HobbyCraft 1/48 Avro (Canada) CF-100 Mk. V

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The model represents Avro (Canada) CF-100 Mk.V, #18748, of 410 ``Cougar'' squadron, RCAF as it appeared in the summer of 1959.


This project cost me my modelling sanity for over 2 years now. Some of this I can attribute to this being a very minimal kit (detail is about what you would get with a basic vac-form), and the rest to my letting things get out of control. Most of my modelling friends know I refer to this monster as the ``Clunk From Hell'' but nonetheless, I'm proud of what it has achieved...

Finally, on Easter Sunday, 1997, the beast made the transition from the basement (modelling room) to the model cabinet. It's done!!! I still can't believe it. In the end it turned out better than I had expected, much to my pleasure.

I should probably point out that when I started this, it was going to be a quickie kit that I didn't care too much about doing a great job on, but one I could test out doing natural metal finishes with. And so the snowball started rolling ... so on with the saga!

The Kit:

This is one of HobbyCraft's earlier kits. Their more recent offerings have become VERY nice and are at a quality well beyond their usually modest price. The same cannot be said of either of their CF-100 kits in 1/48.

The kit is generally accurate in outline, though I haven't bothered to measure it to see how accurate it is in size. Frankly, I don't particularly care -- it's close enough. The exceptions that do come to mind are:

Aside from those problems, I would be being unduly charitable if I said the kit fitted together. I've enjoyed the pleasure of using at least 4 different kinds of putty on this critter, and in LARGE quantities. Those of you who took out stock in Milliput before I started are no doubt very wealthy now. For the rest of you -- I still have the Mk. IV kit waiting to be done -- I'll let you know before I start it.


Finally, it's time to build something -- NOT!

The cockpit, and panels are generally accurate in shape. That's where it ends. This is the first kit where I've actually sanded off all the detail on the instrument panels and scratchbuilt it. I also rebuilt most of the cockpit details:


The extended wingtips of the Mk.V, designed to increase it's altitude, were prone to breaking off at high-G. I can relate to this all too well -- not exactly breaking off, but they way they were molded, with both top and bottom of the extension, attached to the top wing half, makes for a gap that just will not fill, and insists on cracking at the slightest provocation. I used at least 3 kinds of putty/glue combinations on these and in the end I just decided to live in fear of them.

The wings also had a very bad droop down towards the ends, instead of being completely flat as they should be. Copious amounts of scalding water and bending finally got them to behave for the most part.

One smart thing I did was with the pitot tube. I KNEW it wouldn't survive being attached, so I drilled it out and drilled out the wing too, inserting a nice strong pin into it. I can practically lift the clunk (without the seats) by the pitot now! It's even survived being dropped.

Dicing and Slicing:

At this point, I started to really lose control. It was pointed out to me, and rightly so, that no ground-dwelling Clunk EVER has it's flaps raised into flying position. So.... Out comes the razor saw and away we go...

Finally, with all the bits and pieces cut free, I could reattach them at proper (real-life) angles. Readers may note that I left the ailerons alone. After problems with the elevators, I doubted it was worth it, and after looking at my references, it was pretty clear that the ailerons were rarely displaced from the even mark.

And for those picky so-and-so's out there, yes, I did lean the control column forward slightly, but I didn't bother touching the rudder pedals -- you can't see them anyway, even with an anal-powered-flashlight! ;-)

Putting Things Together:

Now that we've managed to cut everything off the beast, it's time to start putting things together.

The fit of the top/bottom fuselage halves was pretty good, except for along one side. I had to cut the alignment pins off, as they were pushing it well out of true, then I superglued that area throughly first, while bending it into position. Once that dried, the rest went quite smoothly.

At this point I discovered that my attempts to make the exhausts a little closer to scale thin, rather than looking like concrete sewer pipes causes a ``V'' shape at each side where the fuselage joins were. By this point I was disgusted with trying to fix that, so out came the razor saw, and off came the exhausts. I used a couple of slices of 1/2" brass tube (which was just about perfect in size to replace them - MUCH better!

