Kit No. HC 1389
Decals: Two versions – U.S. Air Force, Canadian Air Force
Comments: Engraved panel lines; no passenger cabin; interior consists of cockpit only
The Beech C-45 was one of the military versions of the Beech Model 18, a twin-engine, twin tail, low-wing transport and liaison aircraft that saw military service during and after World War II and up until the 1970’s. Initially ordered in 1940 in only small numbers, the Model 18 was ultimately employed in several configurations for both the U.S. Army Air Forces (C-45 Expeditor, AT-7 Navigator, and AT-11 Kansan) and for the U.S. Navy as the UC-45J Navigator and the SNB-1 Kansan. In its AT-7 configuration, it was the first aircraft operated by the U.S. Army Air Forces purely as a navigational trainer.
During the Cold War, the U.S. Strategic Air Command used the type as a liaison aircraft from 1946 to 1951, when the Air Force had many of its UC-45’s remanufactured with new fuselages to take advantage of improvements to the type developed since World War II. 900 aircraft were remodeled to the then-new Beech Model D18S standard, and went on to serve the Air Force until 1963. The Navy flew the C-45 until 1972, and the U.S. Army kept the type in service until 1976. The C-45’s non-military applications point up its versatility: it has been used as a crop-duster, firefighter, air ambulance, air mail plane, skywriter, banner tow, as well as for gun- and drug-smuggling. It has the distinction of being the first aircraft flown by the Phillipine Airlines. The Beech C-45 was replaced in U.S. armed services inventories by the Beech C-12, a twin-turboprop, T-tailed light transport which entered service in 1975. Like its predecessor the C-45, the C-12 was derived from a successful civilian transport, the Beech B200 Super King Air.
The Beech C-45H is molded in grey and consists of 56 injection molded parts. The interior consists of a cockpit assembly only; there is no passenger cabin, although there are cabin windows — this was not terribly unusual for C-45’s that simply hauled cargo. The cockpit is appointed with seats featuring individually mounted armrests and two control wheels for the pilot and co-pilot, together with an instrument panel featuring raised detail for the dials. The kit has engraved panel lines and two well-detailed radial engines, a pair of two-bladed propellers and separately mounted spinners. Modelers should be aware that the engine cowlings each consist of two cylindrical halves, so a little extra seam hiding will be required. The landing gear have multi-spoke wheels for a small bit of detail there. Markings are provided for a U.S. Air Force C-45H in overall natural metal with black anti-glare panels, circa 1955; and for a Royal Canadian Air Force Expeditor Mk. III, circa 1965, sporting a white over natural metal fuselage, black upper surfaces on the engine nacelles, and red wing tips and tail surfaces with the remainder of the aircraft in overall natural metal.
A good rendition of a World War II and post-war trainer/transport. Recommended.
- Beech C-45H kit instructions
- Aviation Fact File: Modern Military Aircraft, edited by Jim Winchester; Thunder Bay Press, San Diego; 2004
- Jane’s Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Random House Group Limited, London; 2001
- The Encyclopedia of World Air Power, Crescent Books, New York; 1980