As some of you may know, as part of Project Intrepid, a collaborative project between me and my friend Lego Monster, I am building a series of WW-II naval aircraft. After a TBF Avenger, F4U Corsair, A6M 'Zero-sen' I've now cranked out a classic dive-bomber, the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver.
The Helldiver had two crew-members: a pilot and a bombardier/gunner. The latter sat in a separate cockpit in the aft fuselage and operated two .30 inch machine guns in a somewhat odd arrangement. The upper fuselage section between the tail and the canopy could fold down, freeing the guns, as you can see in a photograph of the real aircraft. I didn't even try to make that work on my model.
Like many carrier-based aircraft, the Helldiver has folding wings.
When Helldivers first entered service they were universally unpopular. Compared to the Douglas Dauntless that they replaced, the Helldiver was bigger, more complicated, unstable, difficult to fly, less reliable and only carried the same weapons load over a similar distance. The only advantage the Helldiver had was that it was considerably faster. The aircraft received a number of unflattering nicknames, such as 'The Beast' and 'Son-of-female canine 2nd Class' (an obvious play on the SB2C designation).
In later versions many of the aircraft's shortcomings were fixed, but the aircraft was never popular.
Grumman and Curtiss used completely different ways of folding the aircrafts' wings for stowage aboard carriers. The Avenger used the unique Grumman 'sto-wing' in which the wings of the plane were stored parallel to the fuselage. Curtiss used a more conventional approach for their Helldiver, with the outer wing panels folding up. You can see the results: the footprint of the Avenger is much smaller than the Helldiver's
This was the most difficult build so far and one that I wasn't looking forward to, but I am happy with how my version of the Beast turned out. Next: a Grumman F6F Hellcat.
Edited by Rufus, 25 June 2011 - 05:45 PM.