by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Originally published on:
Long ago in a distant land ("Hamilton!" Ohio -- yes, that is how they spelled it on all municipal signs) I ventured into a hobby shop and found this SB2U Vindicator. I had never found an injection-molded SB2U before and despite it being almost prohibitively priced (at the time) at $22, I had to have it! First In A Series the box proclaimed! It was exciting. When I got it home and opened the box the happy excitement ended. I tried to get my money back but was rebuffed. Thus began my unfinished journey with my first multimedia model.
Chance-Vought commenced building the SB2U Vindicator in 1936. It was flown by the United States Navy and Marine Corps, the French Navy Aeronavale as the V-156-F, and the Royal Navy who acquired them from a French order after the fall of France. In the RN it was known as the Chesapeake.
In combat French Vindicators fought against the Germans and Italians in 1940. United States SB2Us attacked the Japanese during the Battle of Midway. SB2Us were mauled everywhere and regulated to rear echelon units. The RN quickly replaced it with the Fairey Swordfish!
There were 260 examples of all Vindicator variants produced, and a single example is preserved at the National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola.
One of the early cottage industry model makers, Meikraft Models offered models of subjects overlooked by mainstream manufacturers. They were what is now known as multimedia. I read that Meikraft Models was a one-man operation, and that it ended when the owner passed away. With a slogan of something like The models you want, for modelers by modelers Meikraft Models held great excitement. The box proclaimed many options.
I do not know how many kits Meikraft actually released nor how long it was in business. Some 1/72 models released were:
• SPAD XIII
• Lloyd 40.15 Triplane
• Albatros D1/DII
• Pfalz DIII/DIIIa
• Caproni Ca-3
• F6U-1 Pirate
• D558-1 Skystreak
• Hansa Brandenburg W-29
• Piper Cub
Meikraft SB2U Vindicator
This is not an analytical review. The model is too old, I started it long ago, and the photos can speak for themselves.
Meikraft tried to make the model very detailed with recessed panel lines (or did I scribe those?) and raised detail where appropriate. He just did not have the technology. He did try and it appears he tried hard to make a great model.
The model is covered with severe flash and seam lines. The parts are thick. The mold halves did not always line up. Surface detail is all over the map. This model needs lots of work.
It is an interesting model because it was engineered with options:
• Cowling with open or closed cowl flaps
• wings extended or folded
• one-piece or multi-piece canopy
• wing interior decals
• brass etched instrument panel with film instrument dials
Alas, the cockpit interior is sparse and soft. The Pratt & Whitney R-1535 Twin Wasp Junior radial engine is horrible. As are most of the parts. The fuselage looks reasonable but I spent a lot of time cleaning it up. The extended wings are actually decent.
The highlight of the kit are the Super Scale decals for a single pre-war aircraft.
This model is why I avoided multimedia models for so long. You can find them at model shows and on-line old plastic model kit sites. Meikraft tried to make a good model. With the optional parts it was a great concept! Unfortunately Meikraft just did not pull it off. This is definitely a model for those of you who want a serious undertaking. Now that there are several 1/72 and 1/48 SB2Us to choose from, why bother attempting it, other than for bragging rights?