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MOC: SB2C Helldiver


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#1 Ralph_S

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 04:57 PM

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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.  
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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.
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Like many carrier-based aircraft, the Helldiver has folding wings.
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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.
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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
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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.

Cheers,
Ralph

Edited by Rufus, 25 June 2011 - 05:45 PM.
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#2 Big Cam

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 05:29 PM

That's awesome, I love how the wings fold up, very authentic.

The color is just perfect too.  Great job!

#3 General Redwater

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 08:15 PM

This is amazing! :classic: All the details make it look a lot like the real plane. :thumbup:
Great job! :sweet:
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#4 Spyder

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 09:50 PM

Absolutely amazing work yet again Ralph. I love all the little details, you must have put alot of time into this one.
Ooooohhhh! just look at that rudder, it's B-A-U-tiful!!!  :wub:
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#5 lightningtiger

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Posted 20 May 2010 - 11:28 PM

AWESOME 'Ralph_S' just SMEGGING AWESOME ! :grin:
Keep you creations comming man, these are just so.........like I said AWESOME !
Folding wings, minifig scale, dam all these must be costing you a packet ! :wink:
Keep on bricking 'Ralph_S' keep on bricking ! :sweet:

#6 Capt. Stabbin

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 01:08 AM

Great job, as always!!!  Superfantastic!

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#7 Ralph_S

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 05:12 PM

Thanks guys. The folding wings were an essential part of this build because the aircraft needs to go onto a model of an aircraft carrier and if you look at pictures of real aircraft carries you'll see that only very few aircraft on their decks will not have their wings folded. I'm glad you like it.

Cheers,
Ralph
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#8 Cooper

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 05:44 PM

I'm really a fan of this built. Not sure what is my favorite part, but the tail, landing gear, cockpit, and folding wings all are very well done.

#9 Ralph_S

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 03:58 PM

View PostCooper, on May 21 2010, 06:44 PM, said:

I'm really a fan of this built. Not sure what is my favorite part, but the tail, landing gear, cockpit, and folding wings all are very well done.
Thank you. The cockpits were the trickiest parts. I wanted to have the option of having them both open or closed. Whenever the aircraft were simply stored on the deck they'd normally be closed, but when taxiing or being towed across the deck there'd normally be a crewman in the cockpit with the canopy open. There wasn't enough space to use an arrangement like on my Corsair (and the trans clear 2x3 plates for that are expensive), so I used an alternative method using trans clear planels. Unfortunately I cannot close them with the figures inside.

Cheers,
Ralph
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