from Kagero in their ‘Top Drawings’ series is authored by Mariusz Łukasik. The book is printed in a portrait style and consists of 16 pages of a good quality matt paper. This is a soft backed book which has a glossy card cover to protect the pages. The text is only on the first page that is supplied in Polish and English, Polish on the left and English on the right. While not overly important to me I know that some people are concerned about grammar, well in this title the very short introduction uses very poor English; as I said it is not of major concern in this title.
The rest of the book is turned over to scale drawings of a very high standard and some colour profiles. I found myself disappointed in the contents of this title due to an unexpected issue. All of the scale drawings are in 1/48th scale except for the last page that takes you through the various changes the SBD went through over it career, and these 1/72nd scale drawings only cover a view of the left side. I did some checking on Scalemates and found that 1/48th scale is well represented in the SBD family with 30 offerings having been released; however 1/72nd has 34 kits and even 1/32nd has 7 kit offerings.
The scale drawings in the title are exceptionally well done and show the aircrafts details to a very high standard, Kagero has even provided a set of canopy masks in 1/48th scale. The scale drawings cover the aircraft from all of the usual angles and that will enable the modeller to increase the level of detail in any model they decide to build. The colour profiles are a nice inclusion to this title but are limited in number.
When it comes to model aircraft 1/48th scale and larger are my preferred scales; however when looking at the usefulness of a product I have to consider modellers more generally. This offering from Kagero is a reasonable title for any modeller looking at 1/48th scale, and so the £17.00 price tag is within reason, but with every other scale being ignored or nearly ignored it detracts from its value greatly. I know that the staples could be removed and the pages scanned at a larger or smaller resolution to achieve your desired scale, but do you really want to take a £17.00 book apart? I know that Kagero could have overcome this issue by providing loose plans of the other two major scales, but they opted not to. In order to finish on a high the addition of 1/48th canopy masks is a nice inclusion.
Highs: Excellently well detailed 1/48th scale plans of the SBD family.Lows: Nothing much if anything for modellers whose interests lie in scales that is not 1/48th.Verdict: The SBD is a well represented aircraft in the model market and this book will help the 1/48th scale builders, others may want to look elsewhere.
About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70’s starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...