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Beech UC-45J Expediter
Utility Aircraft

United States Army Air Corp

Aircraft # 42-251291
Aerospace Museum of California
Formerly McClellan AFB
Sacramento, California


This model added to on July 15, 2012

Hobby Beech 18 / UC-45J Expediter
On 15 January 15, 1937 the prototype Beech Model 18, or "Twin Beech" first took to the skies. Although it was Beech's most successful civilian airliner, it's more commonly recognized as one of the many military workhorses of World War II.
Hobby Beech 18 / UC-45J Expediter
The Beech 18 is the most modified U.S.-certified aircraft design, with over 200 FAA approved Supplemental Type Certificates on record. The most produced military types were the C-45 Expeditor, AT-7 Navigator, and AT-11 Kansan.
Hobby Beech 18 / UC-45J Expediter
Beech (later Beechcraft) set a record that still stands today for longest continuous production of a piston engine aircraft with 0ver 9000 aircraft produced continuously from 1937 to 1970.
Hobby Beech 18 / UC-45J Expediter

This Hobbycraft kit has quite a few shortcomings, fortunately most of them can be corrected fairly easily.

Hobby Beech 18 / UC-45J Expediter
This Hobbycraft kit has quite a few shortcomings, fortunately most of them can be improved without too much effort and the end result is a pretty looking model.
Hobby Beech 18 / UC-45J Expediter
One of the biggest flaws with the kit is decals, they are all but unusable. The USN markings are printed in black which won't show on the required midnight blue paint scheme, and the RCN roundels are printed in separate out-of-register layers that would drive most modelers to drinking. Fortunately there are several excellent third party decal sheets available.
Hobby Beech 18 / UC-45J Expediter
I replaced the kit decals with markings from Super Scale International decal sheet MS720908. The Super Scale decals were very close to perfect and really brought the kit to life.
Hobby Beech 18 / UC-45J Expediter

My kit represents aircraft BuNo. 51291 USN which went into service with the US Navy on October 6th, 1943 and was decommissioned in May of 1966.  In April 1992 it was restored with markings representing a USAF C-45J and currently resides at the Aerospace Museum of California, McClellan AFB, Sacramento, California.

Hobby Beech 18 / UC-45J Expediter
The only problem with the Superscale decals is the size of the prop labels which are too large to fit on the prop blades, I ended up using spares from an Italeri Corsair kit. The kit provided Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior engines look pretty good after painting and assembling.
Hobby Beech 18 / UC-45J Expediter
I shaped some sheet styrene to represent the missing braking systems on the undercarriage. Unfortunately I assembled the struts with the suspension levers facing backwards, luckily it's not too noticeable.
Hobby Beech 18 / UC-45J Expediter
HobbyCraft didn't provide any wheel bay interiors which allows for undesirable views into the hollow engine nacelles. I addressed this by fabricating new bays (with purely speculated details) out of sheet styrene.
Hobby Craft Beech 18 / UC-45J Expediter
A simple cockpit is provided in the kit, I added seat harnesses made of masking tape strips to add a bit of detail.
HobbyCraft Beech 18 / UC-45J Expediter
A simple instrument panel is also provided which looks fairly believable after painting. Unfortunately not much can be seen after assembled.
Hobby Beech 18 / UC-45J Expediter
Although it's far from a perfect kit, I had fun building this Hobbycraft kit I'm pleased with the end result. I'm glad to have it in my collection.

Hobbycraft C-45F Expediter # HC1388 Box Art
Kit: HobbyCraft #HC1388
1/72 scale
Scale: 1/72

This kit is long out of production but can be found regularly at online auctions or swap meets. Price usually ranges from $10.00 to $20.00 (US) which is reasonable in today's market.

Decals are provided for two aircraft, an unidentified WWII era US Navy, and an unidentified RCN aircraft. Decals are printed out of register, some are in the wrong color and are just plain bad.
Aftermarket Decals Used:

Superscale No. MS720908. Markings provided for 3 aircraft: a pre-war USAAF D-18, a USN UC-45J from Pensacola NAS, Florida, and a USAF UC-45J on display at McClellan AFB, California. Decals are printed in perfect register with nice opaque backgrounds and a thin carrier. Excellent color instructions are included.


The kit is comprised of 44 parts molded in light gray with 7 transparent parts. One small decal sheet and a large tri-fold black and white instruction sheet are included.

All parts are cleanly molded with very little flash.

Panel lines are recessed at a reasonable depth and generally good.

Fit is good overall.

Assembly starts in the cockpit with simple three piece seats, control columns and an instrument panel with raised detail. No main cabin floor or details are included. Side window transparencies are overly thick.

Wing to fuselage joints are good with little filler required.

Careful sanding and test fitting is required to improve the fit between the fuselage and cockpit canopy/roof.

Gear doors are overly thick and can use thinning.

Aftermarket Parts:

Scratch Additions:

Drafting tape was used to make seat harnesses. Sheet styrene was used to make the cargo bay floor, wheel bay "boxes", brake hubs and aerials. Stretched sprue was used to make windscreen wipers and antennae. Side windows were made with Model Master Clear Parts Cement & Window Maker.

Despite a few over-simplified details, poor decals and a slightly misshaped windscreen profile, I think most modelers will enjoy this kit for it's ease of assembly and reasonable price. With aftermarket decals and a bit of customizing it builds into a nice looking kit.

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