by: Sven Harjacek [ ]
BackgroundThe successful French Fouga CM.170 Magister lightweight jet trainer found its origins in a powered glider design of all-metal construction called the C.M.8.15 which sported a butterfly style tail empennage and was designed by P.Mauboussin and J.Szydlowski. This turbojet-powered glider flew for the first time in 1949 and during development of this design a number of test machines emerged including a unique twin-fuselage aircraft designated as the Gemeaux. The final stage of development if the C.M.8.15 glider led to the CM.170 Magister which was designed to meet Armee de l’Air specification and like the powered gliders which preceded it also sported a distinctive butterfly-type empennage.
Source: Kit instructions
The KitOne of the most recent releases by Special Hobby is this Fouga CM-170 Magister , this kit is a welcome addition to the pretty weak line up of 1/72 Magisters as it is far superior than the other available options. This boxing portrays the Magister in service of various exotic air forces. This multi-media kit over a 100 pieces molded in grey plastic, 17 pieces molded in clear plastic and 5 pieces cast in resin. Some of the plastic parts are not to be used as this kit shares moulds with another one of their recent releases, the Zephyr.
Sprue A contains one half of the fuselage, the nose area of the fuselage, the wheel bays, and some other minor details, Sprue B contains the other half of the fuselage, the tail wings, the cockpit tub and major part of the wheels. Sprue C consists mostly of the wings and some other smaller details, as does sprue D too. Sprue F is the clear plastic sprue and it features the canopy. The remaining 5 resin parts are various antennas for two of the painting options.
The plastic parts are moulded wonderfully for a short run kit or as they call it a limited edition. All smaller parts are flash free and the details are quite crisp, something rarely seen even in a modern day short run edition. The clear parts are also flash free and are quite thin so they look very realistic. The resin parts are also nicely cast but the attachment points seem to be too weak as one of the parts already fell of in transportation.
The instruction manual is a nice 12 page booklet printed in color. It features a nice summary of the Magister on the front page. Pages 3 through 6 are the assembly instructions, while pages 6 to 10 include very nice color renderings of the painting schemes with short summaries of the aircraft each represents. The last two pages feature advertisements for other items offered by Special Hobby and MPM production. The colour information is provided only for Gunze colours.
There are four painting schemes provided on the decal sheet, A Ugandan one featuring a two tone brown/blue grey camo with a light grey bottom, a Algerian one featuring a two tone sand/brown camo with a light blue bottom, a Lebanese one in two tone mid grey/dark green camo and a Moroccan one in a three tone sand/brown/green camo with a grey bottom. The decal sheet itself measures at 15x13 cm and features very nicely done decals printed by Cartograph. The decals are in register and the colours are very lively and clear.
This kit is quite nice overall but has some areas that could have been done better in my opinion. Starting the the instrument panels, the decals are not that realistic and applying them to the plastic parts of the instrument panels could prove to be quite challenging. I also feel as if the wheels and seats have been oversimplified in favor of the resin sets offered separately. I think the detail of these two parts is not on par with the rest of the kit.
I would really like to praise in this kit is the panel lines, something usually over exaggerated on 1/72 kits, this model features very nice and crisp panel lines that are just deep enough to be subtly visible after all the coats of paint and varnish.
I must say that this kit is quite a positive surprise in my eyes, all of the short run kits I have previously owned have had some major issues or just couldn't compete with the regular non limited-edition kits.
I would highly recommend this kit to those with some previous experience in building.
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