1/48 Accurate Miniatures SB2U-3 Vindicator

by Chip Jean

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It's nice to be the first kid on your block to have a new toy, but in this case, not so much.  I got this kit as soon as it came out. Unfortunately it was part of that first run that had the infamous sink marks on the fuselage.  Everywhere there was internal detail on the fuselage, there was a corresponding sink mark on the outside, and it was especially bad  on the nicely-done fabric portion of the fuselage.  But it didn't stop there; there were numerous sink marks on the wings, the engine, the exhausts, the propeller, the gear doors, and even 2 sink marks on the arrestor hooks.  Disappointing because it's not what you expect from an Accurate Miniatures kit.  Rather than ask AM for new parts, I just dealt with it.  So, other than filling and sanding sink marks, very carefully on the fuselage I might add, the only issues in construction were a lot of trimming of the interior to get the fuselage halves to wrap around it; some bottom-front wing to fuselage fit problems underneath; and a windscreen that was too narrow.  Accuracy-wise, the only fix I made was to fill in 3 of the 4 wing gun ports, leaving 1 open on the starboard side.  I then filled in the shell ejection hole on the port side and scribed one on the starboard side, which the kit didn't have.  As nice as the fabric representation on the fuselage is, the wings and control surfaces are that bad.  They look like someone nailed wooden slats onto 1x4s and then nailed them to the aircraft.  But I decided it was too much to deal with and left it as is. 

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The real challenge with this kit was the finish.  Being based in a remote, tropical area, the paint would have faded and worn quickly, but the fabric-covered area would have faded at a different rate than the metal covered areas.  So, I first pre-shaded the panel lines, then sprayed the base colors (35189/36440) full strength on the metal-covered areas followed by lighter shades within panels followed by an even lighter shade streaked randomly, with more streaking on the upper surfaces.  The fabric-covered areas were handled the same way, but I started with a lightened shade of the base colors.   

After decals, I applied a black/brown oil wash, did paint chipping with a silver pencil, then streaked a highly thinned mix of sand colored paint.  The final step was the antenna wires, which initially were done with EZ-Line.  I thought it looked too heavy and since these pictures were taken, I've replaced them with nylon thread.

Chip Jean

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Photos and text by Chip Jean