BY JOHN PHILBRICK PHOTOS BY JOHN PHILBRICK
PAUL LE TORNEAU of Oconto, WI, is one
of a very few dedicated RC modelers that
have redefined the term giant scale. In
past issues, we’ve highlighted Paul’s supergiant planes including his amazing B- 25
Mitchell, P- 61 Black Widow and his B- 26
Marauder, all designed and built to roughly 1⁄ 5 scale. Paul’s latest creation is equally
impressive and he flew it at the recent
2008 “Warbirds over Delaware” giant-scale
meet. Let’s take a closer look at Paul’s
Curtiss C- 46 Commando.
Paul based his new design on Jerry Bates
plans that he enlarged 84 percent. The
C- 46 has a wingspan of 180 inches and
weighs 98 pounds. He powers his cargo
hauler with a pair of Desert Aircraft DA 85s Paul Le Tourneau holding his beau-
( desertaircraft.com), spinning 26x10 tiful 180-inch, 98-pound C- 46 at
the 2008 Warbirds over Delaware.
3-bladed Biela propellers. The mufflers The plane is powered by a pair of
were custom-made by Bold Mufflers (bold- DA 85s and is controlled by a JR
12X 2.4GHz system.
mufflers.com). It took about 10 months for
Left: The C- 46 carries two Vailly aviation pilots.
This view also shows Paul’s carefully created rivets and panel lines.
Far left: Paul’s C- 46 has fully functional three-section flaps. Though it is traditional balsa and plywood construction, the aluminum surface was created by installing thin McMaster aluminum foil
tape over a fiberglass covering.
Paul to complete his project and the model
is built using traditional balsa and plywood
construction. The airframe is finished with
fiberglass and resin and after a lot of sanding and priming, Paul duplicated the natural aluminum finish with individual panels of thin stick-on McMaster’s aluminum
foil tape used in the heating and air conditioning industry. Rivet and screw head
details are all included. The full-size subject
aircraft sits at the Pima Air Museum, and
Paul duplicated the 1950s paint scheme
using Krylon paint ( krylon.com) sprayed
over the aluminum panels.
Onboard there is a JR 12X 2.4GHz radio
system controlling 18 servos and three
separate air systems ( jrradios.com). In all,
there are 10 pneumatic air tanks, six for
the retractable landing gear, two for the
functional cargo doors and two for the
wheel brakes. The landing gear are custom
made by Bob Walker and the scale 7.5-
inch wheels and brakes were custom-made
by Glennis Aircraft ( glennis.com). The
fight controls are all functional including
the three-section “offset hinge” flaps. The
outer wing panels plug into the wing
Center section just outboard of the engine
nacelles. Paul made all of the plugs and
molds for the formed fiberglass and plastic
parts and the pilot figures are from Vailly
Aviation ( vaillyaviation.com).
Paul reports that the model is a joy to fly
and there’s plenty of power on tap from the
pair of DA-85s pulling the Commando. In
the future, Paul intends to include a functional parachute drop from the large cargo
door so he’ll be able to supply the troops at
warbird meets a bit of added excitement (as
if his Curtiss C- 46 Commando isn’t exciting enough). The sound of its twin engines
pulsing in and out of sync will give the
most jaded warbird lover goose bumps!