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1:48 Fouga CM.170 Magister


James H
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1:48 Fouga CM.170 Magister

Avante Garde Models
Catalogue # 88004
Available from HobbyEasy for $298HKD (around £25)

 

 

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There are a few subjects that I always hope will eventually be tackled in 1:32. Until that happens, I’m quite happy to see 1:48 incarnations. One such subject is the gorgeous Fouga Magister. When I was a kid, I built the 1:72 Heller kit, which I seem to remember was beautifully detailed. Mind you, that’s a view probably being seen through rose-tinted glasses now! Recently, Kinetic stepped up to the plate and released a dual 1:48 Magister kit, which by all accounts, is actually a great kit. Surely, if you want to release your own 1:48 Magister, you need to approach things a little differently then? Well, that is exactly what Avante Garde (AMK) have done with this; their fourth release.

 

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This kit is packaged into a fairly small but weighty box, which is adorned with CAD renders of the kit in various schemes that are supplied. Lifting that lid though, you will see where this is a little different from the Kinetic release. The main area within the box contains four re-sealable clear sleeves, akin to those that Great Wall Hobby use. Within these, there are FIVE medium grey styrene sprues, and a transparent sprue. That’s right, not all sprues are packaged separately, but in this case, no harm appears to be done due to them being properly packed. The clear sprue is a clone of the grey one that contains the fuselage halves, amongst a variety of other parts. The reason for this will become apparent.

 

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An area of this box is sectioned off with a cardboard insert. Sitting within this is a small plastic box which is around the same size as an iPhone. A graphic on the lid shows the parts contained within. This package actually holds a number of metal parts that look like either zinc, or an alloy. I’m sure they aren’t the softer white metal. We’ll look at this soon too.

 

Underneath the cardboard, the clear canopy sprue is to be found, along with a single photo-etch fret. Pull everything from the box, and a beautifully illustrated instruction manual included, as is a comprehensive, and reasonably large decal sheet.

 

Rationale:
I first need to explain what I believe is AMK’s premise with this kit. The actual breakdown and design can be finished in a number of ways. You can choose to leave out any internals, and make the model as you normally would, i.e. in paint/decals. This would seem s shame though, and waste a lot of the kit’s engineering. You could also build it painted, and choose to have sections of the fuselage left bare, so you can glimpse what is within. Of course, you may also choose to build the model in the same way as the old Revell Phantom Mustang, but there is also one other option. The engineering breakdown of this kit allows for panels to be removed as they would on the real aircraft. This is idea for those that want to build either a diorama, or simply to choose whatever section they want to be seen within.

This kit is no slouch in the part number department either, with it comprising 285 parts. For a model of this size, that’s a pretty sizable number. So what is on offer in this kit?

 

For a start, apart from the option to use clear parts for the fuselage, you can also opt to use either the plastic or metal parts too. One of these is more the main wing spar. I’m pretty sure the plastic one would suffice, but there’s no doubt that the metal alternative is very attractive.

 

Within the fuselage, just about every area is represented, from a beautiful cockpit, through to the primary and secondary fuel tank bays, oil tank bay, electronics and pressure equipment bays, and of course, two nicely detailed engines. AMK have even provided an impressively detailed interior to the nose cone area too. To match this level of detail, the internal fuselage halves have the circumferential former detail moulded in situ. Now, let’s take a closer look.

 

SPRUE A

 

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This sprue, as mentioned, comes in both grey and clear styrene. It can be a little trickier when working with clear parts, due to their gluing properties and brittleness, but nevertheless, the option for a fully clear fuselage is available. There is actually a very bare minimum of intentional frosting on the parts, giving them more of a high quality appearance. Despite that frosting, you should still clearly see all the internals.

 

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Other parts on this sprue include the jet engine nacelle covers, intake ducts, turtledeck, canopy coaming, lower fuselage access panel, cockpit tub, instrument panels, and a multipart nose cone, with an option for faired gun ports.

 

The fuselage parts are superbly rendered, and again remind me a little of GWH releases in their finesse. Panel lines are subtle, and the model is also provided without rivets…well almost. A number of rivets at the nail section are provided as raised detail. This also goes for a few other parts too, and we’ll look at these soon. An integral tailwheel is moulded to one half of the fuselage, and of course, the engine nacelle fairings are separate so that you can display the engines.

 

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AMK have made a very reasonable job of the cockpit tub and instrument panels too, with some beautifully reproduced detail, and plenty of it. Instruments are supplied blind, allowing you easily add instrument decals. Unfortunately, the kit contains none, so you will need to perhaps source some from Airscale.

 

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There are a few ejector pin marks within the fuselage, but nothing major. Strangely enough, the pin marks on the cockpit tub are on the upper side, and may need a little removal. I can’t understand why these were on the lower face of this part.

 

 

SPRUE B

 

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This sprue contains the Magister’s flying and control surfaces, with the wings being quite typical of the standard upper and lower surfaces, and with integral ailerons. The latter is quite unusual, as the landing flaps themselves are moulded separately. Still, I never see separate ailerons as being particularly useful. External panel lines do seem a little heavier than those on the fuselage, but nothing for any real concern. These can be reduced a little with an application of Mr Surfacer, and a general rub back of the exterior. Upper wing airbrakes are supplied as PE parts, and if you want to fit any weapon load-out, you will need to drill out the pylon location points from within the lower wing panel. Within the wing, the wheel well detail is actually very good, with a few very minor pin marks that will need eradicating. Side walls are supplied as separate parts. Landing flaps are supplied for both raised and lowered positons.

