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C-45F Kit

Hobbycraft 1/72 C-45F Expeditor Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review April 2009 Manufacturer Hobbycraft
Subject C-45F Expeditor Scale 1/72
Kit Number HC1388 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice liaison, utility duties type aircraft. Easy build Cons Flaps and rudders molded solid. No wheel well detail. U.S. Navy scheme, shown in instructions, conficts with box art. British roundels in multiple decals
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

C-45F Kit
C-45F Kit
C-45F Kit
C-45F Kit

The Beechcraft Model 18, or "Twin Beech", as it was better known, is a 6-11 place, twin-engine, low-wing, conventional-gear aircraft that was manufactured by the Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas. This model saw military service during and after World War II in a number of versions including the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) C-45 Expeditor, AT-7 Navigator, AT-11 Kansan; and for the United States Navy (USN), UC-45J Navigator and the SNB-1 Kansan. The aircraft was also used by the RAF. The C-45F (subject of this model kit) was a standardized 7-seat version based on the C-18S, with a longer nose than preceding models. 1,137 were ordered. It was later re-designated as the UC-45F.

The Beech 18 is the most modified U.S.-certified aircraft design, with over 200 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) on record for the aircraft. The aircraft's uses have included aerial spraying, sterile bug release, fish seeding, dry ice cloud seeding, aerial firefighting, airborne mail pick up and drop, ambulance service, numerous movie productions, skydiving, freight, gun- and drug-smuggling, engine test bed, skywriting and banner towing. A number of Model 18s were operated as passenger aircraft; the Model 18 was the first aircraft flown by Philippine Airlines, Asia's first and oldest airline. Many are now in private hands as prized collectibles.

HobbyCraft Canada is a model company based in Ontario, Canada.

The kit comes in a tray and lid type box. The boxart shows a C-45F in US Navy markings. It is in a scheme of midnight blue above a light blue below. It carries US stars in blue circle over a white horizontal stripe on the fuselage sides and above the starboard wing and below the port wing. Antenna, and propeller blades and spinners are black. U.S. NAVY is behind the fuselage insignia in white letters. It is shown flying along over a heavy cloud cover and is signed by the artist R. Bothan.

The two side panels of the box are identical. They say that the kit was fabricated in South Korea, have a one paragraph history of the aircraft in 5 languages (including English) and HobbyCraft’s address in Canada.

Inside the box are 2 light gray trees of parts and 1 clear parts tree in a sealed cello bag. The decal sheet and instructions complete the kit’s contents.

The instructions consist of a single sheet that accordion folds out into 6 pages.

Page 1 begins with a black and white repeat of the boxart. This is followed by one paragraph histories again in the 5 languages. At the bottom of the page are international assembly symbol explanations and HobbyCraft’s address again.

Page 2 begins with READ THIS BEFORE YOU BEGIN instructions in 3 languages (including English). This is followed by the first 2 assembly step illustrations.

Pages 3 & 4 give the balance of a total of 7 assembly steps.

Page 5 has a 3-view marking and color scheme drawing for a JRB-4 of the U.S. Navy 1944. It is called out as overall midnight blue, which contradicts the color box art where the aircraft is shown with light blue below that extends halfway up the sides of the fuselage. The propeller blade tips are shown as white on these illustrations, but on the box art they appear to be yellow. The serial number 44511 is in small numbers high on the rudders. Antenna, propellers and spinners are black and there are black anti-icing boots on the forward edge of the horizontal tail surfaces.

Page 6 has a 3-view marking and color scheme drawing for a Beechcraft Expeditor Mk.II of the RCN, 1944. It is in a scheme of Dark Green (FS 34102) above Neutral Gray (FS36118) below. There is a vertical stripe of the Neutral Gray that spans the entry door on the side of the fuselage. British roundels (red center on white circle with dark blue outer ring edged in yellow) are on the sides of the fuselage. The roundels on the upper and lower wings are minus the yellow edge. A red horizontal propeller warning stripe is on  the sides of the nose. Behind the fuselage roundel is the code BAE. Although it is shown as black on these drawings, it is white on the decal sheet.  Behind the fuselage code is the serial number 143 in small black letters. The British tri-color is on the forward part of the rudders. The propellers are black, with yellow tips. They are minus spinners and their hubs are probably bare metal. The Antennas are black along with black anti-icing boots on both the wing leading edges and the horizontal tail surfaces.

The first light gray parts tree holds: the dashboard (with raised instrument detail), cockpit cabin floor, control yokes, seats and supports, horizontal tail surfaces, twin rudders, cowlings, engines, propeller spinner, landing gear legs and wheels, landing gear doors, exhaust pipes, tailwheel and it’s doors, the fuselage halves and antennas. (41 parts) There are 2 pitot tubes on this tree, but they are not called out in any of the instruction illustrations, so excess.

The second light gray parts tree holds the wing halves and propellers.(6 parts)

Panel lines are all engraved. The ailerons, elevators and the rudders are all molded solid and would take surgery to pose them otherwise. There are no walls to the wheel wells, just the open holes in the lower wing. Those of us with AMS might want to further panel these out inside.

The clear parts tree holds the cockpit transparency, fuselage side windows and wing light lenses. There is one part that appears to me to be a dorsal observation dome bubble. This is not shown anywhere on the instructions, so probably is excess. (8 parts)

The decal sheet completes the kit’s contents. HobbyCraft has printed the British roundels that you have to BUILD them. The fuselage ones are separate red centers, blue circles with white center and yellow edges. This means 3 decals on top of each other. The wing roundels are as 2 separate decals, minus the outer edge yellow ones. I don’t look forward to putting these together and just picture a disaster waiting to happen trying to do so. Bad move HobbyCraft. They are leaving it up to the modeler to get the registration of these marks straight…sigh.

The kit has few parts, so well within the building capabilities of the average modeler. There is no cabin interior detail and little inside would be viewable through the small windows there anyway. Recommended.