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United States Marine Corps
SBD-1 Douglas Dauntless

1/48 scale


Yellow Wings Decals


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description:

48-011 Pre WWII 1940-41 United States Marine Corps SBD-1 Douglas Dauntless

Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: One decal sheet and comprehensive instructions.
Price: USD$9.46 available online from Squadron.com
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Outstanding history, reference and instructions; markings for up to 36 aircraft (partial); colour matches to Testor, Gunze and Tamiya model paint ranges; high quality printing of decals by Microscale; kit subject is actually available!
Disadvantages: National markings and squadron insignia must be sourced elsewhere
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

Yellow Wings 1/48 scale SBD-1 decals are available online from Squadron




The people at Yellow-Wings Decals have been busy of late and have released three new sheets.  As per their area of expertise, these new sheets provide markings for machines of the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps as they appeared in the so called "yellow-wing" era immediately prior to World War Two. 

How did this term evolve?  Quite simply, it was because the upper surfaces of the wings of their aircraft were painted in a bright orange-yellow.  The entire scheme however was a little more complex than just orange-yellow wings which, to my mind at least, makes them very distinctive and attractive. 

For the first time since their inception, Yellow-Wings Decals have issued sheets that have been made for an easily obtainable, easily constructed and highly detailed state of the art kit.  And that kit is?  The Accurate Miniatures Douglas SBD-1 Dauntless. 

Sheet 48-011 provides markings to enable you to model 12 Section Leader aircraft as well as 24 other machines of the United States Marine Corps VMB-1 (Marine Air Group 11) and VMB-2 (Marine Air Group 21).  So what do you get for your money?

  • The fuselage 'number-letter-number' ie. 1-MB-7, 2-MB-1.

  • Five sets of USMC titles (ten in all are provided but you need two per aircraft).

  • Aircraft designator i.e. SBD-1.

  • Individual Bureau numbers for 36 different machines.  Kudos to Yellow-Wings here as they could have just as easily supplied generic SBD-1 designators and individual numbers in a 0 though 9 format which would see you applying four very small individual decals to make up a Bureau number.

  • Wing numbers.

  • 'Battle Es' where appropriate six aircraft in a variety of sizes as well as eight further and smaller ones.

The markings for the Section Leader's machines are complete in that you get the number-letter-number as a one-piece decal as well as wing numbers.  The markings for the wingmen's machines though are -MB-, with their individual numbers provided on two strands of numbers - seven 1s, two 2s, two 3s, a singe 4, two 5s, two 6s, a single 7, two 8s, a single 9 and two 0s so you will have to cut them out individually, and apply them piecemeal. 

As with the other sheets I have seen from this company, the support material that accompanies this sheet is what makes Yellow-Wings Decals products excel.  There are four A-4 sized sheets (printed on both sides) accompanying the decals. . These sheets contain: 

  • Two placement guides one for the VMB-1 option and a further one for the VMB-2 option that show a left hand side profile line drawing of a generic machine, as well as a split top/bottom top view and a front-on view on the front of the page and what Yellow-Wings tell you is an exact reproduction of the painting and markings blueprint for the SBD-1 taken from Douglas Aircraft Company documentation to paint each aircraft by Bureau number and colours for each squadron i.e. what colour the fuselage bands, cowling fronts and wing chevrons were.  This sheet is basically a Rosetta Stone as it shows the letter-number-letter combination and colours that each (non-spare) machine by Bureau number originally wore.

  • A further A-4 sized sheet (printed on both sides) provides information on the disposition and delivery of all of the 57 SBD-1s of contract number 65969, as well as colour reference chart that provides matches of the colours used on the one-to-one scale examples to Testors Model Master, Tamiya and Gunze-Sangyo model paint ranges.  There is also a formula provided on how to mix Testor's model paint to make a more accurate orange-yellow.

As with the majority of the other aircraft-specific sheets produced by Yellow-Wings to date, you will need to find the national insignia and USMC insignia worn by the machines depicted on this sheet from other sources as they are not supplied on the sheet.  Yellow-Wings sheet 48-005 and/or 48-018 will supply the national insignia if you don't already have them in your decal stash whilst a visit to the Yellow-Wings Decals website reveals that they have a wing chevrons and fuselage bands sheet for the SBD-1/2 listed as "coming soon". 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The decals themselves have been printed by Microscale, which is arguably the best decal manufacturer in the world, bar none.  The supporting information as well as the decal sheets (there are two sheets, a full-size one as well as a smaller one) and a stiff cardboard header come packed in a clear plastic zip-loc bag. 

A great package from the people at Yellow-Wings Decals.  It provides excellent quality decals as well as complete historical background and information on the colours and markings worn by the SBD-1s used by the VMB-1 and VMB-2. 



If you want to see what a Yellow wing period Accurate Miniature SBD-1 looks like in model form head on over to their website at http://www.accurate-miniatures.com/builds/sbd/sbdbuild.htm and follow the on-line build.


Thanks to Yellow Wings Decals for the review samples.

Review Copyright 2005 by Rodger Kelly
This Page Created on 28 February, 2005
Last updated 28 February, 2005

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