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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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.