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In-Box Review
172
SB2U Vindicator
SB2U Vindicator
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]


Originally published on:
AeroScale

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.

SB2U Vindicator

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.[1]

Meikraft Models

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.

Decals

The highlight of the kit are the Super Scale decals for a single pre-war aircraft.

Summary

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?

[1] Wikipedia
SUMMARY
Highs: With the optional parts it was a great concept. Super Scale decals.
Lows: Poor molding, horrible flash, weak detail, bad fit. Only one decal option.
Verdict: Now that there are several 1/72 and 1/48 SB2Us to choose from, why bother, other than for bragging rights? Only worth having as a collectible. I still want my money back!
Percentage Rating
20%
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: 1
  Suggested Retail: $22
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Mar 08, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 86.98%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 20.00%

About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)
FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2017 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Greetings all, Here is the deal. I knew John Meikranz. He lived in the Dallas area and loved models. So much so it eventually over took him and created hardships in his life. I had the Pfalz D.III / IIIa and Albatros D.I / II kit in his line. By the standards of the day an what was available in injected mouldings and noting they were slush moulded, its easy to compare them to today's highly detailed kits and see the vast gulf of workmanship that Computer Controlled Castings have given us today. Its good to look back on these kits of the past and fully appreciate where we are today. Remember folks these kits literally came from a one man operation.
MAR 08, 2011 - 11:59 PM
I have a Meikraft Models 1/72 Grumman FF-1. The kit will definately require all of my attention, but the large parts are actually not bad, although I will probably have to replace a lot of the small parts. It is the only 1/72 FF-1 kit I know of so it does at least give me a decent start. As Stephen says, these kits do make you appreciate what we have today when many limited run kits now challenge the quality of older mainstream kits. I don't know if all of these were actually made but the instructions list the following kits from Meikraft: Vought SB2U, Piper L-4, Albatros D.I/D.II, Seversky P-35/P-35A, Hansa-Brandenberg W.29, B.E.2c, Douglas D.558-1 Skystreak, and the Grumman FF-1. There is a reference to the April 1988 issue of Skyways in the instructions, so the kit is not as ancient as I expected.
MAR 10, 2011 - 04:09 AM
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