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Build report: Hobby Craft 1/48 CF-105 Arrow

Brian McClatchie sends in this great build report of one of those interesting footnotes of the “could have beens” in aviation history, Avro Canada’s CF-105 Arrow.

History
The Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow was a delta-wing interceptor aircraft, designed and built by Avro Aircraft Limited (Canada) in Malton, Ontario, Canada, as the culmination of a design study that began in 1953. Considered to be both an advanced technical and aerodynamic achievement for the Canadian aviation industry, the CF-105 held the promise of Mach 2 speeds at 50,000 ft+ altitude, and was intended to serve as the Royal Canadian Air Force’s interceptor for the 1960s and beyond. Following the start of its flight test program in 1958, the Arrow, and its accompanying Orenda Iroquois jet engine program, was abruptly cancelled in 1959, sparking a long and bitter political debate. The Arrow is still the subject of controversy, almost 50 years after it was cancelled. This is definitely an aircraft that “should have been”, but died due to pressure from the United States to get Canada to adopt the F-101 Voodoo, an inferior aircraft, in many opinions.

The Kit
The kit is generally representative of Hobby Craft kits; detailing is very rudimentary, yet the overall airframe is quite accurately represented. It is injection molded in a soft white plastic, which is easily leaned and easily damaged!

Kit:Hobby Craft CF-105 Arrow 1:48
Price:$6.00 at Vancouver IPMS Show
Decals:Kit decals, which allow for all five prototype aircraft
Reviewer:Brian McClatchie
Notes:Given it’s age this kit went together great and makes up into a decent representation of a historic aircraft

The Build
Opening the kit reveals a LARGE aircraft, nearly 18” long. The cockpit in the kit consists of two pilot figures, two seats and a plank, not acceptable for such a large kit. My first order of business was to order the North Star Industries resin cockpit set ($60 U.S.), a bit steep, but the only game in town, as it were. I failed to photograph the kit right out of the box, but it is a highly detailed kit in itself and can even be built as a stand-alone model!

The cockpit fit surprisingly well into the fuselage and the only trimming needed was the removal of the locator shelf for the original floor.

The fuselage is a four-part affair, port and starboard forward and upper and lower aft sections – it sounds a bit strange but it worked out very well, indeed.

Seams were quite nice and required mostly a touch of CA gel to fill minor gaps. I used no putty at all on this build.

After joining the forward fuselage halves and the upper and lower aft sections, joining the two proved simple, with a tiny bit of fitting needed to bring the joint tight and smooth.

Next, I assembled the wing panels, a rather large subassembly that nestle down atop the fuselage vet nicely with no additional fitting required. The rather large open “spine” in the picture is not really a seam, and the spine shown covers it nicely and fairs the cockpit section into the fuselage.

I then attached the vertical stabilizer and front windscreen, and filled the cockpit with wet tissue. (I generally save all the fiddly details like the landing gear for last, so I will cover them later.)

Painting
I shot a gloss white primer coat over the entire aircraft (I am a cheapskate, so I used Krylon in a rattle can). After a 48 hour cure time, I masked out the red areas using 3M Lo Tack Blue painter’s tape and shot them, using craft store acrylic enamel, in my Airbrush City single action airbrush (a clone of the Badger). I then repeated the process for the black and silver areas. (I am not against the brand name modeling products, just no one sells that kind of stuff around here and I would have to order it all)

I attempted to highlight the panel lines…. it was much too stark for an aircraft that logged barely 200 hours before it was decommed, so I went back with a thin grey wash to tone it down a bit to a much more natural look.

After all this, I gave it an overall sealer coat of good old Future, preparatory to decals.

Decals
I used the included decals, which given their age (this kit is a late 80’s or early 90’s vintage) handled very well. They were fairly thick, yet pliable and conformed to the contours of the model very well. I did use Micro Sol and Micro Set to get that “painted on” look.

Final assembly
At this point, all that was left was to attach the landing gear and cockpit hatches.

Conclusions
As a whole, this kit was a truly fun build (although a bit expensive, due to the a.m. cockpit) but I think it a fitting tribute to an underappreciated aircraft. (Since these pictures were taken, I did install the gear doors!) I find the HobbyCraft kits to be, as a whole, a bit light on detail, but the fit is usually great and this kit is no exception. I have a 1:48 Airfix TSR-2 on order, and these two should make a singular side-by-side display!

About Brian McClatchie
I am a retired Federal Agent (26 years), married and the step father of three daughters and five grandchildren, the youngest will turn 16 next month. We live in rural Clark County, WA (just outside Camas, WA). Besides modeling, which I returned to after a forty plus year hiatus, I also hunt, fish and enjoy shooting semi-competitively. The wife and I are also actively involved in local youth and adult theater, producing, directing and costuming several shows a year.

