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In-Box Review
Expeditor II
Expeditor II World War 2 Passenger Aircraft
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by: Adie Roberts [ IN_WAR_AND_PEACE ]

Originally published on:

The Expeditor II was an aircraft originally known as the Beechcraft 18 or Twin Beech as it was made in America by the Beech Aircraft Corporation. It was a low winged twin engine, tail wheeled passenger plane that first flew in 1937. The plane that ICM have produced in kit form is the Expeditor II as under lend lease agreement a total of 236 expeditors were supplied to the RAF, RCAF and Fleet Air Arm.
The Fleet Air Arm ordered 73 Expeditor CI and CII under Lend-Lease contract No AC-40082 and AC-3213. The first Expeditor, FT985, was delivered to US NAS Anastocia in February 1944 for the British Embassy in Washington DC, and subsequently others delivered to TOC RN Cochin 13 May 1944 (eg FT982).
The first second-line squadron to receive the Expeditor was 782 squadron at Donibristle from 21 May 1944 ( FT979, and many were subsequently delivered to 742 squadron at Coimbatore/Sulur throughout 1944 and into 1945. One Fleet Air Arm Expeditor KP110 of 782 squadron detached at Lee-on-Solent served as the Admiral's barge during August and September, 1945. Others were given individual names by 782 squadron, including :"Merlin 20" (FT977), "Merlin 23" (HB162) and "Merlin L" (HD760).
The type saw service until after the end of WW2 and some returned to the USN in March 1946.

ICM have again packaged this kit in a really sturdy box and I just wished some of the other manufacturers would do the same with there kits. On opening the box you find a very nice colourful instruction booklet, five grey moulded plastic sprues and one clear sprue One decal sheet completes the contents.

First Impressions
Some really nice detail on the moulds, some flash, not much though, some large injector marks, some of which will have to be dealt with during the build, other wise looking good.

The fuselage is in two parts and comes with some nice recessed panel lines, these are very fine and you would need to paint in thin layers so as not to fill the recessed panel lines. A novel idea that I have not seen used often is two integral (to the mould) aerials and small dome this makes them look a lot stronger than the thin usually easily breakable plastic ones that come with the kits normally. The fuselage does have a few stress marks but not to bad, the windows and door way are very crisp.
The wings are whole lower and upper, and the base of the upper wings doubles as an interior and cockpit floor, unusual but makes it look like a strong fit that will give it improved strength. Nice fine recessed panel lines on both the upper and lower wings, the upper wings has two raised panel lines that run back from the outside edge of the engine cowlings which are also nice and rounded. The lower wings has some little bits of raised detail that looks nice, some really nice detail through the engine cowlings on the lower wings. They have included moveable ailerons with this kit which is good. Some really nice recessed area where the exhausts come out from the cowling. The exhausts themselves are very nice in detail and just yells out for some nice weathering and smoke effect detailing. Passenger entrance door was a disappointment as it looks very bland compared with the rest of the fuselage detail. The tail plane like the rest of the kit has some fine recessed panel lines, raised lines over the rudders. The assembly here looks like it will fit nicely without any major alterations.

Now I have to say that I am disappointed with the lack of detail on the engine, having seen the ICM Dornier of late and seeing the detail that they put into that makes this a real let down. Propeller was ok along with the spinners.

Now this is where I found some interest, the internal wheel housing was made up of framework to support the undercarriage legs and looks very good and maybe makes up a bit for the lack of engine detail. The whole housing around the undercarriage has a real genuine realistic look, though some of the plastic does look quite fragile and some care will be needed when removing from the sprue. The only minor downside is that the front housing plate does have the injector pins marks that will require removal, though they are not to bad and should be an easy fix. The wheels have good detail and nicely rounded with good tread marks.

