My most recent build was my first attempt at airbrushing the 1943-44 tricolor U.S. Navy camouflage. The subject was a Matchbox SB2C-1 Helldiver. The kit dates from 1974, and my version was the 1992 box, which surprised me a little because I think got it not long after that. (Most of my unbuilt kits have been sitting for a quarter century, unfortunately. If they were't obsolete then, they sure are now).
The kit itself is awful, and not just by current standards. Bert Kinzey's Detail & Scale on the SB2C released in 1997 hated it, but pointed out that it was the only 1/72 kit in the aircraft's original -1/-1C configuration. And it was in that configuration that the deeply flawed aircraft first saw service on carriers. Jocko Clark bounced it off the new Yorktown during its shakedown cruise in 1943 in favor of the tested SBD, and it didn't see combat until later that year flying from the Bunker Hill. By the end of the war, the aircraft had been revised into far more successful -3/-4/-5 variants, externally marked by perforated dive brakes and a 4-bladed propellor. But if you want the original "Beast", this kit is it. or at least was as of 1997, when I picked it up for five or six bucks.
This particular kit came with decals for the early Bunker Hill aircraft as well as aircraft 45 of VB-2 on the new Hornet in 1944 (aircraft 114 shown below). I decided to use the latter markings, but unfortunately could not find much about the individual aircraft of VB-2 during its time on the Hornet, so I don't have pilot & gunner information, or even a reliable set of dates for when VB-11 replaced it with the newer -3 variant late in 1944. There is a good article on another model Helldiver from VB-2 recognizing its participation in the "Mission into Darkness" during the Battle of the Philippine Sea in June 1944.
The only modification I made to the kit was to add leading-edge slats (like flaps) to the front of the wings using sheet plastic. The Helldiver had such a high stall speed – unacceptable in carrier operations – that its designers had to increase its wing size by about 10%. One of the ways they did was by having these leading edge slats come out whenever the landing gear was lowered. So it's not accurate to model the aircraft without the slats extended if it's in a parked position.
The kit is primitive – with the working folding wings (which unfortunately won't fold past vertical) it's probably the worst 1/72 aircraft I've completed – but it was simple, I wanted to try out my skills on airbrushing the three-color camouflage scheme before I built my next aircraft – a 1944 George Bush TBF torpedo bomber. And I really enjoyed learning about the operational history of the SB2C. It's a very interesting aircraft!