Yellowhammer 1/32 SBD Dauntless Decal Sheets

By Chris Banyai-Riepl

Trumpeter’s 1/32 Dauntless has proved to be a popular subject with modelers, and to help fuel this are these sheets from Yellowhammer. Between these three sheets there are no less than 17 aircraft portrayed, ranging from pre-war yellow winged SBD-1s to Operation Torch and Solomon Islands Dauntlesses from 1942 and 1943.

Starting with the most colorful examples, sheet 32016 provides markings for four Marine SBD-1s in that classic yellow wing scheme. The basic scheme is a silver fuselage and tailfins, a red/white/blue vertically striped rudder, and yellow upper wing surfaces. Adding to this color are the individual section colors: red, green, white, and blue. These are found on the cowling, on a fuselage band, and on diagonal wing bands. All four aircraft are section leaders, which means that the cowlings are solid color, rather than split. The red-cowled option is VMB-2’s Squadron Commander’s aircraft, coded 2-MB-1. The green-cowled option is also from VMB-2 and is the fifth section leader’s aircraft, coded 2-MB-13. The white cowled aircraft is from VMB-1 and represents the second section’s leader and is coded 1-MB-4. Finally, the blue-cowled aircraft, also from VMB-1, is the third section leader’s aircraft and is coded 1-MB-7. Rather than providing the colored bands as decals, this sheet provides those as Black Magic masks, thus ensuring that all the colors will match between the cowling, fuselage band, and wing bands. Also provided in mask form is the rudder stripes, in addition to a decal option, allowing the modeler to choose either method.

The next sheet, 32017, provides six SBD-3/4s from the Navy and Marines. All of these aircraft are camouflaged in blue gray over light gray. Starting at the top of the list, we have one of the few examples of SBDs with nose art. This is a VMSB-233 SBD-4 seen at Guadalcanal in the spring of 1943 and carries the name “Sister” on the fuselage, along with a goose and some mission tally markings. Another named aircraft on this sheet is the VMSB-144 Commander’s aircraft. Maj. Frank E. Hollar had his aircraft named “Push Push” and is numbered White 119 on the tail.

Next up is CDR Harry “Don” Felt’s SBD-3. Felt was the Commander of the Saratoga Air Group during the Guadalcanal campaign in the late summer of 1942. This aircraft is fairly sedate, with a small 0 on the rear fuselage and a single Japanese kill marking under the windscreen.

Rounding out this sheet are several options from the Battle of Midway in 1942. First is the SBD-3 of ENS Leif W. Larsen from VS-5 off the USS Yorktown. It has had part of the cowling painted over in gray, and carries the number 17 in black on the rear fuselage. Next is Lt. Richard H. Best’s SBD-3 from VB-6 off the USS Enterprise. It has the black code “B1” ahead of the fuselage roundel. Finally, we have LCDR C. Wade McClusky’s SBD-3. McClusky was the Commander of the Enterprise Air Group and his aircraft was coded “GC” ahead of the roundel.

The last sheet in the Yellowhammer Dauntless series, 32018, provides a rather eclectic collection of Dauntlesses wearing a wide variety of camouflage schemes. Starting at the top of the instructions, the first aircraft is an SBD-3 flown by LTJG Stanley “Swede” Vejtasa from VS-5 off the USS Yorktown during the Battle of the Coral Sea in 1942. It has the large roundels with red centers and the red and white striped rudder and carries the number 10 in black on the fuselage.

Next up is the Commander of the Enterprise Air Group, CDR Howard Young’s SBD-2, as seen at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. It has the text “Commander Enterprise Group” on the fuselage sides, small fuselage roundels with red centers, and a solid gray rudder.

The third option is also from the Battle of the Coral Sea and is LTJG William E. Hall’s SBD-3 from VS-2 off the USS Lexington. It combines features of the previous two aircraft, with the small fuselage roundel with red centers and the red and white striped rudder. This aircraft is coded S-8 in white. All three of these aircraft have large wing roundels, with Young’s SBD-2 having them only on one wing.

Switching oceans, the next option is an SBD-3 from VS-41 off the USS Ranger during Operation Torch in November of 1942. This aircraft is coded 41-S-16 and has the large fuselage roundels and lower wing roundels surrounded by yellow. The squadron’s Top Hat insignia is included for placement under the port side cockpit. It is not certain that it was, in fact, present, but it is included should you wish to have it on your model. The yellow surrounds are done in the form of Black Magic masks.

While the previous examples were all camouflaged in blue gray over light gray, the next choice represents an experimental camouflage scheme. This is an SBD-3 from VS-3 based at NAS Oakland in September of 1941. This aircraft had the usual blue gray replaced with green. It is coded 2-S-9 in white, and has small fuselage roundels.

Finally, we have two Marine Dauntlesses, an SBD-1 and an SBD-2, as seen in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. These are finished in overall light gray, with white codes. Both are from VMSB-232, with one coded 2-B-6 and the other coded 2-MB-2. Both have the small fuselage roundels.

All three of these sheets are well done and represent some interesting schemes for your Trumpeter Dauntless kit. My thanks to Meteor Productions for the review samples.

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