Hobbycraft 1/48 CT-114 Tutor

KIT #: 1426
PRICE: $27.99
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Pablo Calcaterra
NOTES: Hobbycraft should know better...


1/48 Hobbycraft Snowbird

The Canadair CT-114 Tutor (or CL-41 for Canadair) was a trainer developed and manufactured in Canada that entered service in 1961. 190 trainers were built for the RCAF/CAF. The remaining planes were in 2000 by the CT-156 Harvard II and CT-155 Hawk. Today, the Tutor is flown primarily by 431 Squadron’s Snowbirds. However, it is also used in aircraft testing at the Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment (AETE) in Cold Lake, Alberta. 

Another 20 were built as CL-41G were exported to the Royal Malaysian Air Force as ground attack planes where they served until 1985.

Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, the Snowbirds are Canada's military aerobatics air show flight demonstration team. They have been flying the CT-114 since 1971.

Every year I have attended at least one of the air shows that the Snowbirds attended in Southwestern Ontario. The first time was in 2003 at the Expo in Toronto...when walking downtown they flew almost at tree height towards the air show. What a moment!

During the last air show (St. Thomas 2013) we managed to collect the signature of all the pilots except for one. And it had been a great achievement because on this date the pilots were flying to Ottawa for Canada Day (July 1) and there was going to be no official signing session after the air show. Just their debrief and then back to the planes. My kids were sent on the mission of getting as many signatures of the pilots when these returned from the debrief and were milling close to their planes. So there were running here and there after the guys on the red flying suits. But we were not able to find one and that signature was missing.  It turned out that the deployment to Ottawa was postponed for a few hours. In the meantime with almost everyone gone from the St. Thomas Airport we also left. The boys wanted to have a stop at the local Tim Horton's and I had to oblige as they had behaved fantastically during the 8+ hours. So were are there in line to pay for some goodies when a car pulled up, parked and 2 of the Snowbirds pilots entered the restaurant...one of them being the one we were missing! So out came the poster and he proceeded to sign it! Call it fate! Now the painting is framed and displayed in the “aviation room” downstairs.

 Tony Edmunson: born in Sunderland, England, his family emigrated to Canada in 1966. They settled in Medicine Hat, AB,  after a few years.   Attended Southern Alberta Institute of Technology for Aircraft Maintenance in 80-82 and then joined

Canadian Forces in '84 where he was posted to CFB Moose Jaw following basic trades training as an Airframe Technician.  Tony was selected to join 431 Air Demonstration Squadron for the  90-91 air show seasons.   Flew with #3 Inner Left Wing both years.  After leaving the 2 year assignment he was selected to undergo training as a Non-Destructive Testing Tech and got posted to CFB Trenton, then back to CFB Moose Jaw and CFB Comox where he retired from the Forces after 20 years. He enjoyed a post military career as a Offshore Pipeline Weld Inspector until May 2013, when he retired for good!

 Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Steve Will: LCol Steve Will holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (in Military History) from the University of Winnipeg. He resides on a rural acreage North of London, Ontario, with his wife and children JThe family’s passion is sport aviation; they spend many an afternoon flying with their grandfather in his meticulously restored 1951 Piper Super Cub.

Born into an Air force family, Steve’s father, an aircraft mechanic, sparked his early interest in aviation. At age 12 he joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadets and thus began a lifelong passion for aviation. The Air Cadets also introduced Steve to the fundamental concepts of leadership, which he has built upon for his entire life.

During his 25-year Air force career Steve amassed over 5,000 hours in high performance jet aircraft. After completing Wings training in 1986 he was assigned as a jet instructor pilot in Moose Jaw. After a two-year tenure he was selected to fly with the Snowbirds as Number 3, in the inner left wingman position. Following his Snowbird tour, Steve realized his life-long dream of becoming a fighter pilot on the F18 Hornet. His Fighter Group tenure included operational tours in the Balkans, both on the ground, and in the air as the Deputy Commanding Officer of 441Tactical Fighter Squadron and Chief of Staff to the Task Force Commander. In 1999, during Operation Allied Force, he flew 54 combat missions over Bosnia and Kosovo. The apex of Steve’s Air Force career was an unprecedented three distinct squadron commands, two of them with the world famous Snowbirds and one with 441 Tactical Fighter Squadron.

Steve now flies as an airline pilot for Westjet, but still remains dedicated to the Royal Canadian Air Force. In 2009 he was the team lead/project director for the Hawk One project, an all volunteer joint military, civil, and industry endeavour, which restored an F-86 Sabre jet and flew it at 72 events during the 2009 celebration of 100 years of flight in Canada. In 2010 the Air Force recalled Steve from civilian life to once again take command of the Snowbirds in order to orchestrate a complete reorganization of the squadron’s command and control structure. Steve now shares his experiences in the form of leadership seminars that focus on the benefits of proactive leadership techniques thru his company On Target Consulting.


