|Background - The Curtiss C-46 Commando was a military transport aircraft used during World War II by the United States Army Air Forces and also by the U.S.
Navy/Marine Corps. The C-46 served a similar role to its counterpart, the Douglas C-47 Skytrain, but was not as extensively produced. A total of 200 C-46
airframes were ordered in 1940, but only two were actually delivered by December 7, 1941. At this time, more powerful 2,000 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double
Wasp engines replaced the two Wright Twin Cyclones originally fitted to the aircraft. Additional military contracts for the C-46 extended the production run to 1,454
airplanes, of which 40, designated R5C-1, went to the U.S. Marine Corps. The airplanes were fitted with double cargo doors, a strengthened floor and hydraulically
operated cargo handling winch. To accommodate passengers, 40 folding seats were installed. The C-46 Commando was most famous for its operations in the
China-Burma-India Theater (CBI) and the Far East. The Commando was a workhorse, flying in a wide range of adverse conditions to transport desperately needed
supplies to troops in China from bases in India. The C-46 had the power to fly over "The Hump", which was the nickname given to the Himalaya Mountains by
Allied airmen, its powerful engines enabling it to climb satisfactorily with heavy loads. After World War II, a few surplus C-46 aircraft were briefly used in their
originally designated role as passenger airliners, but the large numbers of surplus C-47 Skytrains were better suited for this role. As a result, the C-46 was soon
relegated to primarily cargo duty, continuing service in U. S. Air Force service in a secondary role until 1968. However, some C-46s remain in operation as a rugged
cargo transport for Arctic and remote locations with its service life extended into the 21st century.
The Kit - Earlier is 2016, SSN-Modellbau of Germany released a kit of the C-46 Commando comprised of resin and photo-etch parts to build one aircraft. Decals
and paint masks are included to build the model in one of five marking options. The airframe is one resin part with the fuselage and all of the wings. The remaining
resin parts are the wheel/landing gear sets. The resin parts are done well with a good amount of detail. Some excess resin needed to be removed from the fuselage
and wings. The wings are not warped, which is a problem that I have seen with some other airplane kits in this scale. The small photo-etch fret includes 3-bladed
propellers, landing gear doors, an alternate tail landing gear strut and a variety of really tiny antennas. The photo-etch is adequate with relief etching to denote the
folds in the landing gear doors and tail strut and parts numbers in the fret. To use the alternate tail landing strut will require removing that portion from the resin part,
leaving just the wheel. A decal sheet is provided with markings for U.S. Army Air Corps, U.S. Marine and U.S. Air Force airplanes with numbers identifying each
decal which are referenced in the assembly guide. The decals appear well done with good color and clean markings. For the post-war USAF livery, some painting
masks are provided to block out the areas where the decals are to go.