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Pacific Helldiver

This is the Revell Curtiss SB2C-4 Helldiver in 1/48 scale, finished in the kit markings of an aircraft from VB-83, USS Essex, US Navy, April 1945. Other markings in the kit are for C-5s, one French, in Vietnam in 1954, the other Italian. I bought this model not long after it came out and it went straight into the build pile. It is very well detailed, including the cockpits. Etched brass detail includes seat belt buckles, ignition harness and dive brakes/flaps. The instructions are not bad but suffer from being unclear in some respects. For example, which way round does the wing bomb rack sway bracing go, how do the undercarriage parts actually fit together and how/where does the armour and the PE sights, for the twin machine guns actually fit? These problems were overcome, eventually, but could have been avoided with clearer drawings.

About the Author

About Mal Mayfield (Holdfast)

Hi, my name is Mal Mayfield and I have been modelling seriously for about 25 years. My main interest is 1/48 scale second world war. I build all types and all combatants. I have built 1/35 scale "targets" and 1/72 scale modern aircraft, plus a couple of cars. I have also dabbled with figure painting...


What has the Helldiver ever done to offend anyone....apart from killing a bunch of folks... We've all got to remember what these planes were for... whatever colours they flew under... Rowan
AUG 22, 2003 - 08:10 AM
Time to clarify . . . . . . or stick my foot in deeper . . . . I've just always felt that the Helldiver in general was a design pushed in order to keep a company and a rapidly-changing operational concept going, not because of any connection to the real world of combat and carrier operations. The "Beast's" crews were brave and skilled, and they made the most of what was handed them. I'm not going to go as far as to say the Dauntless should have stayed in the fleet any later than it did, but the Helldiver probably brought and kept more problems onboard the carrier fleet than did the Corsair. Looking at the rise of the VBF units in the Pacific Fleet by 1945, and also looking at all the aerodynamic compromises needed to even think about putting the SB2C on deck, it just wasn't a happy marriage. Especially considering how Hellcats and Corsairs developed into a major strike element by late '44 - early '45, I guess I wonder how much that growth was delayed by the effort needed to make the Helldiver adequate for carrier use. Okay, I shot my bolt. But I still say you did an out-darn-standing job Mal. I'd been sitting on the fence over the last few years on whether I'd want to build the P-M Helldiver, and what you did made me lean toward the "build it" side of the fence rail. And if anyone wants to start a thread on airplanes they detest, I promise not to bring up the Helldiver again.
AUG 22, 2003 - 08:33 AM
Excellent Helldiver!!!! Mal, keep up the good work, It's guys like you that motivate guys like me to build WW II models even more.
AUG 22, 2003 - 11:16 AM
:-) Looks like we might be having a few more Beasts to contend with :-) Mike I build 1/48 WWII all combatants all types. The Helldiver looks good in model form, which is why it got built. Another reason for building what I do is for the same reason as you say. This is true of all aircrew on all sides, some had it better than others. You can only fight with what you are given, it takes guts after that. I don't think there is an aircraft that I detest Mal
AUG 23, 2003 - 08:00 AM
Yeah Mal, I wasn't being derogatory about your model. I guess i just let the history major in me get unwound, lol. Without getting TOO touchy feely (lol), I enjoy the heck out of seeing your work on here.
AUG 23, 2003 - 11:50 AM
:-) I didn't think you were, Mike, I was intrigued that you could dislike an aircraft. Like I said, there isn't one I dislike. I also liked the sentiment about Beast crews, because piloting is something I would love to do (my ambition is to fly a Spitfire :-) ) and I do believe the same is true about all aircrew during the war. :-) I enjoy showing my work, never had the chance before. I like the discussions it can generate. :-) Mal
AUG 24, 2003 - 07:42 AM
MaI, I guess my dislike was more a matter of how and why the Navy managed to persist in procuring an aircraft that made the Corsair's deck landing and handling qualities and safety seem positively benign in comparison. At the same time, in the air the Beast did have a certain quality with the canopies open -- almost like an Eldorado convertible -- that gets captured really well on the cover of the Squadron In-Action on the SB2C. None of that changes a thing though -- your Beast looked tres cool!!!!!
AUG 24, 2003 - 08:35 AM
Beautiful plane, very real looking. Nice job on the Beast!
AUG 28, 2003 - 07:27 AM
Mal..... Its perfect very well done it must of taken a while. this is a perfect model for some one a lot better then a begginer. i think that i couldnt have done as godd if i tryed really hard well its a great model. (++)
SEP 03, 2003 - 01:33 PM
Hi Billy, welcome to this wonderful site Thanks for the comments :-) Yes it did take quite a while and you are right you can do as well, as can anyone. I have had some experiance, which helps, but on a site like this you can ask specific questions, and get answers, about any technique. Thats all a good modeller is, someone who as mastered enough techniques to be able to produce decent models. Of course the techniques evolve over time and what works for one doesn'y always work for everyone. Mal
SEP 04, 2003 - 06:44 AM