On goes the tail part of the fuselage. This is where the fit problems are REALLY obvious -- the top part fits nicely, but there is a massive step at the bottom, and the front part slopes up to the join, while the back part slops down from it. Can YOU say Milliput!?!? In the end it took about 6 rounds before I got it to where I could tolerate the joint, and I'm decidedly NOT picky.

With that headache out of the way, it was time to somehow jam the @#$%ing stabilizer into the slot in the tail. It does NOT fit. The only way mine went in there (after much work) was because I cut out the rudder which left the tail with a lot more give. Once in, it was glued in place for all time! Well, maybe not. After a visit to the Trenton Airshow (in case I needed something to work on), the whole top of the tail broke off. Just as well, too -- it was sort of lop sided. The fixed version came out much better.

Along about this time I realized that the tail end of the fuselage was a light with a clear cover, not just solid. So, zip, out came the razor saw, and zip, off it came. I built the two bulbs (aligned vertically) with little balls of milliput, stuck in place. The cover is going to come from a hobby `eye' (I got a package of about 100 for next to nothing), with the back cut off -- perfect clear plastic dome.

The airscoop that goes along the top starboard side, was reshaped (it was far from round) and drilled out, then glued carefully in place. Do this right the first time, with a gap filling superglue -- you DON'T want to try and fill in around the joint.

Next, the intakes were added, along with several kilos of putty to make them almost fit. In my case, I decided things looked a bit bare, so I opted to add the de-icing spray arms to the intake bullet out of thin plastic strip. If you do this (check your refs, if possible to see if they were used), take note that one arm is slightly longer than the other.

Painting note: while I didn't paint the intakes at quite this point, you probably should/can? While at the Hobby Show in Malton (home of Avro) I had the pleasure of talking with a gentleman who had worked for Orenda, and he pointed out to me that the tips of the intake blades should be dark compared to the more inner sections. I regret I didn't catch his name, but I'm grateful for the tip.

By now we have something that's starting to look like a CF-100, and a scary sight it is!

Putty, and sand, and Putty, and sand, and ...

With the basic plane together, now it's time to start preparing it for a natural metal finish -- the bane of modellers everywhere.

The entire plane was wet sanded throughly, working up to 1200 grit sandpaper, followed by a good going over with polishing compound, until it almost gleamed. I loath sanding, and this was just the beginning...

With all the kilos of putty on it, there was no choice about putting the silver finish straight onto the plastic as is best to do (I was going to use SNJ Spray Metal) -- it had to be primed or the putty would just absorb the SNJ. Besides, I needed to check the seams and sanding anyway. So... the whole thing got a through coat of Xtracolour gloss white -- the only gloss white I've ever found that will cover worth a @#$%.

Unfortunately, after all the priming and resanding problem areas, it seems I got my mixture wrong, or my airbrush didn't like me. The whole thing wound up with a nice case of orange-peel. So out with the sandpaper and away we go. Months later, and after using a set of MicroMesh that car modellers use to polish paint surfaces, it's finally smooth, and ready for the real paint. Just the sight of sandpaper leaves me queasy now...

You can't imagine my relief the day the SNJ went on! After months of staring at that sickly white monster, things were REALLY moving forward, at last. After waiting the requisite amount of time, I polished individual panels, some with the metal powder, some without. The results, in the end, were quite nice, and once I put a grey wash into the panel trenches and get all the black de-icer boots painted, I'm sure it will look the picture of a CF-100! There was just enough dull aluminum effect to the outcome to look quite realistic. I can see light at the end of the tunnel at last!

Landing Gear:

The landing gear, as come out of the box, bear little resemblance to the real thing. This, combined with the gear bays being devoid of ANY detail almost makes you want to mount the thing in flight (say, why didn't I think of that sooner -- I wouldn't have had to cut loose the flaps!). In any case, I finally set about trying to make it look a `bit' more like it should.

First, the nose gear:

Heading onwards to the main gear, much the same was done there:

Last, but not least, with the gear, the wheels get a going over:

See the Final Touches section below, for more fun and games with the gear.


As mentioned above, I used SNJ Spray Metal for the overall natural metal finish. I heartily recommend SNJ -- it gives a great metal finish and when dried, it doesn't just rub right off, and the effects one can get using the metal powder are amazing (try rubbing the powder into an almost hardened gloss white finish for an amazing chrome finish).