 

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Whilst the control surfaces are smooth, the actual tail plane parts have that unusual raised riveting. NOTE: The raised rivets are actually correct. AMK have sent me a close up of this area which shows this clearly!

 

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Photo courtesy of AMK

 

 

SPRUE C

 

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A very detailed interior requires a lot of parts, and this sprue starts to supply that requirement. Here, you will find parts for both engines, as well as some of the interior bay areas, and also the plastic wing spar. A small number of other parts here are also supplied with metal alternatives, such as the engine exhaust channels. I actually find the plastic ones to look perfectly good, but it’s always good to have choice.

 

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This sprue also contains TWO wing tip tank options, seen on this sprue.

 

 

SPRUE D (x2)

 

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We have a bit of a mish-mash here on this smaller sprue, with a number of internal parts, such as internal formers, crew seat parts, control stick, and the bracket for the V-tail (also supplied in metal), but mainly concerning external weapons load outs, including bombs, rockets, and multi-rocket pods. A small number of other external parts are moulded here too.

 

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SPRUE E

 

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This sprue is even smaller than ‘D’, but contains many key detail parts for the various internal fuselage chambers, including optional parts for the machine which was fitted with two forward-firing nose guns. A few external panels are moulded here, as are a series which fit along the spine, allowing the modeller to display the internal workings of this beautifully iconic aircraft.

 

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SPRUE F

 

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At last, we have the clear sprue, containing canopy parts. I have to say that these are CRYSTAL clear! Just great to look at. This model is designed so that you can pose the canopies in either an open or closed position. Frame lines are very fine, and you will need to be careful when masking, or aim for the inevitable Eduard mask set (they are already releasing stuff for this kit).

 

Plastic Summary
Looking at this kit, you get the impression these guys have been doing this for years, but remember, this is on early offering from them. Whilst detail is generally excellent, with high quality moulding, there are a few minor, yet annoying pin marks. I feel these could either have been placed on the reverse of a part, or maybe with an ejector pin point attached externally to the part. Still, I can’t quibble too much, as the standard is very high. Flash and seams are pretty much non-existent.

 

METAL PARTS

 

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AMK have obviously spent a lot of time and effort on this aspect of the kit, and it absolutely shows. A variety of key parts within this kit have been reproduced in this sturdy metal alloy, and inserted within a moulded try which fits them exactly. A clear plastic lid sits atop this and a parts key card is included. Be careful prising the lid open or you may end up with all the contents on the floor.

 

This set contains TWENTY-EIGHT high quality cast parts, including machine guns, central spar, nose weapons bay elements, tail brackets, undercarriage legs etc. To add a bonus, two cast nose weights are also included, so no guesswork when building this one. I have to presume that the weights account for the addition of various metal parts across the airframe.

 

 

PHOTO ETCH

 

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A single fret is included, which contains those multipart airbrakes, seatbelts and a number of small internal and external details. This is presented in a small sleeve and backed with cardboard. Production quality is very good.

 

 

Decals

 

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There are FIVE schemes available with this kit, and the subjects chosen really do show the Magister off to best effect, from the Tricolour of the French machine to the camouflage of the German, and the flame red of the Belgian aircraft. A single decal sheet contains not only the national and specific machine markings, as well as stencilling, but also various coloured panels and stripes.

 

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I can’t tell where these are produced, but they appear to be of high quality. They are reasonably thin, contain minimal carrier film and are in perfect register. You’ll have your work cut out applying all these! The schemes are:

 

  • Flugzeugfuhrerschule, Luftwaffe
  • MT24, Belgian Air Force
  • MT35, ‘The Last of the Many’, Belgian Air Force
  • Patrouille de France
  • MT48 Belgian Air Force

 

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Instructions
These are printed over a 24 page manual, with all constructional stages being presented as line drawings, and all parts options being clearly defined. The style and presentation of these means that you should have no difficulty in understanding them. In the front of the manual, colour profiles are supplied, as well as a paint chart which supplies FS and RAL codes. Paint references are supplied throughout construction.

The rear part of the manual contains the load-out and colour scheme profiles, with decal placement being clearly supplied. A parts map is also included.

 

Conclusion
Seriously, what an AWESOME release. I love the Magister, and this kit is a detailer’s dream; in an entirely different zone to the wonderful Kinetic kit. Apart from some sloppy, yet minor ejector pin marks, there really isn’t anything to quibble at here. Everything seems to have been reproduced with finesse and the shapes look accurate to my book on the subject, by Radu Brinzan. In fact, that’s a great guide to use if you wish to build this kit. The inclusion of metal parts is also another big bonus. However, if you want the real deal-clincher here, this kit can be bought for around £25 from Hobbyeasy. Now, you really have no excuse to ignore this gorgeous release! I wish they’d scale it up to 1:32.

 

VERY highly recommended

 

My sincere thanks to AMK for supplying this kit for review. To purchase directly, click THIS link.

 

James H
 

 

 

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