After buying this kit back in 1998 I wrote the following rant:
I saw a discounted Hasegawa SBD-3 kit (nr. AP29) for sale and decided to buy it and see for myself what all the fuss on rec.models.scale was all about. Well, now I know...
Hasegawa brought us some of the best detailed modern jets at 1/72 and 1/48 scale, most of these kits having a parts count well over 200. So I fail to understand why they think they can get away with shortcuts like the ones in this kit:
Both of these shortcuts are a mystery to me: US Navy planes are seen most of the time with canopies
The dive brakes wouldn't have been such a big deal if the lower flaps would have been moulded
together with the lower wing half, but by moulding both halves as a single piece, any chance for
getting a realistic model straight from the box is ruined. As the notorious holes in the flaps (represented by
recessed circles in this kit) do not align for the upper and lower flaps, there's little you can do but
cut away the flaps and replace 'm.
I bought Eduard's nr.72-192 photoetched detail set (initially just for the dive brakes, but the interior parts looked too nice to ignore).
In the meantime I've cooled down a bit but the kit did get pushed back into the pile in favour of more interesting models.
In my rant I did not even mention the fact that the box art shows both the dive brakes and the gunners canopy in the open position !
Actually, the kits front canopy does come as a separate part, but it won't fit over the center section, so to display it opened it has to be replaced with a vac-formed one. Fortunately an excellent replacement canopy can be found in Falcon Clear Vax set 1.
A few years after I wrote my rant, some clever Czech modelers came up with a true razor saw which would be perfect for separating the trailing edges of the wings dive brakes, but by then I had already cut away the kits dive brakes to make place for the ones from the Eduard set.
Some time after releasing the regular SBD kits Hasegawa did issue a limited release of their 1/72 SBD-4 kit with a set of photo-etched dive brakes included (kit nr.52046).
With Eduard sets in general you do need some good references to understand what all those tiny parts represent and what their exact location is.
For the SBD, I found an excellent set of color pictures by Bert Kinzey of Detail&Scale fame online at FlightJournal.com, but unfortunately these are no longer online so you have to find the Detail&Scale book.
I started by replacing Hasegawa's cockpit interior with Eduard parts. to my surprise, the Eduard parts
weren't fitting too well, despite the set being designed for the Hasegawa model.
The upper side corners of the center bulkhead (part 47) need a lot of very careful trimming before it fits between the fuselage halves.
I curved the inner fuselage framing (parts 21 and 22) by placing the parts on a tough vinyl cutting pad and gently rolling the body of an X-Acto #1 knife across the part. Once the framing parts had the exact curvature of the fuselage, I dropped them in and fixed each part by running a brush loaded with Slater's Mek-Pak (liquid polystyrene cement) along the edges. I found this a much easier way to fix flush mounted brass parts than using CA (super) glue, simply because it leaves no stains. A tough and flexible coat of polyurethane varnish keeps the parts from working loose during hot summers.
I have my doubts about the replacement pilot seat Eduard supplies: it lacks the compound curves of the real thing and besides, the Hasegawa part is quite nice already.
The vertical framing on the Eduard cockpit interior parts are flush with the horizontal stringers. To raise the frames, I fitted thin strips of plastic strip on top of the frames that are in view, again using Mek-Pak.
There's a problem with the center dive brake flap that Eduard provides: its center section is flat whereas the real thing has a cone-shaped curve.
So I decided to use the kit part (nr.8) instead, sanded the inside of the part down to a credible thickness, took a 1.1mm drill bit and drilled out all of the parts 78 holes.
to be continued...