Author Topic: An Aussie Scooper: Canadair CL-215 in 1/72  (Read 1165 times)

Offline KiwiZac

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An Aussie Scooper: Canadair CL-215 in 1/72
« on: November 27, 2019, 02:12:38 PM »
Heller 1/72 Canadair CL-215 - NSCA “What If?” paint scheme by Zac Yates, on Flickr

Published 24 March 1989*
For some years Australian authorities had been using helicopters and some light aircraft to fight fires but, unlike the United States and Canada, had never used large propeller-driven aeroplanes to combat major conflagrations. But in the 1980s this would change thanks to the vision and energy of the man behind the modern rebirth of the National Safety Council of Australia as he engineered the purchase and introduction of the Canadair CL-215 flying boat.

Heller 1/72 Canadair CL-215 - NSCA “What If?” paint scheme by Zac Yates, on Flickr

John Friedrich, charismatic Executive Director of the NSCA, signed a contract for two aircraft with the Canadian firm. Canadair had produced and exported CL-215s around the world to government agencies engaged in forest protection and large-scale firefighting, both in North America and throughout Europe. The new NSCA aircraft would be posted to the Victorian Division at their Moorabbin base in Melbourne but would be made available for operations anywhere around Australia.

Heller 1/72 Canadair CL-215 - NSCA “What If?” paint scheme by Zac Yates, on Flickr

The purchase was announced by Friedrich on 7 September 1986 and delivery was anticipated early the following year. The two machines (registered VH-NSE and VH-NSF) were painted in the distinctive NSCA scheme of overall yellow with black cheatlines and test-flown at Canadair’s Montreal base in February 1987, performing without problems. Fitted with ferry tanks in the fuselage the two aircraft were ferried across the Pacific together and made a triumphant arrival to Moorabbin on 6 April.

Heller 1/72 Canadair CL-215 - NSCA “What If?” paint scheme by Zac Yates, on Flickr

Over the following weeks NSCA crews trained and familiarised themselves with the type, and in time the Conservation Forests & Lands logos were applied to the aircraft tails. Since then the pair have been at work around the nation during bushfire season and have been a vital, valued and publicly visible part of the NSCA.

Heller 1/72 Canadair CL-215 - NSCA “What If?” paint scheme by Zac Yates, on Flickr

*Following the financial collapse of NSCA and the arrest and subsequent suspected suicide of John Friedrich in 1991 the aircraft fleet was sold off, both CL-215s returning to Canada after being purchased by Buffalo Airways in the Northwest Territories.

***
When my Dad was recovering from a broken back before I was born my Mum collected up to issue 60 of the weekly magazine Airplane, which I inherited as I grew up. The magazine was broken up into four sections, each covering civil and military aircraft and operators/missions as well as an A-Z of aircraft. The first, civil section of one issue covered a flying boat that young Zac had never heard of before, specifically made for waterbombing. I loved the look of it and then craved a model, even though I had no idea what colours this hypothetical build would end up in. (About eight years ago I thought about an RNZAF aircraft but, really, the demand for such an aircraft doesn’t exist here – we use far more helicopters than fixed-wing for firefighting - and even with my imagination I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea.)

Fast forward about 20+ (Jeeeeezus!) years from first reading about the 215 I had an idea. I discovered the story of John Friedrich and the NSCA and was taken with the concept of the organisation, the simple colour scheme and the fact that bushfires are such a danger in Australia that they have to lease in aircraft from the USA to help. What if the NSCA had bought CL-215s?! Jackpot!

This is the Heller kit, which was later retooled into the turbine-powered and modified CL-415 (fairly recently reissued by Italeri). I built it OOB without any filler and it all went together very well – based on Scalemates this was the first boxing which may explain how it fell together. That big tail and surprisingly small area in the nose meant a problem in the form of getting enough noseweight. I crammed in as much metal as I could find (and that would fit) and had the balance perfect, only to realise AFTER CA-ing the lower nose in place that the horizontal stabilisers weren’t fitted. I contemplated tearing into the nose to see what else I could put in but I think I would’ve ended up with more damage than I could handle fixing. Thank goodness that Heller included the access ladders – perfect tailstand!

The decals are from my spares box. The cheatlines are a big part of the NSCA look and I was going to paint the larger ones but I ran out of black paint a little while ago and can’t afford more, so I decided to use decals. They were invasion stripes and decal sheet borders from Airfix kits (port side) and a Heller P-51D sheet (starboard). I did the port side first, cobbling together several decals and struggling to keep them straight. Then discovered the Heller sheet which had two very large black rectangles that just needed to be cut into one each thick and thin strips. Sigh. Ah well, I’m happy with how both sides turned out!

