To recapitulate my work on the Dauntless plans, I decided to draw all the external differences between its subsequent Navy versions. Because of the numerous changes that occurred in the SBD-5, I decided to split this description into two posts. This is the part one, the part two (about the SBD-5 and the SBD-6) will be ready in the next week.
NOTE: All airplanes on the drawings below are equipped with the small tail wheel with solid rubber tire (for carrier operations). However, for ground airfields Douglas provided alternate, pneumatic, two times larger wheel. These tail wheels could be easily replaced in workshops.
Starting from the beginning: here is the SBD-1, the first of the Douglas Dauntless series (Figure 10‑1):
During previous weeks I was working on the bottom view and other details of the SBD Dauntless. For example — I added a modified side view that reveals the engine and the cowling hidden under the NACA ring (Figure 9‑1):
Drawing the vertical views (from the top and bottom) of the SBD Dauntless was more difficult than the side view, because there were no “vertical” photos which you can use to verify and enhance the available plans.
In my previous post you can find the updated scale plans of the SBD-5 Dauntless, consisting the side and top views. The ultimate shape of depicted airplane resulted from matching my initial drawings against the Douglas general arrangement diagram. I couldn’t do it before, because this diagram comes from the Dauntless maintenance manual, which I received in previous week.
In this post I will show you how I do such a matching using the diagram shown below:
This Monday I finally got the “Instructions for the Erection and Maintenance of the Model SBD-6 Airplane” book – more than 600 pages about the Dauntless, published by Douglas in March 1944. Because of the lengthy title, I will refer to this book as the “SBD Maintenance Manual” or the “Douglas manual”. In spite that it describes the last produced version, it is also usable for the earlier models: as I mentioned in one of the previous posts, the SBD-1 airframe behind the firewall differs only in a few details (the double gun mount, gunsight type, lack of the YAGI antennas) from the SBD-6.
Inside you can find the SBD-6 general arrangement drawings, as well as the stations diagram (Figure 6-1):
In this post I will show you how do I create Dauntless side views. First I used the “semi-orthogonal” photo of the SBD-5 as the reference to draw the side view of this version (Figure 4-1). This is the most important picture, because it provides reliable “general reference”:
Before I start a new model, I collect its photos — as many as I can find everywhere: in the books, magazines, on the Internet. Some of these photos are high-quality, detailed photos of restored airplanes. One of them is this this high-resolution photo from the web page of Chino Planes of Fame Air Museum (Figure 2 1):
This is a special photo: it was made from a long distance using “telescope” lens, which minimized the perspective barrel distortion. The airplane on this picture lowered its right wing, so its bottom parts are slightly shifted downward, but except this area it is a perfect reference!