CT-4A Airtrainer by Tasman Models

1/72 scale
Kit No. None
Cost: $10.00
Decals: One version – Royal Australian Air Force
Comments: Short run kit; engraved panel lines; white metal parts for seats, landing gear, and airscrew; vacuform canopy

History

A rare treat: Tasman Models provides color swatches matched with an actual Australian military trainer to assist modelers with painting accuracy.

The CT-4 Airtrainer is a single-engine, two-seat aerobatic and military flight trainer developed in Australia and New Zealand in the early 1970’s. In May 1972, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Air Staff issued Requirement 67, establishing the specifications for a new basic trainer to replace the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-25 Winjeel, the standard trainer in service at that time.

Aero Engine Services Ltd. (AESL) of Hamilton, New Zealand, responded with a development of the Aircruiser, a light sport aircraft powered by a 210 hp Continental and developed in the late 1950’s by Victa, an Australian aviation firm. Victa was subsequently acquired by AESL. Design work for the new aircraft had actually begun in Australia in the late 1960’s and continued in New Zealand once AESL acquired the rights to the Aircruiser.

As a limited run “garage” kit, the CT-4A is crude in many respects, but it does feature engraved panel lines, a refinement that helps in detailing any kit in the latter stages of construction.

 

White metal seats, landing gear, and choice of propellers are provided. The weight of the propellers in particular will prevent the completed kit from resting on its tail.

The prototype of the new aircraft, known as the CT-4, flew on February 23, 1972. The CT-4 was selected by the RAAF over the Scottish Aviation Bulldog, and the order for 37 aircraft at a cost of $3.2 million was announced on July 24, 1972. The Royal Thai Air Force, which had been awaiting the Australian choice, then ordered 24 CT-4s, which were delivered before the RAAF batch.

The CT-4 was designed by modifying the predecessor Victa Airtourer and Aircruiser aircraft. Design modifications included overhauling the fuselage, incorporating a larger engine, wings and the bubble canopy. It was designed for pilot training and aerobatic manoeuvres even in the worst weather conditions. It features a fixed tricycle landing gear, electronic flight instrumentation system, rudder, ailerons, lighting panel, global positioning system, fuel injection system and nose wheel steering.

The CT-4 is operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and BAE Flight Training Australia. Production of the CT-4 ended in 1982 but resumed in 1990 after AESL was acquired by the Pacific Aerospace Corporation (PAC), in part for the production of an advanced CT-4E aircraft intended to win a contract from the United States Air Force (USAF). However, PAC was unsuccessful in securing the contract, and production of CT-4E was terminated in May 1992, resuming once again 1996.

The CT-4’s on-again off-again production runs can be attributed to the fortunes of its successive parent companies. Just as Victa gave way to AESL, in 1973 NZ Aerospace Industries (NZAI) was formed by the merger of AESL and Air Parts (NZ) Ltd. In 1982 Pacific Aerospace Corporation (PAC) was formed when NZAI went into receivership. The final production run of the CT-4A was for the RNZAF, and with the last of this batch, serialled NZ1948, deliveries stood at 96 aircraft.

The RAAF and Royal Australian Navy began to phase out the CT-4 in December 1992, and this marked a change in policy for RAAF basic pilot training. Civilian contractors now conduct RAAF and Royal Australian Navy flight training.

A total of 153 CT-4s were operational worldwide as of January 2005.

The Kit

Tasman’s CT-4A Airtrainer comes in a white box adorned with cover art in the form of a black and white photo of the actual aircraft. The only splash of color is provided by the Tasman Models logo with its trademark red kiwi bird image. This is a short run kit, injection molded in grey and consisting of 12 plastic parts attached to a sprue by connectors that are thicker than they need to be. Also included are 9 white metal parts for the cockpit seats, landing gear, and a choice of two two-bladed propellers, one featuring a spinner. There are also a pair of vacuform canopies, and decals for either a Royal Australian Air Force or a Royal Australian Navy aircraft.

Tasman’s CT-4A Airtrainer comes in a white box adorned with cover art in the form of a black and white photo of the actual aircraft. The only splash of color is provided by the Tasman Models logo with its trademark red kiwi bird image. This is a short run kit, injection molded in grey and consisting of 12 plastic parts attached to a sprue by connectors that are thicker than they need to be. Also included are 9 white metal parts for the cockpit seats, landing gear, and a choice of two two-bladed propellers, one featuring a spinner. There are also a pair of vacuform canopies, and decals for either a Royal Australian Air Force or a Royal Australian Navy aircraft.

The instruction sheet provides precious little guidance on construction, but features ample photographs of the actual aircraft. Sour with the sweet…

Conclusion

A crude but interesting short run kit of an Aussie-New Zealander training aircraft. It may require a bit of extra work to get it into shape, but it is sure to satisfy your appetite for something a little different.

References

~ www.airforce-technology.com
~ RAAF Museum online: https://www.airforce.gov.au/raafmuseum/museum/visits.htm

 

 

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