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Fouga Magister 1:48 Kinetic The Magister is probably Fouga's most well know design even though they had been producing aircraft since 1936. Post war the company was working on sailplanes and the heritage from this can be seen in the Magister design. In 1948 the French Air Force were looking for a jet powered aircraft to replace the then piston engine trainers. Fouga's original design the CM130 was underpowered with two Turbomeca Palas engines. Fouga then re-designed their aircraft to incorporate the more powerful Marbore engines. This became the CM170 Magister. The distinctive V tail, and slender wings bear testament to Fouga's sailplane designs. The prototype Magister flew in 1952 with an order for the first 10 being placed in 1953. The Magister was the worlds purpose designed/built jet powered trainer. It is also worthy to note the Magister made it into carrier aviation. With a few changes to the structure and undercarriage, the addition of an arrestor hook, and sliding canopies the CM175 Zephyr was born. Interestingly carrier trials took place on HMS Bulwark and HMS Eagle. The French aircraft industry in parallel with the UK went through many mergers with the aircraft being known as the Fouga Magister, Potez Magister, Sud Aviation Magister; and finally The Aerospatile Magister. Development of the aircraft continued until the French selected the Alpha Jet to replace the Magister. Overseas sales were made to primarily to Germany, Belgium, Finland, and Israel; the last two countries building them under licence. The basic jet was affordable to operate for smaller Air Forces and other users would include, Algeria, Austria, Bangladesh, Biafra, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, El Salvador, Gabon, Katanga, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda. Many counties including Austria, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, Finland; and Israel would use the aircraft for their National Aerobatic display teams. The Kit This kit was a surprise from Kinetic when it was released, even more surprising was that it comes in a double boxing. Good for those who will build more than one, or if you like to keep costs down you can split the boxing with a friend. The kit arrives as three sprues of grey plastic, one clear sprure and a small photo-etched fret for each aircraft. Construction as with most aircraft starts with the cockpit. The main floor pan is one part to which the rudder pedals, control columns and instrument panels are fitted. A periscope is provided for the rear cockpit. Seats are added and the rear bulkhead is added. At this stage you start to see some problems with the instructions. What appear to be oxygen bottles are shown on the instructions for the cockpit, however there is no instructions as to where they need to be located?? only by looking through the instructions do we find them much later shown as being fitted behind the front seat. The modeller is also given a choice of rear cockpit bulkhead to fit. However there is no indication as to which of the decal options has which part? I guess its up to the modeller to find out from their research. Once the cockpit is complete its onto the front landing gear. The tubular strut arrangement for the front gear is made up and attached to the rear bay bulkhead. The nose sides then wrap around the front gear parts. Holes will need to be opened if using the antenna mounted there (again no indications from the instructions. The machine guns can then be added to the nose, and the top cover placed on. As far as I can tell the only aircraft on the decal sheet which would have been armed is the Israeli on which saw combat. Luckily Kinetic have provided both styles of nose panel, though again this is not mentioned in the instructions. Next the modeller moved to the main fuselage. A credit to the kit is that full length intakes and exhausts are provided. These are a two half affair which you join and then slide into each fuselage half. One outer panel at the front is then attached. Once these are in a few small intakes and antennas are attached to the outside. The cockpit assembly can then be placed inside and the fuselage closed up. The prominent top area behind the rear cockpit is added along with some antennas on the top fuselage. The modeller will again need to consult their references as the instructions don't actually indicate where these parts go! A small tail wheel is added (mainly there to protect the tail from over rotation, not actually for landing on!) Construction moves onto the wing next. These are of a conventional top/bottom split and contain positional control surfaces. The tip tanks are moulded direct tot he end o the wing. There is provision using PE parts for the airbrakes. On a magister these protrude out vertically from the top and bottom of the wing, and its good that the modeller can have them raised or lowered. Provision is made for armed aircraft with underwing pylons, and twin stacked rockets. The main landing gear is added at this point (if needed) and consists of a three part hub/tyre assembly with a main leg and retraction arm. Once the wings have been constructed these are added to the main fuselage along with the distinctive V tail. The tail planes are one part and have PE hinges at the top, these are prominent on the Magister and PE provides a scale thickness for these. Lastly the modeller can choose between a one part canopy, or a five part one with the main canopies in the raised position. It is good in the kit that both these options are provided. Canopies The clear parts are one of the best parts of the kit. A one part clear canopy is provided for those who prefer that type, or a five part canopy is provided if you wan tto open the cockpits up. The parts are very well moulded, clear and free from flaws. Not mentioned (again!) in the instructions is that some aircraft in particular the Belgian ones flew with a covered rear part of the canopy. Rather than just paint over the clear parts Kinetic have provided this part in normal plastic with an appropriate level of detail. Decals Decals are provided for five schemes. The decals are printed by Cartograf and are up to their excellent standards. The colours are very good and the dayglo panels for the French Trainer are very bright. Red Devils - Belgium Aerobatic display team - Overall red aircraft. Patrouille de France - French Aerobatic display team - Overall blue aircraft. Armee de l'Air - French Air Force trainer - NMF. Israeli Air Force - Camouflaged Aircraft as used in the Six Day War 1967. Israeli Air Force - White over Red Trainer Aircraft 1976 Conclusion A thoroughly modern tooling of an important aircraft which was used by many countries. This is great kit from Kinetic let down only by the instructions. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of