Trumpeter 1/32 SBD-5 Dauntless

I picked this kit up at some 60% off at the LHS. It was my first trumpy kit and at less than half off, its an excellent deal and it is a great kit. To be honest – its not without its warts (far from a breezy Tamiya build).  I think its MSRP is way too high for what it is:


The detail is outstanding and the fit has generally been fine. The parts do have a lot more mould lines/flash etc than what would come out of a Tamiya kit but nothing that a sanding stick and such can’t take care of. The fit issues have come with some of the round parts (bombs, oil tank, etc.) where the mating parts overlap – again, nothing that can’t be taken care of with some surfacer and some sanding. So far I have tackled the cockpit (many parts) and there were some issues with the radio stack where the fronts did not quite match the backs and the strange way the lap belts attach to the chair.


For those that noticed – I cut off the control stick in the back because the kit comes with a stick that you place at the side of the back deck. I have read that the control stick was kept here most of the time. Rarely was it attached to the control column


I drilled out the instrument faces on the instrument panel. Then I pained the insides a medium gray. Its not perfect but there was no way for me to paint around the faces without doing that.


The walls of the cockpit were painted using MM Acryl interior green that was mixed with some MM medium gray. I do not like this paint at all and it gave me fits. I went over all the ribs with a thin black mix and I faded the interiors of each ‘grid’. I then hand painted a very light MM interior green over the ribs.




Where I saw ’round’ faces in places like radio stacks, etc, I cut out 1/72 instrument panel decals and fit them in. I realize this is not very accurate but it makes the faces more interesting.




The Engine.

A lot of detail painting. The engine on this is kit is very nice OOB. I added the plugs and the wiring for them – I drilled out holes for the wires on the ignition ring.

The exhausts – I really wanted to make them look authentic. The last time I tried to paint an exhaust stack, it just didn’t look right. This time I did it differently and I much prefer how this came out – It looks like rust in my opinion:


The process I used:

1) airbrush the part silver

2) airbrush a thin mix of brown/black (about 4:1). Thin to about 3 parts paint to 10 parts thinner

3) The look should be a metallic brown

4) dry-dab some flat black and some red-brown (it should be speckled – make it look diseased)

5) Dust with Tamiya weathering set – rust

I had a bit of fun with the engine. By the way – lead fly fishing thread is so much easier to work with for ignition wiring! The plugs themselves were made from .035 styrene rod.





1) Do not follow the directions at the stage where you put the wings on the fuselage – there are some very strange ‘steps’ on the top wings where they attach to the fuselage. If you glue the wings together prior to dealing with these, then you will have rediculous gaps. I dryfitted the wings and worked on the steps for a long time. I was still not 100% satisfied with the fit but it ended up being much better. The gaps were not large enough for some styrene sheet to be put in but they did need some filler.

2) The engine cover… this would not fit correctly at first and sanding did not help too much. That required filler.

3) The dive brakes are very well done but the perforations have a lot of flash in them. I have spent an evening with a round file to fix them. The end result looks much better… but wow, there are a ton of holes to clean up!

4) the Big bomb is nicely done. The smaller bombs??? Terrible. I would like to find resin replacements for them. Anyone know who makes small resin bombs? I think these are 100 pounders

The fuse went together relatively simply. The only ‘problem area’ was at the front of the fuselage. There are a number of clear parts that trumpeter included. I suppose these were designed to allow the modeler to have a ‘see through’ model. But the clear plastic is not formed perfectly so some work will be required for a seamless join.

Anyhoo – a lot of primer, sanding, filler and more primer to get it all right.

I then sanded the primer so that I got a nice finish.

I preshaded the underside (white) – I wanted just a subtle look… what do you think?:



I painted the markings and I’m very happy with my results! Of course the vinyl outline masks distorted over time so I had to cut new ones from tamiya tape. So much for that saving time. The paint used was Vallejo insignia blue and I think it worked perfectly!

I also painted the walkways and I’m likely going to paint a few more things so as to avoid these questionable trumpy decals. The issue I have is that I don’t trust the trump decal guide and I find have good pictures to go by.


Now onto assembly of the little bits!
















5 thoughts on “Trumpeter 1/32 SBD-5 Dauntless

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  1. I am building this model right now. The instrument panel on this kit is wrong. it is a SBD-3 instrument panel. The thing that keyed me to it was the turn and slip instrument was at the 12 o’clock position. This was the correct place if the aircraft had the telescopic sight, but since the SBD-5 had the reflector sight, which was installed where the turn and slip indicator was it was moved.


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