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SB2U-1 Vindicator by Landlubber Mike - Accurate Miniatures 1:48

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I took this kit off the shelf the other day and started putting it together.  It's the Accurate Miniatures Vought SB2U-1 Vindicator, a subject not too often seen or represented in the aircraft modeling world.  There's not too much aftermarket out there for it, but I did get the Eduard PE set (which is very nice, including a color PE fret for cockpit and other details), exhausts from Quickboost, and some decals from Yellow Wings.









The Vindicator was a scout bomber built from 1936-1941 in three series (-1, -2, and -3), and attempts were made at a float version but there were problems and it was scrapped.  It doesn't have much of a glorious battle history, but is important in that it represents the switchover from biplanes to monoplanes.  Interestingly, the Navy solicited bids for both types of wing configurations given resistance to move to the monoplane type that ended up quickly becoming the norm.




The kit is pretty nice, though the instructions aren't as clear as maybe some of their other kits (and has typos).  A number of kits have bad sink marks on the back half of the fuselage where the ribbed section starts.  I bought my kit from John at UMM-USA, and he kindly provided an extra set of clean fuselage halves.  

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Color Scheme:


I love this plane as the -1 versions and some -2 versions had the yellow wing colorful schemes.  I'm still undecided on whether to build the kit scheme:




...or to build it as the VS-72 Centaur Vampire which was the -2 version (thankfully, the -2 was essentially the same as the -1 minus some interior component improvements that aren't visible):




I love the logo of the Centaur Vampire, but I already built the F3F-2 in a similar color scheme.  I kinda like the idea of having the cowl completely in aluminum with the green gross stripes, so I'm leaning towards the kit version.

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Wing Options:


One weird aspect of the kit is that it provides the wing inserts to make for a folded version, but provides no instructions!  There is at least one build log out there where the builder built it with folded wings, so it can be done.  To be a little different, I'm thinking of building this as a partially folded version shown below (taken from the SB2U Vindicator In Action book from Squadron/signal publications).  Looks pretty neat I think and the pictures and diagrams are very helpful.






If I did do the wing fold, I'm wondering about opening the flaps per the Eduard PE set (taken from another build log I found on the net):




Looks pretty cool, but I don't know if the flaps would be open in that position.  Plus, I'd like to put bombs on it - it is a bomber after all.  I might just do so to show all the bells and whistles, and not worry about historical accuracy per se.  I haven't been able to find too many pictures of the plane with the wings folded to know exactly what makes sense.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Edwardkenway said:

I'm in Mike, yay first choice of seat😄

I like the kit version too, it's different!


12 minutes ago, Egilman said:

Hey brother just arrived, looking for my usual spot....


Wow, you guys are fast!  Glad to have you along to keep me honest!


I have the interior and engine just about finished on this, just need to do a little shading and weathering.  I'll post pics once the front and rear cockpit assemblies are completed and the fuselage halves put together.   


This should be a little faster than the FM-1 Wildcat I'm working on.  I put it to the side as I'm still a bit nervous about how to blend the transition from dark gull grey to insignia white on the fuselage.  Rather than go for it, I chickened out and picked a new kit off the shelf 😕

Edited by Landlubber Mike
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I know the draw of showing all the features, but so you have a clear picture historically, wings folded, no bombs nor extended flaps.....


Weapons were only installed during mission ops, they made the plane too heavy for arrested landings on the carrier deck.... also the wings were usually in some state of fold when not on the flight deck or undergoing maintenance.... 


It's an interesting aircraft and a must have to fill out a prewar flight deck....

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I know, that's the bummer with this.  Seems like doing the wing fold will make me have to give up certain other interesting details on the model.  I could always try to do the one side wing fold, other side bombs and flaps, but not sure how interested I am in splitting the baby like that.


The wing fold mechanism is not all that interesting.  Here is a picture from another build I found online (who happened to add the drop tank and practice bomb dispensers):




Instead, I think showing the model with the 1000lb bomb in the bomb displacement rack, the 100lb bomb under each wing, and the flaps open might make for a more interesting model.  Decisions decisions!



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28 minutes ago, mtaylor said:

The question seems to be "when was the plane "bombed" up?".   Did they do it on the flight deck at that point or was it done on the hanger deck?  


I could always put the bomb on a rack and display it next to the model with its wings folded.  I'd love to show the flaps open too as the Eduard PE looks fantastic, but haven't found too many pictures of the plane with flaps down, except on takeoff/landing or in a crash.








25 minutes ago, ccoyle said:

Sweet! I have a card model version of this aircraft, albeit in wartime camouflage.


Awesome!  When are you starting!

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1 hour ago, mtaylor said:

The question seems to be "when was the plane "bombed" up?".   Did they do it on the flight deck at that point or was it done on the hanger deck?  

They were bombed up on deck after spotting, the procedure was developed during the early years on the Lex and Sara, the bomb racks on the aircraft were not strong enough to handle the moving the aircraft around the deck and represented a hazard to the ship if one was accidentally dropped... It's why they developed bomb elevators to raise the ordnance to the flight deck.... 


It was that way on all the carriers of the period, arming the bombers and torpedo planes was one of the most dangerous tasks on a carrier, it cost the Japanese dearly at Midway.....

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2 hours ago, lmagna said:

Back row present Mike. Why not make a bomb handling cart and place it next to the aircraft. That way you could place the wings anyway you want. Not certain about the flaps, they were probably manual not hydraulic, but who would argue?


Lou, that's a good idea, and one I'm certainly considering.  Would seem to allow me to show the most when it comes to interesting details.  Or I could skip the wing fold and drop the flaps, install the bombs, etc.

