Indigenous aircraft have always been fascinating to me. I’ve always loved looking at home grown unique designs that are at odds with the trends of the world. They tend to be designed with significant restrictions in budget and equipment (such as engines or avionics).
New Zealand had one of these aircraft, which was made by the Pacific Aircraft Corporation – or PAC. The CT-4 Airtrainer was based on a civilian model but uprated and redesigned to be practical as a trainer aircraft.
Taken on by the New Zealand and Australian air forces it had a favourable service life in both air arms. The New Zealand airforce had one of their only long-term display teams with the aircraft in the form of the Red Checkers. Originally in a metal and red scheme, the team would be upgraded to the newer variant – the CT-4 E – in it’s glorious yellow and black scheme.
The kit that we are looking at for the CT-4 is for the earlier model, the CT-4B. It’s an insanely rare kit at this stage in time. I once got once about 4 years ago for €20 but this was lost…so now they seem to go for €50-80 (yes, I’m serious). They are insanely rare.
So I forced myself to make this kit to conquer “the fear” (you’ll see more about it in my video below). The Fear is that feeling you have when you think you may not be good enough to do a kit, or that you’re worried of messing up and not being able to fix it or get replacement parts. This was the kit I chose to use to conquer the fear – to make myself make things without worrying about not being good enough.
The kit is limited run and therefore does not have numbering for parts, or have really super smooth parts. They require work to get them into a flush beautiful aircraft. Something I’d never done before. They also – to my absolute shock – do not have picture instructions. This was something I found really hard as I’m so used to being able to look at a refrence.
The main work in this model is sorting the parts. I took them from the sprue and I just spent an age sanding them down to be smooth and fierce. It was a lot more work than I normally spend on parts – but I hope you’ll agree at the end of it all it was definitely worth it.
The decals included are not for the newer display team, so I had to make a choice on whether I use the included decals and adapt them or just do the old scheme. I was very much set on the yellow however, the flying canary trainer. So, I decided to use the decals and adapt them. The ‘checkers’ of the Red Checkers have the old scheme, however, as I didn’t want to cut up the nice decals and risk not having them at all.
The paint selection was minimal. I did a test to find my yellow and I ended up choosing Lufthansa Gelb (Lufthansa Yellow) 310 of Revell Aquacolor. I also used Teerschwarz (Tar black) 06. Between the two of them I got a really accurate representation of the CT-4 in my opinion.
Construction was…interesting. I was assured it’s a standard plastic kit, but I’m 99% sure it was resin rather than the normal styrene-style plastic of traditional injection moulded kits. I couldn’t use normal plastic glue and resorted to super glue. With the exception of the landing gear where I used clear resin to help provide support as I didn’t want to use epoxy for such a small kit.
The canopy, as you can see, is something I struggled with. I’ve never touched a vaccuformed canopy before and I think I did a good job. You were meant to pinch it to get the bubble – but I couldn’t get it to sit flush. I was too scared to tape it or compress it, however, so I left it with the little gap at the back. It felt like a fair compromise.
So….did I conquer the fear?
Absolutely. I’m way less intimidated by things I class as rare or unusual now. I actually enjoy the idea of making more and more unique models and overcoming challenges that I’ve not yet had. It was a real eye opener and pleasure to build.
Buy or Fly?
This is an expensive kit. So if money is no object, absolutely buy it. But realistically this is insanely expensive for what it is now. If it was being sold by the retailer directly then I’d be more inclined to pay the amount again…but I always get a bit sad at how expensive rare kits get when they’ve just sat in an attic for a while – not being enjoyed and not being shared to promote the amazing model.
Ok, that was a but of a rant – but yes, I love this kit and would build it again.