The floor of the interior and cockpit is moulded onto the upper wing, cockpit comprises of pilot and co-pilot seats, cockpit interior has a moulded dashboard with some nice raised detail to represent the various dials and indicators which you would have to carefully paint in yourself (no decals provided) Two yoke controls that look nice although you will have to be careful again during removal from the sprue. Both the pilot and co-pilot seats have some minimal detail also some nice over head control panels to add some realism to the cockpit area. There is a small dividing bulkhead between the cockpit and passenger area. The passenger area has four seats in two rows of two. The seats have a tiny frame and separate cushions. One further seat at the rear of the passenger compartment that sits in front of the door to the cargo area. Unfortunately most of the passenger area will be lost once the two halves of the fuselage come together. I would be tempted to play about with the door so that I could have it in an open position so that you could at least see some of the interior, the only downside to this is the injector marks along the inside of both fuselages would have to be worked on. The interior glazing looks clear and crisp as does the cockpit glazing that comes in three parts with two side windows and one large front window. All the glass looks good with reasonable detail.

I found the instructions to be very clear and colourful, it has sixteen pages giving a brief introduction into the Expeditor II. The build itself is 56 individual steps with great drawing detail showing very clearly where each bit goes. Starting with the fuselage moving onto the interior each step is very precise and very easy to follow with pages 15 and 16 showing the painting and decals for each of the three planes on offer, each one shows clearly where each colour and decal goes.

The decals look good, a slight thickness but really crisp great colour. There are a few stencils but mainly roundels, which are maybe slightly to shiny if I were to make a negative comment.

The kit comes with three different colour schemes. Overall Aluminium
1. Expeditor II, RAF Air Command Karachi 1945
The paint for this version is in model masters paints
1711 Olive Drab
1597 Semi-Gloss Black
1781 Aluminium
1708 Insignia Yellow

This version of the Fleet Air Arm in a dark navy blue (Admirals Barge)
2. Expeditor II, RN 782nd Sqn, Lee-On-Solent
paint for this version
1711 Olive Drab
1597 Semi-Gloss Black
1708 Insignia Yellow
1772 Blue Angel Blue
1731 Aircraft Gray

The final version is a camo with sky underside dark green and brown on top
3. Expeditor II, 231st Group Conversion Flight Karachi August 1944
Paint for this version
1597 Semi-Gloss Black
1710 Dark Green
1708 Insignia Yellow
2054 Dark Earth
2048 RAF Azure Blue

I have to admit that first impressions were very good though having seen some of there other new 1/48th kits namely the Dornier, the cockpit detail and engine detail of the Expeditor II does not come close to the Dornier. That said there is a lot to praise ICM for it is a nice kit with three different markings all of them are nice aluminium finish on the RAF version is really nice but so is the Royal Navy, Fleet Air Arm navy blue one is also particularly nice. Anyone wanting to make a naval twin engine transport plane I would recommend this one with all of the after market etch brassin and decals I do think that there will be lots of versions for this kit and with a new cockpit it would be a very nice kit.
Highs: The over head instrument panel in the cockpit is a nice touch the detail one the fuselage although fine is still good the dry fit fitted perfectly. A great subject
Lows: The overall detail in the cockpit and interior is good but sparse some fiddly little pieces that will need care taking from the sprues. Sink marks and injector pin marks would need working on if you plan on leaving the door open so you can see inside.
Verdict: ICM's Expeditor II is lacking in some detail interior and cockpit but overall is a good kit and with the A.M products coming out I am sure you will be able to make a really good kit.
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 48182
  Suggested Retail: 20.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Nov 03, 2015
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

Our Thanks to ICM Holding!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Adie Roberts (In_War_and_Peace)

I am disabled after a terrorist bomb I have in the past made models for TV and film and work with local museums making new models for display. I also take on commission builds for people

Copyright 2021 text by Adie Roberts [ IN_WAR_AND_PEACE ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


looks and sounds a good kit for a future build
NOV 03, 2015 - 03:26 AM
I will get one of these for two reasons: 1. Auxiliary aircraft are really cool 2. I have time in the squirrely Twin Beech - not the modified abominations with nose gear, turbines and longer fuselages, but the short-coupled radial taildraggers.
NOV 13, 2015 - 07:42 PM

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