Builds 1/32 Douglas Dauntless SBD5 from Trumpeter

This is the build thats getting me back into modelling after a a two year break cause of the worky thing. According to the various review of the kit that are out there on the modelling forums, its reputed to be the best mould Trumpeter have done to date. The kit goes together well, but its a bit pricey I thought. I tend to pick up my stuff from WaltBay and try and avoid new kit purchases.
So I'm in the final stages of finishing this and haven't saved all of the snaps I've taken along the way, so the build is going to jump around a bit. I will take piccies of some of the tools and materials I've used along the way if anyone wants to get some hints and tips. I'd just add there are way better modellers out there than me, but I've improved steadily over the last few years. There's plenty on the web to read on hints and tips for painting, gluing etc.


Applying Varnish

The plane is now at a stage where its heading into finishing - once you get the thing painted, its not the end. You need to protect the exterior from dust, finger prints, small kids etc, so the best way to do that is to seal everything, and the best material to seal things with is varnish. Varnish is used extensively by modellers - me included when I can be arrsed.

so.. Fixing decals and varnish.


Those of you old enough will remember bulling DMS - hot spoons and elbow grease, then the smart arrses who used floor polish.

The bottle of pledge is floor polish. You can pick it up in tesco or sainsbury's for a couple of quid and apply it with a paint brush or airbrush. Its self levelling and ace for shiny finishes on DMS, Boots combat high and plastic models. Its probably not so hot for turdy brown boots however with shirts hanging out.

Before you apply decals, apply 2-3 coats of gloss varnish to all surfaces. Leave a couple of hours between coats and I leave it 48 hours to cure before applying decals. The base coats you apply before fixing decals are GLOSS VARNISH. Not Satin or Matt varnish, GLOSS varnish. Get that?

Fixing Decals

When you are applying decals, you have a couple of options which are to apply them like you used to when you were a nipper by sticking them in water, or to go for a more professional finish. The later is inexpensive and easy to do and you can use Micro Sol and Micro Set which are as good as any of the decal fixing materials out there.


The model above has a combination of decals - the Starts and Bars are painted on as the decals shipped with the kist were massive and the wrong colour, so they had to go. All the smaller decals, like the 45 and the various warnings or indicators are the decals from the kit.

To apply them you cut them out with a few mm clearance around the decal, then stick it in warm water for between 10-20 seconds. Whilst the decal in in the water, pains the areas you intend to stick it on with the blue solution. This fixes the decal to the surface. Once you have the decal in place, wipe off the excess with a cotton bud. You can use the bud the press down the decal also to make sure its fixed. Once you have mopped up the excess you paint the decal with the red bottle. That basically melts the decals into shape if it needs to bend to fit any contours. Mop off the excess with a DIFFERENT cotton bud and DONT use the same bush for the red and blue fluids - use two different brushes.


if you look at the 4 and 5 you will see the rivets - the red micro sol melted the decal into shape.

Once you have applied all of your decals, you give the whole thing one last coat of GLOSS VARNISH (floor polish), then you are ready to go into the final stages to finish the thing.
Painting your own Decals


Whilst this is a great kit the decals are shite - wrong colour insignia blue is what various commentators on the hinterweb have said. if you read wikepedia however, the comments passed are various shades were used, so I am not of the view the modelling community were talking shite. That said, I still would have painted these rather than use the decals as they are just too big and not very good quality.

Frogtape - the mutts and a skin diver from homebase, B&Q etc. Thats the stuff you want to get for modelling.

IMG_1723 2.jpg

so I covered the decals, and what you do is basically run a sharp modelling knife along a steel ruler (and by hand for the circles) and cut the shape out, then stick it on the plane. Its a bit of a pain but focuses the mind and its a good result if you get it right.

IMG_1725 2.jpg

IMG_1727 2.jpg

IMG_1747 2.jpg


I had a few corrections do do on one or two to tidy up edges

IMG_1755 2.jpg

but the overall effect is good. You could do all of the bigger ones like this, but I opted to use the decals for the plane identifier (the number).


I've always been a big fan of Halfords finest (grey primer). Its a tenner for a can and it covers a lot of surface. On this one however, I had a change of heart and went with a black primer form Vallejo.



there are arguments for and against both approaches (grey or black) - on balance I think I prefer the black. the problem with grey is it has to be covered. The advantage black has is if you dont cover it, it looks like shaddows, and you can create a shaddow effect when painting with it, which is what I did. Black gets my vote for planes anyway.

\Vallejo Model Air Black Surface Primer 73.602, 60ml Airbrush Paint 8429551736015 | eBay

here it is. Not very politically correct, but they are foreign:) . Small tip - I'd generally only paint vallejo paints onto of vallejo primer - in other words use the same manufacturer throughout on the model as the paint varies and sometimes you may find a reaction between different manufacturers paint mixes, which aint good if it f@@ks up as you have to strip it back.