11 thoughts on “Build report: Hobby Craft 1/48 CF-105 Arrow”

  1. I think we need to reconsider this. Brian isn’t a cheapskate as he claims. Let’s be honest, $2.00 for Krylon paint. Sixty dollars for a North Star cockpit. He just blew his whole modeling budget on the cockpit!!! LOL
    Great job Brian.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Rusty! I gotta save my dough for more of those great carrier decks! After all, I got several Navy birds that need a roost!!!!

    YBIC,
    Brian

  3. Nice Job Brian, but was this the updated kit from a year or two back or the original from the 1980s ?

    Regards, Nigel, UK south coast.

  4. Thanks for the kind words, Nigel! This is the old 1980’s version, so there was precious little detail to work with, which made it all the more challenging and fun!

    YBIC,
    Brian

  5. Brian,
    Like the many great folks here I am a history nut case and details are my feature. I will certainly post on this website as the many I see have too many critics and nowhere the compliments as I see here.
    I have many God-given skills, among them photography, well learned from my dad, an Eastman Kodaker and photographer. The artwork part is my mom’s skills passed along. Modelling and photography are a gift.
    I just saw a History Channel feature on
    this aircraft. The project was supposedly cancelled due to the Soviet Union infiltrating the CF 105 project. Always a possibility and something that would have now been de-classified.
    My main areas of the hobby lie in WWII in 1/35 scale armor and 1/48th scale aircraft. Thrown in HO railroading and I get a real room full of which ever I feel inclined to work on. It definately keeps me at home and my wife even visits me occassionaly.

    The best,
    John Staehle, Retired Navy CPO

  6. Hello Brian,

    Great model. I have the 1/72 version of this kit and some Arrow Graphics decals for it. I doubt if I will add any interior detail. I will just keep the clam shell canopy closed and it is unlikely the interior could actually be seen through the small clear sections.

    I am a Canadian and the Arrow is still a bit of a sore point. In reality the Arrow was canceled because of escalating costs. Canada has only about 10% of the taxpayers one finds in the U.S., and building a aircraft like the Arrow was more costly than some Canadians were willing to pay.

    While the Arrow was a spectacular aircraft for it’s day it did have a few problems. Nothing insurmountable given enough cash, mind you.

    There was an election just prior to the cancellation and the new Conservative Government (That would be Republicans in the U.S.) used the minor problems as an excuse to cut short the spending and cancel the program.

    There was a feeling that guided anti-aircraft missiles would make interceptor aircraft obsolete. Bomarc missiles were purchased. When this didn’t work as advertised, the Voodoos were purchased to fill the air defense hole that canceling the Arrow caused.

    In hindsight completing the Arrow would have probably cost no more than purchasing both Voodoos and Bomarcs. It did devastate the Canadian aerospace industry. Most unemployed Canadian Aerospace engineers eventually found work in the U.S., specifically in NASA.

    I don’t think it could be said that the U.S. caused the cancellation of the Arrow, but they did benefit from it. Since all the aircraft and documents were destroyed after the cancellation, the Arrow has become a sort of aerospace Holy Grail in Canada. You are correct when you said it leaves us all wondering what could have been.

    Bert.

  7. I am a Canadian and a senior. I recently got interested in the Arrow and wondering if what. One thing I don`t understand is why did they have to destroy the 5 or 6 planes that were tested and flew. Regardless why they were cancelled, why the hell did they have to destroy all planes, plans, and models of them?

  8. Hi Nastor,

    Unfortunately, I have no idea. Many people ask that same question.

    Thanks for visiting the site!

    Regards,

    Jon

  9. Hello
    Great build and I admit to using spray cans of krylon for the reasons just mentioned.
    One question that I do have, The airplane was trimmed in red paint. I thought it was a ‘day glo orange’?
    All the builds that I have seen and the box art appears to show ‘red’ as the colour used.
    Any comments?
    Thanks

  10. Hi Christopher – I’m not the original builder, so I’m not sure the answer to your question. Sorry about that!

  11. As an avid Arrow fan, I was there in October 1957 when RL-201 was rolled out for the public. I do have my own opinions as to why the Arrow was cancelled, none of which would serve any purpose on this forum. The “red paint” on the plane was a ” day glow RED” and its purpose was to be able to spot a downed aircraft in the arctic regions. As you all know the Arctic is a vast bleak black and white area. Therefore the day glow would be easier to spot. The planes, blueprints and ALL or most of the research documents were ordered destroyed by the THEN conservative PM Deifenbaker. Although there are some odds and ends still in existence around the world, which are kept secret because some of it is still “Classified”. The model depicted here is WELL done , the detail and time put into the build is nothing short of fantabulous!!!!

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