So there we have it – childhood Zac’s dream of a model Canadair CL-215 is realised, and it has a downunder link to a fascinating story that’s worth reading into. Hopefully some of our Aussie members remember this (presumably very exciting) era of their aviation history and get a kick out of this build.

Heller 1/72 Canadair CL-215 - NSCA “What If?” paint scheme by Zac Yates, on Flickr
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

"Who said Kiwis can't fly...though this one can organise for a kit of the Fletcher FU24 to be produced!"

Offline kitnut617

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Re: An Aussie Scooper: Canadair CL-215 in 1/72
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2019, 12:25:01 AM »
That turned out very sharp Zac   :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Offline LemonJello

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Re: An Aussie Scooper: Canadair CL-215 in 1/72
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2019, 04:08:51 AM »
Very nice!

Online finsrin

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Re: An Aussie Scooper: Canadair CL-215 in 1/72
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2019, 04:46:24 AM »
Crisp clean and purposeful in a scooper sort of way.  A sweetie  :smiley:

Offline The Big Gimper

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Re: An Aussie Scooper: Canadair CL-215 in 1/72
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2019, 05:20:10 AM »
Noice!!!!
Work in progress ::

I am giving up listing them. They all end up on the shelf of procrastination anyways.

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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: An Aussie Scooper: Canadair CL-215 in 1/72
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2019, 05:32:52 AM »
Nice one, Zac-o-matic!

Brian da Basher

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Re: An Aussie Scooper: Canadair CL-215 in 1/72
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2019, 02:51:30 AM »
 :smiley:
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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Offline ericr

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Re: An Aussie Scooper: Canadair CL-215 in 1/72
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2019, 03:22:35 AM »
 :smiley:

Online Robomog

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Re: An Aussie Scooper: Canadair CL-215 in 1/72
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2019, 07:33:33 AM »
Always loved the CL-215, you've made an excellent job on this kit.

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Offline apophenia

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Re: An Aussie Scooper: Canadair CL-215 in 1/72
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2019, 09:52:20 AM »
Great build and an excellent concept 'zac  :)

Thanks too for the links for the National Safety Council of Australia and John Friedrich bio. Like all frauders, its hard to believe in hindsight that nobody spotted Friedrich for what he was ... but it makes for a great backstory  ;D
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Offline KiwiZac

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Re: An Aussie Scooper: Canadair CL-215 in 1/72
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2019, 12:24:58 PM »
Thank you folks! It was an enjoyable build and I’m very pleased with how it turned out, except for the noseweight issue.

Thanks too for the links for the National Safety Council of Australia and John Friedrich bio. Like all frauders, its hard to believe in hindsight that nobody spotted Friedrich for what he was ... but it makes for a great backstory  ;D
The whole saga is deserving of a movie or miniseries, it’s all quite amazing. The NSCA became such a force for good (apparently people nicknamed them International Rescue and Thunderbirds)...and yet it was based on lies. Just fascinating.
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

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Offline elmayerle

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Re: An Aussie Scooper: Canadair CL-215 in 1/72
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2019, 12:53:27 PM »
I'm late, but my compliments on a beautiful build.  That's a simply gorgeous model.

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: An Aussie Scooper: Canadair CL-215 in 1/72
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2019, 07:32:49 PM »
Thank you Evan, you’re very kind. Not bad for some Humbrol enamel and a brush!  :-[
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

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Offline ChernayaAkula

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Re: An Aussie Scooper: Canadair CL-215 in 1/72
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2019, 01:06:16 PM »
Lovely model!  :smiley: What did you use for the day-glo areas? They came out great. Once trashed a 1/72 F-104G because the day-glo colour somehow melted the tip tanks.  :o

<...>
Heller 1/72 Canadair CL-215 - NSCA “What If?” paint scheme by Zac Yates, on Flickr

Airplane!  ;D Awesome! Talk about a blast from the past.
The German version of Airplane was called Aircraft. Looks like the articles in this issue (#38) seem to deal with the same subjects regardless of language.
Loved those magazines. Still do. The 4-page-foldout of the JASDF F-4EJ in this issue was always one of my favourites.


Aircraft-38 by Motschke, on Flickr
Cheers,
Moritz

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Offline kitnut617

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Re: An Aussie Scooper: Canadair CL-215 in 1/72
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2019, 10:41:33 PM »
I've got one each of the CL-214 and 415 in the stash, IIRC, the day-glo are decals.

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: An Aussie Scooper: Canadair CL-215 in 1/72
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2019, 01:08:55 PM »
Moritz, it's fascinating to see the exact same magazine - down to the font! - in another language!

For the day-glo I used Humbrol #209, brushed over the #24 main paint. I'm unsure how many coats I used but it created a happy accident of the slightest impression of fading.
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

"Who said Kiwis can't fly...though this one can organise for a kit of the Fletcher FU24 to be produced!"