Painting on a base coat


if you look at the shades here, you should notice some areas are darker than others.


So how its applied if you use a light grey first and apply it in random circular motions with the airbrush on low pressure and held near the model so you apply in fine lines. Dont fill it all in and try and cover the whole area so its all solid grey as a sheet, cause what you are going to do is the same think in white. You will end up with a mottled effect, with the black showing through underneath almost like a shadow. Works well. I will do this again. The paint looks aged and exposed to the elements
Great guide there Si
Metal Effects


Now there are different ways of achieving metal effects - you can but dull aluminium, chrome etc from all the main paint manufacturers, but IMHO this is the best stuff there is. You apply the metal effects Alclad to a gloss black base. Its a utter twat to apply as its got the consistency of water, but when on, its the mutts.

I've used it for the exhausts. if you decide to have a crack at this I'd strong recommend you have a go on old spruce or bits of plastic before having a crack at a model.


This finishes in hot metal would you believe!!


Once I'm done, I'll apply some rust to these to finish em off
Back to Weathering

So the planes took a hammering in the Pacific, which this shot illustrates quite nicely


and to create that effect, you need to use oils, so the best oil there is about in my experience is this one


This is light grey. I'll use white, grey, burnt umbre and yellow. The mid section is being done with the grey


so you dab it one then work it in. There is no right way to do this - its about getting the effect right. What you will see is the gloss varnish finish go and be replaced with this


you can see the difference



its a pain in the arrse but worth it


it doesn't really matter where you start - its all got to be done. I'll do the upper surfaces in oils and the lower surfaces with the panel wash. Once done it will need to stand for about a week for the oils to go off, so there is probably two weeks graft to crack it from now til the finish
last shots until the upper surfaces are done as you should get the picture. The next ones will have the yellow, burnt umbre and white applied also.


made a start on the leading edge. If you look at how stark the contrast is between the blue and the aluminium, the grey oil breaks it down and makes the wear look more natural - I hope. Then again I could be talking utter shite.

Right then - cracked on with the oils a bit. One of the problems with a plane of this size is exactly that - its size. Smaller scales (this is 1/32nd) are more straight forward to weather as there is less of em. This is big. The wing surface area is mahoosive, so if you put too much oil paint on it looks like a white sheet, and plain stupid. The key is breaking up the mass of blue without over or under doing it. So as mummy bear said, its got to be just right.


So this piccie illustrates the vast expanse of wing, and how I am going about breaking up the blue.


The fuselage is a lot more straight forward because of its shape and the fact that sits already broken up with two shades of blue.


so you can see I'm trying to get the panel lines and retain some of the centre panel shade


and thats achieved with a stubbie brush - notmal one cut down basically to a stump and good old Q tips




Its going to take a few nights at this. The worst thing you can do with something like this is try and do it all in one go as there is a risk of over doing it. Better to do a bit and come back and reassess it. You can always do more if you havent done enough.
Why gloss varnish then decals and not decals then gloss varnish?
Why gloss varnish then decals and not decals then gloss varnish?

The first coats are there to seal in the paint job so it doesn’t get damaged. The gloss is also a good surface for the decals to be applied to with the micro sol solutions. The last coat is to seal and protect the decals.
The first coats are there to seal in the paint job so it doesn’t get damaged. The gloss is also a good surface for the decals to be applied to with the micro sol solutions. The last coat is to seal and protect the decals.
To add to Si's point, part of the protection lies in forming a barrier when using other coatings, such as oil paint over acrylic as in this case, or when carrying out washes, normally, you'd use enamel based washes over acrylics and vise versa, they can react badly
Just to add once you’ve finished weathering on top of that final gloss coat, you apply a Matt or satin coat to seal everything in
so one side is done with the grey - just yellow and brown to do



and in contrast to the shiny side, which looks like this still


Hopefully I will crack this side tomoz
Panel Lines

Loads of stuff available for these and in different colours. I quite like the mig stuff


So you basically paint it on, leave it for about 45 minutes then dip a Q tip in turps, wipe off the excess from the Q tip then wipe off the excess panel line wash.


I'll have to go over some of these with the grey oils as well so it should be a combination of grey and the blue black panel wash...... hopefully...............
so what you end up with is basically this

Middle section done and the nose

IMG_1988 2.jpg
That's a really good step by step Si. I don't know how you have the patience (or space for that matter) to tackle subjects in this scale. AFV's are big enough but these buggers are bloody huge!
That's a really good step by step Si. I don't know how you have the patience (or space for that matter) to tackle subjects in this scale. AFV's are big enough but these buggers are bloody huge!
Cheers @brewmeister - I've got neither. God knows where this is going to go - everything I've done is in boxes.

Cracked on a bit but packing in for the night as there is always a danger you end up overdoing it.


Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 21.01.54.png

Nice b/w illustrating undersurface wear and tear

Similar threads

Latest Threads