Thursday 12 August 2021

Painting Pacific War (1942) Douglas Dauntless Version SDB-3: Reference Notes

While "going through my loft" in search of the 1/48th scale Airfix Spitfire Vb (now proudly hanging from a son's bedroom ceiling), I came across a box marked the Airfix USN Pacific Air (Midway) Project. A "project on hold". I had (at some distant point in the past) collected the Airfix Devastator, Dauntless and Wildcat USN trio (I also plan/planning to to the same for the IJN [Zero, Kate, Val], likewise there is a RAF - Battle of Britain Fighter Box [Spitfire, Hurrican, Defiant, Beaufighter and Gloster Gladiator] and a Signature Battle of Britain Luftwaffe [Me 109, Me 110, Stuka Ju-87, Ju-88, Heinkel 111] collection/project in progress). Seeing as the Dauntless was only 'part complete' I decided to "give it a shove" and also do an unboxing on the Wildcat kit - which turned out to my surprise as a more modern re-tooled Airfix kit - the difference in the level of detail and clarity in instructional layout is significant (see below, kit progress: 100%, -  50% and 0% done):  

The Devastator is a canny old bird and I have immense respect for the crew that had to fly these "obsolete" planes into battle in one of the pivotal periods of the Second World War. In fact the Devastator reminds me of the "Fairey Battle" of France 1940 fame. With respect to the paint job, I see I I tried to get a sea battered and weathered look (see below, I have a feeling that I have over worked it a little - sometimes less can be more): 

Job done for the day so time to return the Dauntless to its USN Pacific War party box. It is a "no rush" project, it was nice just to get the loose bits of plastic stuck together and not lost and MIA (which is frustrating). I used some Vallejo Plastic Putty to fill the inevitable "gaps" of an early Airfix model kit (see below, the current painting tray, eclectic as ever, a WWII Pacific USN Air War set next to Games Workshop Fantasy bunch of Nurgles!): 

One issue I have is, what sort of paint scheme to adopt. I chose the USB Dauntless SDB-3 option for the 1942 era Dauntless but the decals are for a NZ plane, the USMC decals are for the 1944 SDB-5 and the Oxford Blue paint scheme looks bad for 1942. So I am looking for a painting guide match for 1942 that can fit either Vallejo or Tamiya paints (at a push Airfix Humbrol). Suggestions appreciated.


Bluewillow said...

looks good, the dauntless does look good weathered and beaten. great stuff


Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Cheers BlueWillow

Thanks, I have not "mastered" the weathered look on planes - I think I will have to chase up on a few articles on how to do it

I like the idea that you know it has been sitting and operating off the flight deck of a carrier for a while

The alternative is that it is factory fresh makes it too polished "museum" display

PS: Still working on the Dauntless, the finished bird is a Devastator. A Zero pilot would know the difference from the former (Dauntless) coming in "high" to dive bomb and the latter *Devastator) coming in "low at sea level" to drop a torpedo.

Hope to do more soon!

Rich L said...

I don't want to disappoint you, but the red & white stripes on rudders went away as markings per a BuAer directive in mid May 1942. There were no such marked USN aircraft, TBD or otherwise, at the Battle of Midway.

Rich L said...

Not to be disappointing and the bearer of bad tidings, but the red & white rudder stripes were ordered discontinued and removed in a early-May 1942 BuAer directive. There were no red & white striped rudders on TBDs or any other USN types at the Battle of Midway.


Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

Thanks Rich,

No information is bad news if it contributes to knowledge :)
I guess my Devastator is flying in a previous battle ;)

Maybe an excuse to get an another or simply overlay it with a coat of blue!

Having any form of red on your plane is a sure way of attracting not so friendly US Anti Aircraft fire :O

The RAF and RAAF soon dropped the red from their roundel markings too!