Accurate Miniatures SBD-5

Discussion in 'Model Kit Reviews' started by Sweb, May 30, 2009.

  1. Sweb

    Sweb Member

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    Being a rather anal retentive type with all things I do I took the time to dry fit everything on this kit. It's AM's 1/48th scale SBD-5. At a glance this kit is marvelously detailed inside and out but that's where the "accuracy" of this kit ceases.

    The fuselage sides are of unequal thickness. That happens and can be resolved. However, due to the extent of the detail moldings for interior (cockpit) parts much trimming has to be done to ensure the fuselage sides and wing bottom correctly fit and I use "correctly" with much tongue-in-cheek with regard to this entire kit. Nothing fits, period. By the time all trimming is completed and major assemblies can be brought together to fit without forcing anything one wing dihedral is excessively high (right wing) and the upper wing panel lines do not line up with the fuselage lines on the right side. This was checked and rechecked to ensure proper alignment with the wing bottom by tack-gluing rather than taping. I tack-glued everything on this kit because much has to be installed and lined up for final assembly. Basically, I loosely built the kit to check alignment.

    The extent of attention to cockpit and exterior detail is, again, well thought out and with much work this kit can be a nice representation of the original airplane. However, due to the fact that nothing is straight forward with this particular kit I do not suggest it to anyone except experienced builders who have much of their own reference material on the particular airplane. The instructions are woefully inadequate regarding specific placement of interior detail parts. Painting details are also lacking in accuracy and scope and detail. Most kits are like that so I discount that aspect of this one.

    The dive flaps are very much a joke. The holes should be symmetrically aligned top-bottom and are not once the individual flaps have been located to their respective positions. This means that the row of holes on the upper and lower trailing edges will mismatch when they should be aligned. Each flap will require trimming on one end and material added on the other to align the holes. The right wing panel will require added material at the upper wing-to-body joint to give symmetrical dihedral. The center bottom flap, once the wing is in alignment and wing flaps installed, will require additional material added to both sides to meet with the wing flaps. The wing bottom aft center extension is molded in the wrong angle and will require heat-bending. It will then require trimming to make it match the fuselage cut-out to prevent large gaps. The cockpit floor will not seat into the fuselage because the right side of the fuselage is molded too thick and the fuselage sidewall details are too long. The pilot's armored bulkhead does not fit into the roll-over structure at all for the same reason and will require reshaping to fit. The fuselage forward firing guns fairing won't fit because it was not properly molded to fit over the instrument panel. Also, it is externally inaccurate in contour from the gun breech area to the barrel area. It's stepped and shouldn't be.

    Basically this kit is for advanced modelers only if they choose to take advantage of a pretty good scale representation of the real airplane. Nothing about the kit is straight forward for a correct build OOB. I thoroughly enjoy modeling and find most of it involves the interior/exterior finishes. This kit does not look like an enjoyable undertaking for me and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I check the fit of model brands I have no prior experience with and this is my first Accurate Miniatures kit. I'm glad I checked. I will not build this kit any time soon, if ever, as it does not fit my idea of an enjoyable leisure time activity.

    Joe
     
  2. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I tend to agree with you in some ways Joe. As you know, I'm doing the Accurate Miniatures (Italeri issue) Avenger in the Group Build.
    Although the level of scale detail is outstanding, this, in a way, is part of its downfall as a kit, as it means there are fit issues due to lack of mating faces, and some components made so close to scale that the fit into the location is extremely tight, if not virtually impossible.
    Overall, the model is turning out quite well, but I agree, if this is representative of the AM kits, then it is certainly NOT for a beginner, and only just suitable for an intermediate modeller. I don't mean this as a slur on AM, as their kits did set very high new standards in plastic model kits when they first appeared on the market, but they are lacking in the clarity of their instruction sheet drawings and detail, more so in the Italeri version, which lack the accompanying guidance notes.
    I would like to try the AM Mitchell, in the RAF version, but I think I would get an equally satisfying result from an alternative kit, albeit the extra detailing would have to be scratch-built (yippee!).
    I have to say, although I didn't exactly dislike building this kit, I can't say I actually enjoyed it either, although the finsihed result should look good. I could have done better, but it's OK.
    I don't think that I would recommend these kits to any other than experienced modellers, especially considering their price - not something to be spoiled by an inexperienced hand, therefore wasting the investment.
     
  3. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Some interesting info Guys....guess I will pass on the AM Dauntless...
     
  4. Sweb

    Sweb Member

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    Little late responding here. I will say again that the AM Dauntless has the scale detail we want and hate to scratch together. I'm past all the scratching together of plumbing lines, revealed internal guts and stuff. If a kit offers it stock or I can after-market it in great. My only gripe with this kit is the fit of the parts and the instructions. One would think (I know, we have books for that) that with all the maker's effort to produce such a finely scaled and detailed kit they'd ensure fit and provide adequate literature before they stopped for tea and called it a day. Just seems, well, wrong and ultimately disappointing.
     
  5. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Certainly agree Joe. What surprised me, having obtained the AM instruction sheet to go with the Italeri- boxed Avenger, was the way it's laid out. The drawings / diagrams are the same as reproduced by Italeri, and, well, very poor. But then there are the odd notes and tips here and there, in the text, aimed at guiding the modeller, and avoiding errors. If the same effort had been put in to achieving a better fit of some parts, and some clearer instruction drawings, then this kit would be 100% good, instead of 98%.
    The fit can also be confusing. When I test fitted the Avenger main canopy section, it seemed to be designed to fit over a raised section that was exactly the same size and shape as a corresponding 'notch' in the base of the canopy, and I duly fitted and cemented the canopy in this position. It wasn't until I came to fit the pilot's cockpit canopy top rail much later, that I noticed that the canopy was 1mm too far forward. Of course, this meant that the rail would not fit correctly, and I had to then trim it. OK, the result is hardly noticeable, but it does mean that the rear, transparent-topped bulkheadd in the observer's cockpit is now out of lign with the canopy framing. A minor point, but bl**dy irritating!
     
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