Fouga CM 170
by Mark Davies
Fouga CM 170 Magister
Heller's 1/72 scale Fouga Magister is available from
Squadron.com for less than
Fougaís little Magister was a very successful jet trainer despite its
unorthodox butterfly tail, being used in both the trainer and light
strike roles by numerous air arms.
The Magister has always appealed to me as a modelling subject, and I
built the Airfix example some years ago. It proved to be a quite well
executed little kit, mainly requiring some refinement with its thick
undercarriage doors. I recently acquired the Heller kit which is a
completely different tooling despite Heller and Airfix being co-owned by
Humbrol until recently.
In my opinion the Heller kit has a slight edge, although thereís not
a lot in it. Both have fine raised surface detail, reasonable interiors
and are generally delicate in their execution. The Heller kit however
has much finer and better detailed undercarriage, and offers a choice of
tip tanks. I suspect both may be a little inaccurate around the engine
cooling vents on each side of the rear fuselage.
There are subtle differences in outline between the two, particularly
the windscreen; but I have no idea which is the more accurate overall.
Frankly I donít care that much as they both look like Magisters, and can
even sit adjacent to each other in the display cabinet without real
problems of obvious difference.
Both kits build about the same with no real problems and generally good
fit. As with my Airfix model, I chose to add seat belts, throttles,
oxygen tubes and prominent red canopy release toggles (at least thatís
what I think they are) to the cockpit.
As with the Airfix kit, the thick canopy distorts viewing these
efforts, and really only seat-belts are warranted.
Having finished my Airfix kit in the stereotypical scheme of the
Patroulle de France, I felt my Heller kit should offer a contrast. A
very good French email friend of mine, Marc Chiabaud, came to the rescue
by mailing me his Max Decals sheet of Magister schemes to New Zealand.
The sheet offered all manner of choices for aircraft from a dozen or so
nations. I chose the Irish Air Corps option as I have always liked the
scheme, and the opportunity to add a less common air arm to my modelling
cabinet. The decals proved to be excellent, and settled well onto the
Xtracolour Gris Aluminium which provided the main colour.
I can recommend either the Airfix or Heller Magister kits, but would
choose the Heller if confronted with a choice.
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24 December, 2007
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