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Airfix Fouga Magister

n by Mark Davies


The Fouga CM-170 Magister was the aircraft which pioneered the idea of primary jet trainer. Created to meet the Armée de l'Air specification, the Magister sprang from the previous work of designer Pierre Mauboussin, who was known for fitting small turbojet engines to light aircraft and gliders. Maboussin succeeded brilliantly in creating the aircraft which still ranks as one of the most delightfully-handling jet aircraft ever built, with straightforward flight characteristics and twin-engine safety, adorned with that wonderfully odd butterfly tail which so well reflects the spirit of the 1950s.

The prototype built by the Air Fouga company made its first flight in July 1952. Its performance impressed the French Air Force so much that it immediately ordered 10 pre-production models, quickly followed by over 400 production aircraft. During the production run, Air Fouga was acquired by Potez, then by Sud-Aviation, leading to The Magister was also built under license in several other nations, including Germany (by Messerschmitt), Finland (by Valmet), and Israel. In addition, many nations purchased Magisters for trainer and light-attack duties. Total production exceeded 900 machines.

The model is my Airfix 1/72 Fouga Magister. I remembered building this kit as a kid in the early 70’s, and recalled that it was one of Airfix’s better ones. I spied the kit amongst a good mate’s collection (Colin Whithouse) who now builds mainly British subjects of the 50’s and 60’s in 1:48 scale. It took some persuading to get Colin to swap it as he had been carting it around the world for 25 years.

Given this fact, and having pried it from him, I felt I had better build it rather than add to my 750+ unbuilt babies. The kit is still nice build, and all I did was add scratch-built seat belts, lights on the tip tanks, and replacement undercarriage doors and nose handles. I chose the scheme using kit decals as it was the same one applied to a Magister warbird based nearby to my home in Auckland, New Zealand. Very sadly this plane crashed recently with the loss of two crew during a flight just prior to an air show.

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