About My "Tactics & Strategy"

Let me preface this section by stating up front that I make no claims to be an expert on building RC Warbirds by any stretch of the imagination. In fact this project is my first warbird, my first gas plane, first giant scale, first retract bird... and the list goes on. So, I relied heavily on the advice and support of many RC friends and especially on the seemingly unlimited resources available on RC Universe and other internet resources.

So with that said, I'll add that many of the techniques I show in this site were not of my own design, most of them are tried and true techniques that warbird experts of many years have been using and passed on to me. I competed successfully for many years in IPMS (plastic) scale modeling, so the scale research, detail, etc. portion comes to me quite naturally. It's the RC side of things that I needed a lot of guidance on. I've built a fair share of glow and electric planes, which you can see here in the tompierce.net site, but never anything of this magnitude!

Now let's get on with my SBD story...

About the Plans and the Sticks

After deciding that the SBD Dauntless was the plane I wanted to build, I looked around for what plans were available in various scales. I knew that I wanted to build from plans, not a kit, and I wanted a gas bird. The Ziroli 1/5 scale plans seemed to be a no-brainer with their reputation, but I found that Jerry Bates had a set of plans for both a 1/5 scale 100" SBD as well as a 1/5.5 scale 85" version.

For many reasons I won't go into right now, I decided that I would rather go with the 85" version from Bates. One of the main reasons was that I was able to find a "second-hand" set of plans for 85" plane, along with laser-cut wood (All American Kit Cutters), a canopy and a glass cowl all for a great savings over buying them new. It was a deal that I couldn't afford to pass on, so I took it.

Important Note

Throughout this site I've made a few references to what I consider to be errors in the plans I used to build from. In all fairness, the plans I'm working from were published in 1993 and may have been corrected on subsequent printings. I spoke with Jerry Bates after nearly finishing the building phase of the project and he sent me the latest plans. Guess I should have done so earlier in the project!

Also, the plans I'm using call for a Quadra 42 engine, mechanical retracts, etc., and may also have been updated since, to incorporate more up-to-date hardware.

That brings me to another little story... the person I purchased it all from had already started building up the fuse and stopped midway into it. When the box arrived with everything in it, I found the fuse to be totally destroyed in transit from Florida to Ohio. The fuse was a total loss, but everything else seemed fine. So, I bought the wood required to rebuild the fuse and started making mylar templates of all the formers (from the Bates plans) and recut all the fuse material. Once I got all my pieces recut, and I had a basic "kit" now in hand, I proceeded to start putting glue to my SBD.