by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Platz have released the first follow up to their excellent C-46 Commando in the form of a JASDF C-46ECM - an electronic warfare training version. According to Platzís historical notes, three airframes from the late 1950s Japanese transport fleet of 36 Commandos, No. 140, 143 and 145, were converted to the ECM variant to serve in the training role. Each aircraft was fitted with a different array of equipment and antennae, all all three can be modelled in Platzís new kit.
In plasticArriving in an attractive and solid conventional box, the kit comprises:
61 x grey styrene parts (plus 2 unused)
2 x clear styrene parts
Decals for three colour schemes
As with the original release, the moulding and detail is excellent for this scale. The engraved panel lines are perhaps a little pronounced for this scale, but should look fine under a coat of paint.
The new version includes an extra sprue providing parts for a complete new nose on which two mount the prominent thimble radar covers for two of the aircraft. Installing this will require some careful surgery, so beginners might be advised to leave well alone. In fact, you can fit the thimble nose to the standard fuselage quite neatly, and all thatís missing is a small protrusion underneath - something you could easily make from a scrap of styrene.
The thimble itself will also have to be reduced in length for one of the colour schemes so, again, a bit of careful measuring and cutting will be needed.
Various other lumps, bumps and antennae festoon the fuselage, but their precise positioning is a little vaguer than Iíd like. Although the instructions have very clear bi-lingual diagrams, they donít include measurements against reference points such as panel lines to pin-point where to attach the radomes and other blisters. True, most are shown in the painting guide, which helps a lot, but one location is masked out by the engine nacelles in the profiles, so youíre left to guess.
Apart from that, construction looks to be very plain sailing. The assembly sequence is nice and logical, and colour matches are given for Gunze Sangyo and ModelMaster paints along with FS codes.
Decals are provided for all three C-46ECMs, No.s 140, 143 and 145.
The decals are always a high point with Platz kits, and the C-46ECM is no exception, with a huge sheet custom printed by Cartograf. As you might expect, the quality is superb. with pin sharp registration on the thin items, and excellent colour depth and accuracy. The sheet includes a number of stencil markings, along with walkways and de-icing boots for the wings and tail. International Orange decals are provided for the rear fuselage band, along with the entire nose section. The latter could be really tricky to coax into matching the complex curves, so masking and painting will probably be simpler (with a spare nose in the box though, itís very tempting to see how well the decals fit just for the fun of it).
ConclusionThe Commando has always been something of a favourite of mine, perhaps on account of it being somewhat neglected in comparison with the legendary Skytrain/Dakota. The option to build a rather exotic electronic warfare version is especially appealing, and itís sure to catch a few eyes at model shows with its colourful markings and plethora of warts and aerials.
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