This kit was issued several years ago. It is highly surprising that, having been molded and manufactured by a Canadian company (Hobbycraft) the kit has so many mistakes, especially in the panel lines and parts location department. It is a basic kit that with lots of work can be turned into a decent one. It is molded in light grey plastic...but the surfaces have a grainy texture that must be dealt with from the get go.

The landing light cover (nose) is the original style being short and round (pre 1977). So cannot be used for any of the modern Snowbirds. Aileron trim tab rods and elevator trim tab rod along with flap hinges are wrong in shape, the faring over the oil pipes (for smoke generation) is missing...

The panel lines are too wide and deep (like trenches). The shroud for the instrument panel is molded in clear (?!) when it will be painted in fainted black... Decals are good for versions flown between years 74-76 and 77-86.

You really need a good source of information to turn the kit into an accurate representation of the Tutor. For this I have used the invaluable support given by Tony Edmunson, who was an Airframe Technician at AFB MooseJaw and serviced the Snowbirds. You can Google his name and you will find his very detailed and informative review elsewhere (i.e. CFB  Moose Jaw.  Member of 431 AD Sqn Snowbirds 90-91. Tony can also be found on MM as 'Snowbird3a')


Guided by Tony's experience and several pictures he shared with me (plus some resin seats and corrected tips for the oil tanks among other parts) I tackled the build.

The cockpit area was painted in light grey. The cushioned panel behind the seats in aluminium with the missing panelling marked with a knife forming rhomboids. The instrument panel was painted in also in grey with black dials and touches of red and yellow following references. Rudder pedals were painted same grey as rest of cockpit with some dry silver to represent wear.

Weight was added to the nose and the fuselage sides were glued together. Fit was fairly good requiring some putty in the nose area. With the fuselage firmly glued I started the tough work of covering the wrong panels, making the others thinner and re scribing the rest. There are many round access doors missing (especially behind the cockpit) and the panels on the nose and wing roots were corrected.

The air brakes were also corrected. Panel lines in the border of attack of the tail were added. In short, many hours and nights using putty, sanding and scribing again and again. Next the wings were attached. There were several gaps to be fixed with acrylic base paste (top) and putty (fuselage to wings underside). 

The support for the oil pipes was scratch-built and added under the fuselage. It is a square with rounded edges. The shroud for the instrument panel was glued in place and to represent the wrinkled fabric I laid strokes of glue. When dry I painted the fabric in very dark grey.

With this ready I masked the windshield and added it in place. Two small air intakes were added on either side (scratch) as were the corrected rectangular fairings for the anti-icing system placed in front of the windshield. A very thin line of black paint represents the opening facing the windshield.

The fairing under the tail for the oil pipes was made using a thin layer of plastic bent to shape and glued and puttied. Then it was the turn of the nose landing light. As the one supplied by Hobbycraft is wrong I looked for large blobs of clear plastic in the spares box. After lots of searching I found one that had the correct base size and was long enough to allow me to shape it. So I gave it a drop of white and a drop of amber (red and yellow) and glued it on the nose. It looked like the plane now had got a clear clown nose! Very carefully and slowly I proceeded to sand the sides of the blob and merge them to the fuselage while shaping it with a flat underside and rounded top and sides ending it up in a low sharp point.

As Tony had pointed out that the trim tabs on ailerons and elevators for moveable surfaces were wrong I scratch built them. The oil tanks for the smoke generation system had the tips clipped and replaced with the resin ones supplied by Tony. I covered the cockpit with tissue paper and the plane was finally ready for painting. It took me almost 2 months to get to this point!


First the entire plane was given a coat of light grey to check for imperfections in all the work with panelling and scratch-building that I had done. Once this was done and some minor problems were fixed the plane was now given a coat of Model Master Acryl gloss white.  The air intakes, border of attack of wings, tail and horizontal tail surfaces were painted in Aluminium.

The most delicate part of the process was to mask the line between the red and white colours. For this I made a copy of the decal sheet, cut the copy and used it as a template for the union. Once masked properly and after checking many times that the lines on both sides were following the same panel lines at the same exact points I painted the undersides with Model Master Acryl Soldiers Red.

The (diesel) oil tanks were painted in red and white. A thin black line represents the opening in front of the square structure under the fuselage from which the smoke generating pipes come out. Landing gear was painted aluminium and the wheels in the same colour with black for the tires.

Having received so much help from Tony I decided to go with one of the planes he took care of. I settled on 037, the plane flown by Steve during the 1990 season. I added the landing gear to be able to better manage the plane during the process.

As I wanted to represent one of the planes serviced by Tony the decals were not good enough. The Snowbirds words were the wrong style. I searched a lot of pictures in Internet until I found a couple that, taken from each side of the plane, were clear enough and had been taken from the correct angle and they would allow me to print them and replace the wording in the kit's decals. Same applies to the serial numbers and the “flaked” areas of the blue lines around them on the fuselage close to the tail.

