Curtis SBC Helldiver Biplane

Discussion in 'Dream Kits & Wish Lists' started by Jim Krauzlis, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

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    I was wondering if anyone out there is aware of a paper model of this aircraft, which is featured prominently in the original and now new "King Kong" movie? From what I have read, it's an early, between the wars US Navy divebomber, a biplane, not to be confused with the more famous WWII US Navy dive bomber which bears the same name.

    Looks like a sweet little plane, so I really hope someone has designed a paper model of her.

    Cheers!

    Jim
  2. Gil

    Gil Active Member

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    Jim,

    It's a Curtiss O2C-2 Helldiver. I don't believe anyone has produced a card model of it. Information is rather sketchy and 3 Views aren't available for free on the web. I agree that it would make a beautiful model.

    The pilot of one of the airplanes was James Dietz, the famed aviation artist who consulted on the film. Peter Jackson, the films director, is one of the machine gunners. So in a sense Peter shot his own Monkey...,

    -Gil
  3. cygielski

    cygielski Member

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  4. Gil

    Gil Active Member

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    Yes, I also found the low resolution 3 Views. I should have made it clearer by saying "detailed line drawings" as per the sample below.

    -Gil

    [​IMG]
  5. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

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    Gil,
    Being fairly ignorant about airplanes and the various types, is that picture you posted, the F8C-4, a variation of the Helldiver? It sure looks similar.

    Cheers!

    Jim
  6. Gil

    Gil Active Member

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    Jim,

    It is the airplane type used in the original and the latest remake by Peter Jackson. Several scenes were flown by the "Tophatters" Squadron on Long Island in the original with the rest being animated with models. Jackson remained true to the original and hired James Dietz as the pictures aviation authority. You'll notice in the current motion picture that the New York scenes are actually quite artful...,

    -Gil
  7. Jim Krauzlis

    Jim Krauzlis Active Member

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    Thanks, Gil:
    I noticed as I surfed around the web a bit that it appears the name "Helldiver" is used quite a bit in the 30's as the name for the observation/dive bombing aircraft for the Navy, despite the actual model of the airplane. That added to my confusion in trying to locate some information about the type used in the films.

    Someone suggested, I believe on the papermodels forum, that the Trotskiy model of the Japanese bi-plane trainer might be used to mock up this aircraft. I see some similarity with the cowling, but it would have to be modified a bit to match the fuselage and tail configuration, not to mention probably a few dozen other details...but, hey, it has two wings and an engine, so it's a start, right?:rolleyes:

    Sure wish someone with greater design skills than me (I have none) would try to design a model of this airplane.:-D

    BTW, where did you come up with that great excerpt of the fighter biplane F8C-4?

    Cheers!
    Jim
  8. Gil

    Gil Active Member

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    Jim,

    For some reason the naming conventions during this period were undergoing change. Seems that they couldn't decide between the observation "O" and the Fighter "F" designation. The planes ending designation ended up as O2C-2 even though it is remembered as the F8C-4 the plane that downed King Kong.

    The drawings were drawn by W.R. Wylam and are from the December 1963 issue of Model Airplane News. They're about the only really good drawings outside those in the Curtiss Archives in the Smithsonian. The drawings are availabe from Bob's Air Doc (www.bobsairdoc.com) order number (4)Sb 40182 F8C-4 Helldiver 2 seat biplane.

    -Gil

    P.S. The F8C-4 was the first Helldiver and whose perfomance convinced Ernst Udet to champion dive bombing back in Germany.
  9. 46rob

    46rob Member

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    The Navy didn't officially name any planes until WW2--until then it ws a manufacturer's thing. Most Voughts, for example were all Corsairs. Planes and squadrons were designated by mission. For example a JRB and SNB were both the Beech model 18--one used as a trainer the other as a utility transport. The same plane can have several different designations.
  10. k5083

    k5083 Member

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    Curtiss used the trademark Helldiver for all of its dive bombers from the 30s through the WW2 SB2C. Similarly it used the trademark Hawk for all of its "pursuit" types, from the biplanes of the 30s through the P-40 series of WW2, and Shrike for several different though related attack aircraft. The Army and Navy started adopting names for planes during WW2, partly for propaganda purposes and partly in a (silly) attempt to confuse an enemy who might intercept a communique as to exactly what sub-type of aircraft was being referred to. Anyway, the Army finally adopted "Hawk" for the P-36 (Hawk 75 to Curtiss) and "Warhawk" for the P-40 (P-40B/C = Hawk 81 to Curtiss = Tomahawk to British; P-40E-N = Hawk 87 to Curtiss = Kittyhawk to British, etc.) and the Navy officially adopted "Helldiver" only for the SB2C.

    US manufacturers differed in their use of trademarked airplane names during the 30s. Some, like Vought, gave several planes with the same mission the same name, as Curtiss did; others, like Boeing and Grumman, generally did not assign names until the war. Northrop and Lockheed generally assigned a new name to each type of civil or military aircraft (Northrop worked its way through the Greek alphabet for a while, while Lockheed picked names of stars and constellations).

    Bottom line, for this period, sometimes a name identifies a specific type of aircraft, other times it does not, depending on time period, manufacturer, and whether you are using the official military name or a company trade name.

    August