CA-31. The RAAF’s trainer that never was.



Years ago  I chanced upon this article in the September 1967 issue of “Aircraft” on the CA-31 Supersonic trainer.

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I looked at this diminutive aircraft and was immediately struck with the same intrigue mixed with sorrow I feel when I thumb through “Project Cancelled”, the wonderful book by Derek Woods (ISBN 1 85488 026 8—put it on your Christmas list NOW) on the British Government’s ineptitude towards aircraft research and production form the 40’s to the 60’s.
It becomes apparent when one reads literature on the subject of aircraft research, development and production in this country that up to the 70’s we had a world class industry that became stifled by government hampering and the general pandering to foreign influences. (Some would point out that the rot set in decades earlier !)
This aircraft represents an asset that would have provided sub to supersonic training capability for conversion to the Mirage from Vampires and the like. The relationship with the Delta shaped Mirage becomes obvious when you look at the general arrangement—it’s almost a 2/3 scale model of a Mirage ! This aircraft could also have been a minor ground support craft fulfilling a similar role that the Aermacchi MB326 eventually took on.

This project like so many others was scrapped in favour of either a foreign design or, in this case, nothing at all.


I decided to model this aircraft initially in 1/72 with subsequent examples built in other scales and what you see displayed here is my attempts to capture the basic feel of the design.


Let’s have a look at the kit from basic parts to finished product.  Assembly can be gleaned from the series of photos, but the kit does come with a comprehensive instruction leaflet – available HERE for free !

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Assembly is very simple with this kit but there will be need for filler and patience.

Now the paint goes on and the sanding begins.

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et voila.  I chose an ARDU scheme for one , built about a decade ago and a more recent example as as a “Fanta can” Roulettes as inspired by some excellent artwork found here.

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More information on the real aircraft and its mockup can be found at this museum site and this blog

and occasionally they pop up on eBay..

and then I decided to scale it up a bit…   to my favourite scale..   1/32.


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That was about a year ago and the production run has come and gone.

If you want to see the instruction leaflet it’s HERE

**UPDATE 13Dec16 **

Here’s another 1/32 version – the CA31N

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**UPDATE 21JUN17++   CA31 scores second place in Imagineering category at ModelExpo 2017.

Photo by Mic Bradshaw lifted from here 

I might make more 1/32 versions in the future but for now I need to concentrate on the 1/48 version that’s already on the way.

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..and here’s the 1/1 scale model currently residing in Moorabbin.

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