Hope you are all enjoying a fine Sunday. Just picked this up recently and chose Best over McClusky's version. This mold has been round for ages now, but hasn't seen much love recently. HM have deliberately cut down on their 1/72 WW2 releases, so occasions like this where the film gives them the idea for a few releases are going to be few and far between.
For some reason, the whole box now comes in a sleeve, which is a bit tricky to remove.
Most of your probably know all about Richard Best and the facts about him in last year's movie were fairly accurate, even if Ed Skrein’s accent and permanent smirk were like nails on a chalkboard. McClusky’s decision to keep searching and follow the Arashi
back to the Japanese fleet was a more important decision and was a key reason why the battle was won and the tide of war in the Pacific would change. But Best’s decision to go after the Akagi
rather than following all the other Enterprise SBD’s ganging up on the Kaga
probably still had quite an impact. It’s possible with two carriers the Japanese air groups could have found a window to take down more than just the Yorktown
However, if you look at the actual combat actions Best undertook on that one fateful day, I can’t think of any combatant inflicting more damage on the enemy during the entire war than sinking not just one, but two carriers. It’s not like you could take out an entire airfield and its aircraft or a tank platoon with just one bomb at the time!
It’s a testament to Best’s skill he was able to place his bombs so accurately. The Japanese carriers had been under attack for several hours already when the SBD’s arrived, but everything had missed. While a carrier may look like a big fat target up close, from 15,000-20,000 ft up when you start the dive, it’s only a small speck in the ocean, and one that moves unpredictably to boot. Your bomb run needs to be really on the money and aim for where the ship will be as you pull out of the dive, not where it is when you start. The Kaga
were far more heavily damaged initially and as a result the losses of sailors, aircrew and aircraft were much worse. It took quite a bit longer for the Japanese to realize the Akagi
was lost. When they did, they were able to get a lot more men off, but it was still a heavy blow. And certainly loosing their final operational carrier when the Hiryu
was bombed made the blow hard enough the IJN would never quite recover from it.
While the SBD wasn’t exactly quick, it was at least closer in speed to the Japanese equivalents than the hapless TBD
Devastators and crucially it had weapons that worked! It also had excellent dive breaks, could sustain plenty of G, was decently armed and ruggedly constructed.
Overall, the SBD mold is pretty good, but not sure how it stacks up against Corgi's. They certainly seem a bit too dark in comparison. HM did a Marine Corps Midway release way back, which I didn't really like as it was part of the land-based waves that missed their targets. And there was the Battle of the Coral Sea Yorktown one, which I figured was the best at the time. This one doesn’t have the panel washes of those earlier examples, but the colour is a bit lighter, even if it's still too dark. (my camera doesn't help) Parts don’t fit terribly well, but there are not many of them. The open canopy option also doesn’t really work as the parts are too thick. Dragon did this better. However, you can lower the bomb trapeze, which is pretty cool. Also, this one has open dive brakes only; a vertical stand would be awesome! Overall, pretty good and these are the ones to get as it’s unlikely there will be many more.