Road to Top Gun: SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber

Road to Top Gun: SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber

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



Updated: July 16, 2015 — 3:39 PM


  1. Where and when will the event be held?

    1. Lakeland Linder Airport, Lakeland, FL. April 30 – May 4.

  2. What a class act here. Love that plane.

  3. 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.

    1. 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. Awesome!

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

    1. 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. Beautiful airplane, nice job Bill and good luck at Top Gun ! 🙂

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

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

  10. Wonderful model.

    Why no in-flight pix showing wheels retracted?


    Chad Skaggs, Houston, Texas

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

  12. Im building a vq models A-24 Banshee army version of the dauntless. and need a little help. I’m not that familiar with programming radios.
    I’m using a spectrum Dx9 black and an Ar9350 with as3x reciever.
    Problem i’m having is I want to put landing flaps on a 3
    Position switch just for landing.
    I also want to put the speed brakes on a 3 position switch along with the flaps mixed in. So I only have to use a single switch for either operation.
    Can any one help me out?
    Again I managed to program the center flap, the problem is when I plug in the wing flap, the speed brake also is moving. Both surfaces are moving the correct way just when flap moves the speed brake also moves but about half of what the flap does.
    Thanks guys

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