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1/72nd Pegasus Miles Master MkI and RS Models Miles Magister MkI

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My 1940 interest bubble started to grow when I realised that I wanted to model examples of as many operational aircraft from all sides that flew during the year. That would have to include trainers, communications, transport and so on. Trainers could often be seen lurking about on operational airfields, too, where they would be used to brush up on flying skills, or ferry pilots about.


Miles M.9 Master MkI










The principal advanced trainer for the RAF at the start of World War Two was the Miles Master. Many years ago I built the Frog MkIII, the one with the Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior radial engine. I've now got the Eastern Express repop of the Frog model, which I might get round to extracting from its shell of flash when I feel masochistic enough! The Pegasus very limited run kit for the MkI came my way from an online store up in the Midlands. It is a proper cottage industry injection moulded model, which needed a lot of work to get anywhere near looking adequate. I believe there is a better kit out there somewhere, so one day this poor thing will become an instructional airframe right at the back of the cabinet! The provided decals were hopeless, essentially falling apart at the sight of water, so I cobbled together markings from various sheets in stock. It was painted with Xtracrylics, and I didn't do a very clever job with the trainer yellow - then again, it's one of those colours that is very hard to get right.


Miles M.14 Magister MkI










Many pilots got their first taste of flying in the classic Tiger Moth trainers. The Magister was intended to introduce trainees to monoplane characteristics. It is recorded that something like 40 Fighter Command squadrons had a Magister on strength! Like the Master, I built the Frog kit many years ago. Indeed, I still have it, albeit in pieces in a box somewhere. It's unlikely ever to be reconstructed, however, since RS Models produced a state-of-the-art kit a while ago. The kit I bought was the so-called "Maggie Bomber", where several Magisters (and Tiger Moths) were experimentally fitted with racks to carry eight 25lb bombs. These were intended to be used in the event of a German invasion in 1940. Thankfully, they were never called upon to carry out such an obviously suicidal mission, but I suppose that was the thinking at the time. I decided not to attempt to fold up the PE bomb racks. They were so spindly I felt they wouldn't survive first contact on being cut from the fret. So, my Maggie is a squadron hack, with the spatted undercarriage and the blind flying hood on the rear cockpit. 


Other training types ought to make it into my collection. The thing is, where do you stop? I'm okay with Airspeed Oxfords, but what about Couriers, Envoys, Queen Wasps, Cambridges? I plan on acquiring a new tool Airfix Tiger Moth soon, but there were other De Havilland types as well. If I am not careful my training and support flight will outnumber the offensive and defensive flights in my collection!

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A terrific pair of trainers.  I think the Master looks great despite its cottage industry origins.  It's easy to forget these types in the context of that calamitous, momentous year but they were, of course, vital to the survival of the RAF and, by extension, the UK as a whole.  I've been toying with the idea of building a fleet of RAF trainers from this period.  Seeing your collection has definitely inspired me to get on with it!


P.S.  Great photography too. 

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