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This one is moving along pretty quickly.  I've got the front and rear cockpits just about assembled.  Am waiting on some paint to finish the oxygen bottles, then can and then can go ahead and add washes, etc.  I'm using Vallejo metal colors - for the interior, I'm using Duraluminum since it's a touch darker and will make things easier on shading the interior a touch.  Vallejo's metal line is awesome - so easy to spray and clean, and hand brushes really nicely as well.


The Eduard set has a lot of nice upgrades for this kit.  Along with the typical cockpit details (which are in color), there are things like the straps for the life raft.













Also made a start on the engine, which is a Pratt & Whitney R 1535-96 Twin Wasp.  The kit engine wasn't too bad, but the ignition wires were too thick.  With the Eduard set, you add individual wires and then add control rods.  Looks pretty good thus far, just need to add the details, washes, grime, etc.





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I spent some time last night working on the cowl.  The two halves come together fairly ok, but are thin and you end up losing the metal braces along the two seams.  Never fear, Eduard to the rescue with replacement braces.  I also replaced the exhausts with the set from Quickboost.  They are a little crisper and have a deeper hollow to them.




I'm trying to decide on the cowl flaps.  The kit gives you a closed and open set.  I'm thinking of going open to add these Eduard opening hardware.










I'm not fully sure about the open cowl yet.  Kinda reminds me of frilled lizards 🙈





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There aren't too many models of this one out there, and even fewer with the open cowl option.  Here is one of the SB2U-3 I found - I suppose it doesn't look too bad open, and will look better with the Eduard detail pieces (I think they must be hinges) filling in the gap.









Here is one of the kit engine - I think the Eduard wiring details are a big improvement:



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Posted (edited)

It's a good look, but the problem with the open cowl flaps is the same problem for all injection plastic, they are unrealistically thick....

Two ways to fix it, sand them down to thin them, but have to be careful not to sand too far, the other is they are easy scratch replacements if your willing to do the extra work, they are pretty straightforward....


I do not understand why eduard didn't etch the flaps themselves, it would be an easy replacement...


I'm sure you will decide what works best for you, they were always mostly closed except for warm-ups, takeoff and climb out.... (fully closed on the hangar deck unless under maintenance)


One thing to note on the kit part of the open flaps, they did not have separation lines, the actual flaps overlapped like shingles on a house, It would show as edges not grooves....


And the internal dish shaped flap stiffeners only showed on the outside as a line of rivet heads where the kit shows them more like airscoops....


Interesting problem to represent accurately....

Edited by Egilman
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Posted (edited)

If you don't mind Brother a few examples of what I'm talking about...








SB2U-2, Again to show the difference


And in color...






Flat outer surface on the -2

Stamped reinforcement conforming to the stiffener underneath on the -3


The other thing you notice is the scoop, on the -3 it was larger and extended to the curve of the cowl, on the -2 it was shorter, lower in profile and was at least 18" behind the turn of the cowl.....


Just a little detail difference they seem to have missed...

Edited by Egilman
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Posted (edited)

EG, thanks for the information and the pictures as always!  I agree that the cowl flaps have some of the limitations from plastic injection.  They aren't too thick (the ones in that SB2U-3 picture seem twice as thick as mine), but still overscale.  I'm almost glad Eduard didn't give replacements - they were a real pain to glue on my Wildcat.  I'll probably sand them down a touch, but otherwise not worry too much.  Looking at some other build logs, the closed flaps are still a touch open, so I could still show off those Eduard brackets underneath.  Going with the closed flaps will also help minimize the scale issue, which is quite apparent with the open flaps.


I have the following two books as references which have been very helpful:




They have some really great pictures.  Sometimes I don't know if these books are a help or it's just better to have blind ignorance where kit flaws become plainly exposed.  


Here are a couple of pictures from In Action that show the cowl flaps - the second one is the same plane I'm planning to model:






The second book by Dana Bell has some really crisp photographs.  Here is one that shows off the wing fold on an SB2U-1.  The kit wing inserts for the wing fold are close, but are going to need to be spruced up a bit with additional details.




The Bell book had some cool photos of the USS Wasp elevator mechanism.  Thought this was kinda neat to see:







So I think I might go with the box cover edition with closed cowl flaps.  I'm still debating the wing fold, but will probably go for it with the partial fold and wings splayed out.  That would be distinctive I think, and I just ordered some brass tube and small threaded rod to create the external jury strut that pulls the wings into a folded position.  I have a great picture in the Bell book of the assembly which helps.  With the wings in the partial folded position, one could still see the detail in the cockpits, etc.  I'll probably still add the Eduard open flaps - might be technically inaccurate, but it's a cool detail and will give me some more experience for when I get to more complicated models.  


I'll probably also add a 500 or 1000 pound bomb in a bomb cart alongside the plane.  Accurate Miniatures had come out with a bomb and weapon set, which I must have picked up at some point.  There are some bomb carts as part of the set, so I'll either use one of them or scratch my own using the kit's parts as a sample.  The Eduard PE set has some cool parts to dress up the kit bombs so I'm inclined to show a bomb in some form or another.


Edited by Landlubber Mike
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Yeah, sounds like you have it sussed out... The CAG aircraft is a nice looking bird as well....


Going with the almost closed option means you can take the edge down to very narrow and give it the look like it is just a thin metal panel..... most wouldn't know the difference and it takes almost no time at all... Besides, it spent most of it's life with them closed or almost closed, so it would look more natural that way....


Good deal brother, hope the pics helped...



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