Accurate Miniatures 1/48 Vought SB2U-3 Vindicator

 

 

Model, Article and Photos by Joe Frazier

 

 

Introduction

Manufactured in America between 1935-1941 for both the Navy and Marine Corps, the Vought Vindicator represented a major transition from biplane to modern low wing monoplanes.  The Vindicator came into service at a time when aircraft development was proceeding rapidly, and although it displayed features which were state of the art at the time it first came on active service, when pressed into a combat role at the start of World War Two, it was found to lack the firepower and speed to serve as an effective dive bomber.  Some aircraft were sent to serve in England and France, but there too it was determined that they were headed for obsolescence.

 

The defining moments for the Vindicator came at the Battle of Midway in June of 1942.  Marine Bombing Squadron VMSB-241 used this aircraft in several attacks against the Imperial Japanese Fleet.  While scoring several hits, the aircraft were badly mauled by the new and deadly Zero fighter aircraft serving with the Japanese.

 

The Battle of Midway produced a Medal of Honor recipient, Captain Richard E. Fleming USMC.   He did not live to receive it, because he and his gunner, PFC George A. Toms were both lost on the second day of the battle as he dove his Vindicator to attack the MIKUMA, a Japanese heavy cruiser.  Although his aircraft was hit and aflame at the start of his attack run, he continued to press his dive until lost at sea.

 

After Midway, the Vindicator was pulled from front line service, but continued to serve in lesser roles for several more years.   Only one aircraft, an SBU-2, has survived the years, having been recovered from Lake Michigan and restored and placed in the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, Florida.

 

General Remarks

The Accurate Miniatures model is a real gem in many ways, in spite of the bad press received early on regarding sink marks in the fuselage sides. (a problem completely overcome in later presses).  The kit features fine engraved panel lines, and superlative detail throughout.   The only serious flaw I encountered in my kit was stress lines inside the clear areas which could not be polished out.   Future coats helped with this problem, but it is still noticeable.   I believe this problem was taken care of in later presses as well.   The model is accurate in outline, and the fabric areas are nicely represented.  The model features an amazingly detailed cockpit and crew area which is really a little model in itself, although not without some construction problems (more about that later).  An excellent set of decals is included with side and rudder numbers for any Vindicator in VMSB 241.

 

Construction

Construction of the kit went very smoothly from start to finish, but there are several areas where care has to be taken:

 

Fuselage and Cowling

 

 

 

 

 

             

 

Cockpit Area

  1. The cockpit components are a work of art, and catch the intricate interior of the kit very well.  These parts are fragile, and again I would recommend a lot of testing the fit of the parts before any gluing. Be careful with removing the many molding tabs, as you can break the side pieces easily    I believe you will have some problems inserting the finished product inside the fuselage.  I actually had to cut part of the forward sides away to get a fit.

 

  1. The rear cockpit area is particularly well done and very “busy.”  You will have to do a little fitting and cutting here and there to get it to set inside the fuselage halves.  Again, the parts are very fragile, so take lots of time.

 

Wings and Landing Gear

The Wings fit together with no problems and are very nicely detailed.   Be sure to get the wing spar placed exactly right, as it determines the dihedral.   The landing gear is very nicely detailed and a bit fragile!   It is much stronger once everything is in place, but that takes some careful fitting.  The instructions are not a lot of help without some careful study so look them over and fit before gluing!

 

Clear Areas

The kit gives you a choice between one long section of greenhouse and divided sections.  The separate sections make for a much more interesting kit and show off the considerable detail in the rear cockpit area.   The one piece section does not quite line up with the fuselage opening, which is another reason to consider having the cockpit open.    The final section really will fit up inside the other sections, but you will have to trim it and be very careful placing it if you plan for it to go very far forward inside the other parts!  Some modelers simply leave some sections  off, showing the model with the rear gunner’s area opened.  If you use all of the sections, you will have to sand a little off the bottoms of several to get them inside each other and still have a snug fit to the fuselage.  Remember that the area behind the pilot seat was actually sheet metal, although the clear part in the kit has framed lines.   I sanded this section down and with the open canopy placed over it, a realist effect is obtained.

 

Painting, Weathering, Decals, and Finish

Model Master paints were used inside and out, along with Windsor Newton water based oils and pastel chalks for weathering.   A coat of Future was used before decals were placed and then after all weathering, two coats of 85%-flat to 15% matte clear was lightly misted over the painted areas.   The decals were in register and went on with no problems at all.

 

I chose to represent my model with the earlier 1942 U.S. Marine blue-grey camouflage which still had rudder stripes and the large wing roundels with the star and red center circle.  These markings were either eliminated or changed just prior to the battle of Midway.  I masked and sprayed the rudder stripes. But if I had to do it over again, I would use the decal sheet from Accurate Miniatures (Kit 48201 – USS Wasp) version which has these national insignia and rudder markings. 

 

I also chose to use the 100 pound bombs and racks, although these were not used at the time of the Midway battle.   I also used a 500 pound bomb from another kit, as the Vindicator usually did not utilize the 1000 pound load.

 

Final Comments

I cannot say enough good things about this model kit.   While it is true that you will have some minor fit problems with the cockpit area, the extra work is well worth the incredible detail and appearance you will see at the end of your labors.

 

The attention to detail, cleanness of molding, and accuracy of outline make this a singularly attractive addition to the line of Accurate Miniatures kits produced so far.   It is not an easy build and not without some serious construction problems, but these are easily fixed with patience and a little effort…….  Is it a Tamiya “fall together” kit?  Nope, but kits like this are what modeling is all about.    An excellent kit which also requires some thinking and creative reworking on the part of the builder.

 

Acknowledgements

A word of thanks to the other reviewers whose writings helped me build a better model based on their recommendations.  I have listed them in the references below.   Also, many thanks to Brent Theobold at Roll Models for asking me to do this review. 

 

                           

 

References

Reviews:

Cleaver, Tom.  SB2U-3 Vindicator.   Modeling Madness  review.  August 2005.

 

Jamison, Kelly.  Accurate Miniatures SB2U-3 Vindicator.  Cybermodeler Online review.    December 2005.   A very thorough and helpful review.

 

Booklets:

Doll, Tom.  SB2U Vindicator In Action.   Number 122.  Squadron Signal   Publications. 1992.

 


Warning: mysql_connect() [function.mysql-connect]: Access denied for user 'a0014370'@'69.160.68.37' (using password: YES) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/common/connect.php on line 2

 

Models and Accessories:



Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 383

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 383
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
Item: Description: Price:
(click to order)

I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.


Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 436

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 436
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.


Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 489

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 489
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.


Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 543

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 543
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.


Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 597

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 597
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.


Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 651

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 651
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.


Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 705

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 705
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.


Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 759

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 759
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.


Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 813

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 813
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.


Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 867

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 867
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.


Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 921

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 921
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.


Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 975

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 975
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.


Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 1029

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 1029
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.


Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 1083

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 1083
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.


Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 1137

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 1137
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.

 

Reference Material:

'

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO) in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 1199

Warning: mysql_query() [function.mysql-query]: A link to the server could not be established in /usr/home/web/users/a0014370/html/nreviews/airplanes/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator/48AccurateMiniaturesVindicator.php on line 1199
Error: 1045; error description: Access denied for user 'dwright'@'localhost' (using password: NO)
Item: Description: Price:
(click to order)

I'm sorry, but since the review has been published that product appears to have gone out of production.