Aside from the SNJ, there was a lot of detail painting to do. Almost all of it, was in flat black for the deicer boots, for which MM was used. Some of this was hand painted, due to the awkwardness of getting masks into place, but the rest was sprayed on.

For masking over the natural metal, I used some Post-it-Note tape. This looks like a wide role of tape, about 2cm wide, that you can cut to whatever length you want -- ideal for this situation, and lets the masks be used a number of times in different areas.

For some of the spots along the deicer boots that need to be silver, I will probably add small pieces of baremetal foil, or silver painted decal sheet. This being far easier than trying to mask these off separately.

For the wheel bays, and the insides of the covers, I used various greys with darker washes to pick out the details (such as they were). In some cases, extra details were made by scribing or scraping into the wheel covers.

The Clunk Mk.V is not exactly a colourful subject -- any real colour on it comes from the decals (see below). Aside from the silver and black, there's really not much else to break the monotony.


The kit decals are abysmal. The colours bled so that the edges of the roundels are not at all clean, and the rest of the decals have all the definition of the kit parts.

Fortunately, Arrow Graphics Decals make some great sheets for CF-100s and one of these was acquired to make the kit worthwhile. More on these when I get that far. I used sheet D-5-48, which represents CF-100 Mk.V, #18748, of 410 ``Cougar'' squadron, from summer 1959.

Unfortunately, the Arrow Graphics Decals did their very best to shatter into a million pieces on me. Thanks to Dave Askett for having forewarned me about this tendency, I was able to rescue the test decal and give the others a good coat of varnish. This held them together nicely, but other problems were waiting in the wings.

Next on the list of headaches, was the fact that the decals for shaped areas (the rudders, for example), don't fit. At least they were too big, and not too small, but between the sizes being off, and the fact that they didn't want to conform to any curves at all, made for a challenge indeed.

After all the fighting, poking, prodding, and gallons of decal solvent, I managed to get a reasonable looking result out of them. Quite reasonable, actually. It's amazing what a little colour does to perk up the appearance of an otherwise silver and black airplane.

Final Touches:

Once the bulk of the building, painting and decaling was done, there were a whole slew of final touches that needed doing:

Making a base for the beast:

After going through all the effort to build this kit, I figured it deserved a nice base to live on. After looking around at the wood scraps I had, I realized I didn't have anything big enough, or decent enough to do it. Around this time, my father, who lives on the East Coast, acquired himself a new router and was looking for excuses to use it -- better timing I couldn't have asked for. A nice base, made to order, arrived in amazingly short time, already varnished and looking great. My sincere thanks to my father for this.

To make it look a bit more the part, I cut some sheets of cheap 600 grit sandpaper to fit at an angle, and glued them face up on the base to form a piece of tarmac.

The exposed wood on the base was then masked off, and the tarmac sprayed with floquil concrete. The results looked amazingly like, well, concrete. After then running a fine black marker down the cracks between the sandpaper sheets, and liberally splattering the whole thing with various shades of brown and black wash to represent, well, splatters, it was time to strip off the masking.

The final touch was to add an RCAF flag in the corner, and a small nameplate. Voila, a perfect home for a perfect (?!?!) kit.

Thoughts on doing the Mk.IV:

Just in case all the things listed above scare you off, keep in mind that well into this project (and well after it had clearly gotten out of control), I went out and got myself the HobbyCraft CF-100 Mk.IV kit (I actually ordered it from my favorite hobby shop -- NorthStar). So, it didn't scare me off of doing another one someday (but not for awhile...).

The one thing I did make sure of, though was that the decals ``I'' got for the Mk.IV, were for a camouflaged version -- one natural metal clunk is more than enough.

Of course, when we presented one of these kits to Gavin following his wedding recently, I made very certain it contained the decals for the natural metal Mk.IV -- we can't very well have him getting off easy, now can we?

Looking at the kit itself, it is identical to the Mk.V kit with only a couple of exceptions:

Aside from this, it has all the failings of the Mk.V kit, and a few more items that need to be noted:

Model (or is that monster) by Brian MacNamara

(I can finally claim to be a modeller again, and not have a guilty conscience! ;-) ).