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ICM Beechcraft C-45 Expeditor

Kit:48181 // Scale:1/48 // Price:$50.99
Long-overlooked subject; fine scribed detail; excellent fit; good clear parts
Some thin parts broken in the box; steps 15 through 24 are difficult
Injection-molded, 128 parts, decals

Derived from the classic Beechcraft Model 18, nicknamed Twin Beech, the C-45F, (later redesignated UC-45F) Expeditor served the U.S. Army Air Force as a military transport during and after World War II. Of more than 1,100 built, 26 were given to the French air force and 126 to the Italian air force in 1944-45.

The sturdy box contains gray and clear plastic sprues in separate resealable plastic bags, along with a 16-page instruction book and decals for four aircraft.

Assembly starts with the fuselage interior, so I carefully masked the clear parts inside and out before installation.

Steps 1 through 14 went smoothly, and there are no mold seam lines or flash to contend with.

In Step 15, I ran into problems. First, some of the scale-thin parts for the engine mount and landing gear had broken on the sprue. 

Then, both the engine mounts and landing gear required three or more parts to come together at the same time. This proved to be a struggle with only two hands, but after a little stress, blue language, and several tries, I got the mounts and struts installed.

The rest of the build went smoothly. I was concerned about the windshield, because it needed to fit between the nose and the roof. I was able to slide the windshield in from the side after carefully removing the masking tape from the inner surfaces.

To finish my C-45 as an American transport in England in 1944, I decanted Tamiya spray-can aluminum (TS-17) and airbrushed the airframe. The anti-glare panels are painted Testors Model Master olive drab; the leading edges, tires, propellers, and black stripes Floquil engine black. I masked and painted the invasion stripes.

I floated each thin, fragile decal off the backing paper into a puddle of water on the model, then maneuvered it into place and blotted away excess liquid. Microscale Micro Sol, carefully brushed only over the decals, settled them without silvering. I added antenna wires made from stretched clear sprue.

Measurements indicate that the C-45 is a fraction of an inch short in length and wingspan. It doesn’t matter to me; it looks like the aircraft I helped push into a hanger in Manitowoc, Wis., when I was 15. I’ve already bought another ICM Expeditor, and I can’t wait to put it together — I just have to figure out how I want it dressed.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the July 2015 FineScale Modeler.


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