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 REVIEW: Hobby Master HL2021 RCAF Canadair C-54GM North Star, No.426 "Thunderbird" Squadron

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Join date : 2017-02-18
Location : Vancouver

PostSubject: REVIEW: Hobby Master HL2021 RCAF Canadair C-54GM North Star, No.426 "Thunderbird" Squadron   Mon Mar 20 2017, 17:07

Hobby Master 1/200 Airliner Series
RCAF Canadair C-54GM North Star
#17515, No. 426 "Thunderbird" Squadron, RCAF Stations Dorval, Quebec and Trenton, Ontario.
Late 1950s

October 2013 Release

Production Limited 400

Above:  Aircraft 17518 with 412 (VIP) Squadron.

The Canadair North Star was a 1940s Canadian development of the Douglas C-54 / DC-4 aircraft. Instead of radial piston engines found on the Douglas design, Canadair employed Rolls-Royce Merlin engines in order to achieve a 35 mph faster cruising speed.

The prototype flew on 15 July 1946 and the type was selected by various airlines as well as by the RCAF. It was the key component of the RCAF’s Air Transport Command, providing vital airlift for Canada’s contribution to the Korean War by transporting vital supplies to Korea across the North Pacific (OPERATION HAWK). RCAF North Star crews flew 599 round trips and delivered seven million pounds of cargo and 13,000 personnel. They flew 1.9 million miles without a fatal crash and out-hauled the USAF C-54s on the Korean run. RCAF North Stars were regularly seen all over the World supporting Canada’s contribution to NATO and the UNITED NATIONS until the aircraft was completely retired in 1965.

Below: North Star 17515 on U.N. Duty (photo likely taken in 1958 in the Sinai after the Suez Crisis).

Below: 17515 at McChord AFB during the Korean Airlift.

Below: The route over the North Pacific flown by RCAF North Stars during the Korean War (Operation Hawk).

Below: North Star Canadian Domestic Operations route map.

Below: North Star North Atlantic Operations route map.

The latest offering from Hobby Master is a replica of the last remaining North Star aircraft #17515. This aircraft is currently under restoration (after years of being displayed outdoors) and has been located at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa since 1965.

I contacted the Museum organization dedicated to restoring 17515 which goes by the name "Project North Star". I let them know that this model was being made and that it would be an opportunity to raise funds and awareness for their project. They in turn contacted Hobby Master and as a result their logo is printed on the display stand.

Since my father was a Navigator on RCAF North Stars during the late 1950s - I was determined that the markings for this model would be accurate and reflect 17515 as she appeared in her glory years of service in the late 1950s. As a result the “Lightning Stripe" cheat line is placed higher up compared to the markings she wore when retired from the RCAF directly to the Museum in 1965. Another difference from the Museum example is the presence of the Red Ensign and United Nations Flags on the tail. The RCAF titles along the fuselage are printed on an aluminum background rather than a white background which is associated with the later scheme. The RCAF was unique in that they modified their North Stars with APS-42 Radar in 1956 which is represented on the model as well.

One concern I had was that none of the photos of 17515 from that period clearly showed the placement of the RCAF roundel on the rear fuselage. Some North Stars had it placed right next to the Cargo door while other's had it placed further aft. I asked famed Canadian Aviation Author Larry Milberry if he had any photos that would help and he was able to confirm with a photo that the roundel was indeed placed further aft (Photo Below).

The model itself is top notch. Propliners have always been capably represented by Hobby Master. The model may be displayed gear up or gear down and the previously mentioned display stand is included. All the parts fit together well and the paint quality is second to none.

As far as the markings are concerned, the research progressed and the details were determined and added.

The Pre Production model had a few omissions - however these were pointed out and corrected on the final product.

Suffice to say that this will likely be the most accurate mass produced model of a RCAF North Star ever made. If you collect Canadian themed aircraft, then this model is simply a must have.


Below: The future meets the past. In company with Inflight200's CAF B707 (CC-137) of the same scale. The North Star appears relatively large because it is closer to the camera.

Thought I would add another 1/200 comparison photo.

RCAF Strategic Transport today vs the 1950s.

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REVIEW: Hobby Master HL2021 RCAF Canadair C-54GM North Star, No.426 "Thunderbird" Squadron
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