Heller 1:72 Fouga
$6.17 (part of a bulk lot in an online auction)
“France was the first country in
the world to build a jet aircraft which allowed economic training, the Fouga CM
170. On account of its technical qualities, the Magister was the first training
aircraft capable of ensuring a pilot’s complete training.” – from the kit
The Magister is a very distinctive
aircraft. It sits close to the ground on short tricycle landing gear, has a long
“glasshouse” canopy and of course the “butterfly” or “V” tail.
Being easy to fly and relatively cheap to
maintain means the Magister has been very popular as a privately owned aircraft,
and one source suggests about 40 are still flying privately worldwide! Here in
we were fortunate to play host to one such aircraft which arrived in 1998,
shortly thereafter being painted into Patrouille de France colours. This
syndicate-owned aircraft, cunningly registered ZK-FGA, was very popular at
airshows around the country. I was fortunate to see her fly at least twice at
different shows, and was very impressed with the attractive machine with the big
performance. Tragically, while practicing for an upcoming show, the aircraft was
lost with both crew in March 2004.
However I remain hopeful that we
will see another Fouga one day reach our shores…maybe when I when the Lotto…
I’ve been after this
kit for years, so when it appeared in an online auction lot I jumped in on the
This is a classic
Heller kit: big thick sprues, fine raised detail, accurate lines and darkish
Considering the size and age of
the kit I’m very surprised at the cockpit detail. Seats, control columns with
detailed boots, two instrument panels with raised (blank) dials but no sidewall
detail or anything on the side consoles. Pavla do make a resin set to replace
everything and give you loads more detail.
No nose weight is
called out, which is just as well as there’s nowhere for it to go. This really
is a thin aircraft when you compare it with the standard WW2 fighters I tend to
build. The nosewheel bay features some ribs on the fuselage halves (as do the
main bays and all the gear doors). An oval bulkhead is supplied to fit in front
of the cockpit and the main bays are boxed in.
Being a trainer
there’s not much “going on” other than antennae, and these are very well
represented. I’m certain I will lose a couple when decaling but I will install
them all regardless. The only options are regarding two types of wingtip tanks,
instructor’s periscope for the West German aircraft, and the nose…handles?...and
smoke pipe for the French options.
The biggest let-down
for this kit is the clear sprue. The parts are very thick, as are the canopy
frames. However, at least the lenses for the nose and wingtips are provided.
There is at least one vacform replacement available for the one-piece canopy.
The decals give two
main options: AA-193 of the West German air arm in 1966 in overall silver, and
the Patrouille de France in 1978. Heller were kind enough to cater for any of
the 11, that’s right eleven, aircraft of the team, complete with crew names.
They also generously provide much of the white areas in the very distinctive
colour scheme (fuselage and tiptanks), but it is (understandably) up to the
builder to paint the white on the wings and “butterfly” stabilisers.
Unfortunately mine have yellowed slightly due to age, but I am contemplating a
hypothetical scheme anyway. Several aftermarket sheets are out there so that you
can pick something a bit more exotic.
I believe this is the only game in
town for a 1:72 Magister (there’s at least one other, an older and simpler
Airfix kit), and it stands up pretty well. OOB it will make a great little
replica, but with the aforementioned Pavla cockpit set and some scribed panels
it will be a showstopper.
Aircraft Accident Report occurrence number
04/940 – NZ Civil Aviation Authority
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