I had to play a lot with the colour of the design and the size of it so it would match, as close as possible, the dark blue colour and width of the Hobbycraft decals. Once I was satisfied with the design I printed it on white decal paper and once dry it was covered with Testors Decal spray. Regretfully and even thought I had waited for a couple of days the spray made the ink run a little bit and a pink hue started to show around the main letters. This forced me to cut very carefully around them to eliminate the pinkish run ink.  I also had to look for a font in my library that would allow me to add Tony's and Steve's names to the fuselage sides. These were also printed on clear paper and covered with Decal Spray (no running ink here!

 Adding the blue stripes was quite a challenge as they had to follow the red undersides at the right distance and had to be cut at the same point to add my own “Snowbirds” legend...to then continue to the nose!  Some retouches had to be done with red, white and blue so the lines had the correct pattern on to the nose fillet.

The large white Snowbird decal for the undersides was somehow difficult to manage due to its size but reacted admirably to Set and Sol solutions conforming to the different turns and cavities with no problem.  I also printed some round black decals to simulate some panels for the fuselage sides and undersides and oil tanks. Other round decals were made to simulate access panels on  the red area of the right wing root and undersides.

The numbers for the tail (please note that Hobbycraft's version don't have the right 'lean' for both LH & RH numbers) and undersides plus the Canadian flag and Maple Leaf came from the Hobbycraft decal sheet.  Once all the decals had been applied I gave the kit a coat of Future to protect them.


Lots of them!

I glued the wheels (the main ones previously reduced in diameter per Tony's instructions), the anti-collision light behind the cockpit in silver and then clear red.  The actuators for the moveable surfaces were made with bent wires. A small rim was painted in blue around the nose light.

The smoke generating oil tanks were glued under the fuselage. From these I started one of the most difficult tasks: the pipes for the smoke system. These were made with several cuts of wire bent to shape and installed using cyano glue. Small pieces of aluminium foil represent the support for the pipes. All the pipes and supports were hand painted in red or white depending on the surface beneath them.

A black area was painted on the centre of the fairing and the pipes were “sent” thru that “hole”. Then 4 pipes that stick out from the fairing (2 of which are bent so they stick in front of the exhaust pipe) were glued and painted black.

3 x scratch-built VHF antennas were added (one behind the cockpit, 2 on the tail). They are made of thin Evergreen plastic and short strips of aluminium wire.

Hobbycraft has you installing the pitot in the wrong location as it should come out of the wingtip, not the wing. Pitot on the right wing was glued in the correct spot and the tip was painted in aluminium with a thin red decal from the spares wrapped around it.

The brake lines were added with bent copper wire. The tail pipe was glued in place after it was painted aluminium, burnt iron and black (inside). Three scratch-built antennas were added below the nose behind the landing gear along with another red navigation light I made. The nose landing gear doors were attached at the same time as the main ones.

Once I almost finished I realized that the locating holes for the oil tanks were too far behind and thus the red and white areas did not match the ones of the large Snowbird in the undersides. As the pipes were glued and in place relocating these tanks would have been a monumental and most likely paint destroying task so I left them as they are...but we warned then!

Towards the end of the build and I was sharing the pictures of the progress with him, Tony pointed out that the top part of the wings landing lights were painted in black. And that the paint scheme by Hobbycraft for the area of the border of attack of the wings was not right...as I had followed them I had to re do them masking carefully the rest of the kit...Hobbycraft!

Four rear mirrors were painted in black (front and edge) and aluminium and added to the front of the canopy. An angled and red fuel vent mast (venting the fuel tank pipe) was scratch built and glued on the fuselage behind the right oil tank. The resin seats were painted according to pictures I found in Internet and that Tony supplied, glued in place with cyano and finally the canopy was placed over the cockpit.

The navigation lights on the wing tips received red and green clear paint (with a drop of silver underneath). Regretfully after all was done and pictures for the article had been taken Tony pointed out that I had painted them the other way round...well...once I take it out from the shelf in the future I will correct this mistake. 


 A really tough kit which took several months to complete but that, without Tony's patience and help, would have been a much different representation of the pride of the CAF.

My tribute to the Snowbirds and especially to Tony and Steve. Thanks guys!

I sent a nice picture of the kit to Tony, who signed it and Steve came home one day (of all of Canada this unique pilot who is the only one to have commanded the Snowbirds twice and a CF-18 Squadron lives in London, Ontario like I do!) and did the same. So now the picture of my Snowbird is signed by pilot and ground crew along with a nice postcard of the entire team in the years the guys were in charge of this plane!



 Tony and Steve

Royal Canadian Air Force website (http://www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca/en/aircraft-current/ct-114.page)

Pablo Calcaterra

April 2015

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