Road to Top Gun: SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber

Feb 18, 2014 14 Comments by

This week’s ”Road to Top Gun” highlight focuses on Bill Steffes who is again competing at the 2014 Scale Invitational with his impressive Douglas SBD Dauntless dive-bomber. Bill has entered in the Team Scale category and will be competing with the SBD’s designer Nick Ziroli Sr., as his Team pilot. These two well-known Top Gun veterans are sure to give the rest of the Team entries a run for their money. Built completely from Nick Ziroli plans, the Dauntless is powered by a Brison 75cc gas engine, and is equipped with Futaba radio gear. The Pacific WW II warbird  is made completely from balsa and plywood, then covered with fiberglass cloth and resin. Lots of sanding and priming gives Bill’s dive-bomber a great finish for all the details to be added.


The SBD is detailed inside and out and it also features Robart retractable landing gear with Sullivan tires and Ziroli aluminum hubs. The Dauntless has a full ticket for mechanical features including, a functional bomb drop with swing-out arms, flaps and dive brakes. The 1/5-scale dive-bomber weighs in at about 32 pounds.DSC_7140_JPG



Featured News, Gerry Yarrish, Road to Top Gun 2014, Scale

About the author

Senior Technical Editor About Me: I have a lifelong passion for all things scale, and I love to design, build and fly scale RC airplanes. With 20 plus years as part of the Air Age family of magazines, I love producing Model Airplane News and Electric Flight.

14 Responses to “Road to Top Gun: SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber”

  1. Jack olcott says:

    Where and when will the event be held?

  2. chardesa says:

    What a class act here. Love that plane.

  3. Rick says:

    Absolutely beautiful! I’m on my first scale plane ,a Topflite 1/7 P-40. I would love to know if you have any suggestions on where to learn the art of scale detailing. i.e. rivets,weathering,hatches,panel lines and the like.I haven’t been able to find detailed descriptions on the procedures, just brief overviews.

    • Eric Brubaker says:

      Rick, Dave Platt has excellent videos on the processes you are interested in. You can find them on his website. They are packed with tips and info. Eric

  4. Orly G. Estocado says:


  5. John Sohm says:

    It’s great to see Bill back in the game. Congrats Bill and best of luck to you.

    • Gerry Yarrish says:

      Yes it is great seeing Bill getting involved again in scale competition. He actually competed with this plane last year in Team with Frank Tiano as his pilot.

  6. Garrie E. Taylor says:

    Beautiful airplane, nice job Bill and good luck at Top Gun ! :)

  7. isaac says:

    very nice plane!!!! wish i ould go!!!

  8. Steve Jernigan says:

    I consider myself something of a student of World War II, and the Battle of Midway in particular. As most know, the Dauntless was the difference-maker in that pivotal battle, successfully bombing and sinking all four of the major Japanese carriers. It is great to see this historic aircarft captured in such magnificent detail. Good job, Bill!

  9. David Pinegar says:

    Sorry to correct you Gerry, but my husband,David Pinegar was the pilot of Bill’s Dauntless at Top Gun last year :-)

  10. Chad Skaggs says:

    Wonderful model.

    Why no in-flight pix showing wheels retracted?


    Chad Skaggs, Houston, Texas

  11. Claudio Augusto Peixoto says:

    Queria poder encomendar um kit desse aqui no Brasil como que faço!Obrigado

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