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Curtiss C-46 Commando

 

Williams Brothers, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Williams Brothers 0050-12546-01 - Curtiss C-46
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media: 81 parts in grey styrene; 10 clear parts; markings for six aircraft
Price: MSRP USD$32.95
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Only injection molded C-46 available; fine raised panel line detail; new floor has corrected one of the problems of the original kit; includes new marking options with complete instructions and references.
Disadvantages: Some flash; experience required
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Milton Bell


Williams Brothers 1/72 scale C-46 will be available online from Squadron.com
 

FirstLook

 

Seeing Williams Brothers C-46 back on the shelves is like having an old friend you've not seen in years drop by for a drink. Happily, the kit is back and has actually improved with age.

After Daniel Brett bought the company from the original Williams brothers, Grainger and Larry, we knew it would just be a matter of time before we saw some of the original aircraft kits emerge from the company's new digs in Taylor, Texas. The C-46 Command is the first kit to be produced by Brett and it is a good choice. He has been busy producing radial engines for RC modelers to dress up their flying models.

The C-46 is the same basic kit that was available for many years and as far as I know is the only 1/72 kit available of the Curtiss twin. It's a little more expensive this time around but at an MSRP of $32.95 USD, it's reasonable.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

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Surface detail is limited to fine, raised panel and hatch lines. Control surfaces are delineated by recessed lines with soft detail. There is flash on a few parts but it's thin and easily removed and should not be a problem for most modelers. Experienced modelers will probably remember that this was definitely not a "shake and bake" kit and there were some shortcomings. None of the Williams Brothers kits are simple and like all so-called short run kits, they require some careful fitting and planning before any glue gets applied.

One of the main concerns with the original kit was a fuselage floor that was too narrow. Brett has corrected this problem and test fitting shows that it is indeed wide enough for the fuselage. The only place the floor can be seen, once the model is assembled, is in the cockpit. For some reason the mold cutter placed the new floor directly over a major runner. The new floor will not flex but as it cooled a large sink line formed that you may want to fill (or not since it's not readily seen) or plate over with some sheet styrene. I suppose you might be able to peep inside one of the side windows and find the floor but who is going to try that! I suppose someone may want to open the cargo door but I won't get into that here.

 



As usual the kit is molded in medium soft light gray styrene and is contained on two runners. There is a separate runner for the clear parts-the cockpit canopy which is in two pieces, ten windows, an observation dome, and three light lenses. The clear parts are very clear. Both three-blade and four-blade props are included. Prop blades are molded separately and must be attached to the appropriate hub. Engine detail is adequate but Spartan.

Fit of the fuselage halves-with trapped floor tacked in place-was very good and it appears that no filler putty will be required. No other parts were tried.

 



The instructions are practically identical to those in the original kit. They still include details for modifying the wing tips for a Model IV version of the Commando. Lloyd Jones is credited for the new decals and the box art is by Robert Karr who created the Laird Solution art for the earlier Williams Brothers kit.

Markings include an early (ca. 1942) USAAF aircraft with red centered star and circle insignia, and a 1944 USAAF C-46. There are also markings for a Chinese Air Force aircraft from 1946-47 and a Flying Tiger Line aircraft from the 1950s. In addition there are two sets of markings for OD Commandos from 1945-Smiley's Airlines from the 15th Combat Cargo Squadron, Burma, and Tiger Fleet "Back Breaker" from the 1st Troop Carrier Squadron, 443 Troop Carrier Group, Burma. All versions have painting instructions that appear to be complete.

 



Unlike the original issue of the kit, this one has references that include several web sites.

If you like the era and people/cargo haulers, and love the Commando, I recommend this kit.

Recommended.

Purchased with reviewer's funds


Review Text Copyright 2007 by Milton Bell
Page Created 05 August, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007

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