Hobby Master HA2202 USN Curtiss SB2C-3 Helldiver Dive-Bomber - VB-18, USS Intrepid (CV-11), Battle of the Sibuyan Sea, October 1944 [Open Dive Brakes] (1:72 Scale)
"I once took off, and just after I left the deck my gunner, Russ Dustan, yelled "Hey George! Get this son of a bitch in the air!" and he pulled out his life raft because we were leaving a streak in the water behind us. I knew we were getting close. I was trying to scratch for altitude and get my gear up. When you're running out of speed and running out of room... it gets a little complicated at times."
- US Navy Ensign George Bomberger, pilot of a SB2C Helldiver aircraft aboard USS Franklin, late 1943
The Curtiss SB2C Helldiver was an American aircraft carrier-based dive bomber aircraft produced for the United States Navy during World War II. It replaced the Douglas SBD Dauntless in US Navy service. Despite its size, the SB2C was much faster than the SBD it replaced. Crew nicknames for the aircraft included the Big-Tailed Beast (or just the derogatory Beast), Two-Cee and Son-of-a-Bitch 2nd Class (after its designation and partly because of its reputation for having difficult handling characteristics).
Although production problems persisted throughout its combat service, pilots soon changed their minds about the potency of the Helldiver.
The large number (literally thousands) of modifications and changes on the production line meant that the Curtiss Helldiver did not enter combat until November 11th, 1943, with VB-17 on the USS Bunker Hill, when they attacked the Japanese-held port of Rabaul on the island of New Britain, north of Papua New Guinea. Even though the Helldiver entered U.S. Naval service, it still had such structural problems that the aircraft crews were forbidden to dive bomb in clean conditions (one of its main tasks). The SB2C-1 could deploy slats mechanically linked with undercarriage actuation extended from the outer third of the wing leading edge to aid lateral control at low speeds. The early prognosis of the "Beast" was unfavorable as it was strongly disliked by aircrews because it was much bigger and heavier than the SBD it replaced.
The litany of faults that the Helldiver bore included the fact that it was underpowered, had a shorter range than the SBD, was equipped with an unreliable electrical system and was often poorly manufactured. An oddity of the SB2Cs with 1942 to 1943-style tricolor camouflage was that the undersides of the outer wing panels carried dark topside camouflage because the undersurfaces were visible from above when the wings were folded.
Postwar, surplus aircraft were sold to the navies of France, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Thailand.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USN Curtiss SB2C-3 Helldiver dive-bomber that was operated by VB-18, then embarked upon the USS Intrepid during October 1944. Note: Dive brakes come in the opened position.
Release Date: December 2008
Historical Account "Sink the Musashi" - Commissioned on August 5th, 1942, the Japanese battleship Musashi proceeded to Truk Lagoon, where Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto made Musashi his flagship. After he was killed on April 18th, 1943, (having been shot down by a special U.S. Army Air Forces operation) in the Solomons theater of operations, Musashi returned to Japan carrying his ashes. Musashi returned to Truk on August 5th, 1943, and remained there until February 10th, 1944. Her only activity during this time was a sortie toward the Marshall Islands, which resulted in no contact with American forces. On March 29th, 1944, Musashi was hit by one torpedo from the submarine USS Tunny, and had to return to Japan for repairs and modifications to her anti-aircraft armament.
She formed part of Vice-Admiral Takeo Kurita's Centre Force along with Yamato at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. During this battle on October 24th, 1944, she was attacked in the Sibuyan Sea, just off the southeast tip of Luzon, by American carrier-based aircraft: first at 10:27 AM by eight SB2C Helldiver dive bombers from the USS Intrepid armed with 500-lb (227 kg) bombs. Wave after wave of American aircraft from the USS Intrepid, Essex, Franklin, and Lexington scored 17 bomb and 20 torpedo hits on her, and 18 near misses. Most of the ship's destruction was due to Air Group 15. This battle was the only time that Musashi had fired her guns in anger, using the San Shiki ("Beehive") Model 13 anti-aircraft shell.
The Musashi capsized to port, and sank at 7:25 PM on October 24th, taking more than 1,000 of her 2,399 crew with her; 1,376 of the crew were rescued by the destroyers Kiyoshimo and Shimakaze.