From when I started collecting kits almost 30 years ago my 1/72 SBD experience has been limited to the old Airfix/MPC kit.  While I have a couple of the Hawk/Testors kits, even I could tell they were too crude to be worth building.  I also bought every decal sheet I saw, so I probably now have enough decals to build well over a dozen aircraft, although at least half the decals are woefully inaccurate – usually the wrong size.

At present I have two of the Airfix/MPC kits built as Dick Best’s B1 at Midway and Leppla/Liska’s “Sail 12” at Coral Sea.  But in addition to being bad kits (and poorly built), both are now the wrong colors.  Best’s SBD-3 has a upper color I stopped using years ago in favor of FS 35189 for M-485, and the underside is FS 36440 which, although recommended by many sources, is not the FS 36357 of M-495.  The Leppla/Liska aircraft has the right color for the upper surfaces, but for some reason I used a different light gray for the underside.  

I had planned on simply repainting and upgrading, but recently I was able to get my hands of three of the Hasegawa kits – one SBD-5 and two SBD-2/3s (which have all the parts for -5s).  As the -2/3s kits come with markings for the Leppla/Lisko aircraft (many of which I’m not using for reasons I’ll explain in that build) that will be the first build.  After studying all the decals in my stash, I think the second will be a similar February/March 1942 Enterprise CAG aircraft with the oversized markings.  The third will be the SBD-5 box-art aircraft – a summer 1943 SBD-5 on the new Lexington with the red-outlined national markings.  

The Hasegawa kits I have been searching for for so long are no longer state of the art, even with aftermarket resin and PE – there’s a new Flyhawk kit out.  But it may be a while before I have that, so I am saving it for the Best replacement aircraft.  And with some aftermarket, it’s a tolerable build, and there are numerous SBDs I want on the shelves, so I’m still happy to have all three.

You can never have too many SBDs.