Encore 1/72 C-45 Expeditor/Model 18

KIT #: 72102
PRICE: $19.99 MSRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Upgraded Pioneer 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 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.


As you probably know, Encore kits are previously released kits that have upgrade resin parts and new decals added to the kit. The resin in this kit is superbly done and really take care of the problems of the PM C-45, which mostly are concerning the shape of the engines. There is another C-45 kit in this scale by Hobbycraft, but it is even more in need of work. The PM kit is a perfect choice as it is already nicely molded with engraved detail similar to what you find on the new Airfix kits.

The kit has no cabin, but does have a fairly  nice cockpit with a pair of seats, control wheels and center console. There is also a bulkhead behind the cockpit and a nice instrument panel with raised detail. The seats and instrument panel are resin with belts molded on the seats. A new resin exterior door is also provided in case you'd want to replace the one on the kit (which is pretty much devoid of detail).

The biggest improvement on the kit are the replacement engines and cowlings. These have the proper cowling shape and provide new engine faces with separate cylinders. There is also a three part resin prop with a new hub and two blades. These are butt joined. A new exhaust is also supplied. Typical of some of the new Encore kits, this one has complete replacement flight control surfaces. One has the option of a vacuformed or injected plastic windscreen. A new pair of resin wheels completes the parts list.

Instructions are in full color with FS 595 color references. As one has to cut away many of the kit parts to use the resin bits, the instructions show you exactly what needs to be removed. There are markings for two planes. One is the box art plane in Olive Drab over Neutral Grey in a 1941 color scheme. The other is a civilian plane in dark blue with white trim and roof. This is an Australian civil scheme. The decals are superbly printed without any errors. For those wanting options, Squadron Products has issued two aftermarket sheets in the Superscale line for this kit.


Considering all you get in this kit, it is very much worth the money. The C-45 is a favorite of many and now we have a much more accurate boxing than has been available before. I'm sure you will be pleased with the kit.



October 2010

Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local shop or on-line retailer.

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