Tracing Aircraft Skin Details: Center Wing and the Fuselage

This week I continue mapping the SBD-5 Dauntless skin panels onto my model. After tracing the outer wing sections, described in the previous post, I traced the center wing section (Figure 65‑1):

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Figure 65-1 Traced panels on the center wing

As you can see in the picture, I also traced the contours of the wheel bay on the wing surfaces. (These openings disappear, when you enter mesh edit mode, because they are dynamically created by Boolean modifiers. Thus such contours will be useful during further work, because in this way you can see these edges while editing the mesh).

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Modeling the Empennage (1)

The horizontal tailplane has similar structure to the wing — but it is simpler. Thus I started it in the same way as the wing, by forming its root airfoil (Figure 32‑1):

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Figure 32-1 Modeling the root airfoil of the horizontal tailplane

In the most of the aircraft the tailplane has a symmetric airfoil. So it was in the Dauntless. I did not find its signature (family) in any of the reference materials, thus I carefully copied its contour from the photos (its rear part — the elevator — seems to have modified shape, anyway). It has incidence angle of 2⁰, so I rotated the rib object and used a Mirror modifier to generate its bottom part.

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Modeling the Center Wing

On the first glance the SBD center wing section seems to be a simple rectangular (i.e. constant chord) wing, with modified leading edge (Figure 18‑1):

Figure 18-1 Center wing section — the basic shape
Figure 18-1 Center wing section — the basic shape

However, the landing gear openings visible on the photo can be difficult to recreate in a mesh smoothed by the subdivision surface modifier.

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Differences between Dauntless Versions (SBD-5 and SBD-6)

In this last post about scale plans I will write about the modifications introduced in the SBD-5 Dauntless version.

For the reference, I placed below the drawing of the previous version: the SBD-4 (Figure 11‑1):

Figure 11-1 The previous SBD version (SBD-4 — described in the previous post)
Figure 11-1 The previous SBD version (SBD-4 — described in the previous post)

(See the high-resolution SBD-4 left & top view).

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Differences between Dauntless Versions (SBD-1…4)

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):

Figure 10-1 First version (SBD-1, built: 57, since May 1939)
Figure 10-1 First version (SBD-1, built: 57, since May 1939)

(See the high-resolution SBD-1 left & top view).

Continue reading Differences between Dauntless Versions (SBD-1…4)

My Drawings of the SBD: the Bottom View and Other Updates

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):

Figure 9-1 The SBD-5: side and bottom views
Figure 9-1 The SBD-5: side and bottom views

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How Did I Draw the Top View of the SBD Dauntless

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.

Anyway, I started using everything I could, for example some photos from the restoration done by the Pacific Aviation Museum (Figure 8‑1):

Figure 8-1 Drawing the fuselage and the center wing section
Figure 8-1 Drawing the fuselage and the center wing section

Continue reading How Did I Draw the Top View of the SBD Dauntless

Checking Scale Plans against a General Arrangement Diagram

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:

Figure 7-1 General Arrangement Diagram of the SBD-6, March 1944 (it also applies to the SBD-5)
Figure 7-1 General Arrangement Diagram of the SBD-6, March 1944 (it also applies to the SBD-5)

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My Drawings of the SBD: the Top View and Other Updates

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):

Figure 6-1 The SBD-6 drawings from the Douglas manual
Figure 6-1 The SBD-6 drawings from the Douglas manual

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