Kit : Miles Magister
Manufacturer : Novo (ex Frog)
Scale : 1/72
Type : injection moulded
Paint : Humbrol
Accessories : Scratch
: Instrument decals from Reheat Models RH08
: Belgian decals from Jack Peeters Modelbouw (old decals)
References : 4+ Publication Miles Magister
The Miles Magister was for the English the same type of aircraft as was the Klemm Kl 35 for the Germans: a flight instruction aircraft for beginner pilots.
It was a light two-seater in tandem form used for flight instruction and blind flying lessons. The rear open cockpit could be closed with the aid of a canvas hood.
When, in 1940, the remains of the Belgian air force got enlisted in the RAF, our boys received aircraft of British origin. Those aircraft would at the end of the war move with them to Belgium and make the backbone of the new Belgian Air Force.
Only one Miles Magister made the transfer and so only one was ever registered in the ranks of the Belgian Air Force, registration G-1. This aircraft was later demobilised and sold and flew under civil registration until it ended its career on the dump of the former airfield of Gent-St.-Denis.
It was recuperated and made the transfer to the Brussels Air Museum where it got restored and where it can be admired in the typical training colours of the RAF.
The Novo kit was a re-release of the old Frog kit, even the layout is identical.
Both aircraft are packed in the so typical bags that are way gone now. The first one still has it box-art, the other only consists of a drawing of the aircraft on a bright yellow background. I can remember buying one of them, together with a Percival Proctor in the same type of package, at a stand at an air show for little money. Nobody wanted that type of aircraft or its type of package.
Despite the fact that this aircraft is a classic, you could hardly find any info about this aircraft until the arrival of the Internet. Two years ago, 4+ Publications released a wonderful reference book with enough pictures and drawing to be able to build the aircraft yourself. A visit to the Brussels Air Museum provided me with some “live” pictures.
The blind flying hood is moulded integrally in an open position with both body halves of the aircraft.
I opted for this hood in that position on the aircraft I would build in English colours. A picture of the second aircraft, the G-1, shows this aircraft without the hood. It seems it only was used as a liaison craft. This part was removed and sanded.
The blind flying hood and the colour schemes are the only differences between both aircraft, they will be build simultaneously.
Body and interior:
The interior is Spartan and only
consists of two seats. Detailing is necessary and the following changes were
- Cutting out and refining of both entry hatches on the right side of the (Belgian) aircraft and
detailing of the inner walls and hatches.
- Construction of bulkheads behind the engine compartment and behind both seats. Those
behind the seats must be drilled just above the seat top to allow the seat belts to be passed
- Construction of a floor, refining of both seats and construction of seatbelts.
- Construction of two small dashboards complete with instrument dials from Reheat Models
- Construction of pedals, control stick and a compass.
The interior is painted Interior Green,
seatbelts in leather, instruments black.
This work is the most time and effort consuming; the rest can be called a being rather simple.
Once everything in place, both halves are put together, glued and sanded.
The blind flying hood on the British version receives some inscriptions to give it some depth.
Wings and tail planes:
Wings and tail planes come in upper and
lower parts with separate flaps.
Two cable holes must be drilled out in the tail part below the tail plane. They will receive direction cables later on.
The wing flaps need to be sanded smooth, they had no detail on. Elevating rudders may hang down a bit while parked.
The tail rudder is too big and the opening between the movable and fixed parts was reworked with a piece of Evergreen.
This only consists of a leg and a wheel. The leg needs cleaning-up. The oleo leg is represented as a small plastic triangle and needs to be replaced by a piece of left over PE. Hydraulic tubing is made from fine metal wire.
The wheels are of poor quality, one of them not even completely filled with plastic. It needs filling and sanding.
A propeller and a radiator front represent the engine. This radiator front is a trifle too big and needs adjusting. I replaced the prop shaft holder from the kit by a longer one made from Evergreen tube. That way, I can spray paint the aircraft without its prop fixed and it can be mounted in a decent but movable way.
This is also rather simple and consists of adding windscreens, a pitot tube and a horn (RAF version). The exhaust is drilled out.
This aircraft is painted in the typical RAF training colours being yellow undersides and a dark earth / dark green camouflage on top. Blind flying hood in Clear Doped Linen.
This aircraft has an overall silver
finish without difference in colour because mainly painted on canvas.
Wheels in German Panzer Grey.
A coat of Klir (Future) protects the paint after which gloss varnish is added on the parts that will receive decals.
Exhaust in a black/rust mixture.
Propeller: black with yellow tips.
Pitot tube: silver
Light wash with black paint to accentuate the deep lying parts.
The kit only provides the English decals. The aircraft is in partly civil and military registrations. Unfortunately, these decals exploded on first contact with water and were unusable. I had to find new ones in the spares box but couldn’t replace the civil registrations. I had to stick with British cockades without registration numbers.
Belgian decals are found in an old Jack Peeters modelbouw decal set. The markings G-1 are rub-on letters. Watch out: if you want to represent an aircraft with Belgian cockades dating before 1947 than the red band must be wider than the other ones. The equal wide bands appeared from 1947 on.
Decals are sealed with a coat of matt varnish for the RAF version, Klir (Future) for the Belgian version.
If you do not look at the effort of constructing some interior detail, you can turn this Magister in a little gem. It is one of those aircraft that indirectly helped win the war by teaching people to fly or by performing liaison duties.
It is also a type you do not often see at meetings or shows. Many modellers regard this aircraft as not interesting enough or look up at the effort of building a, rather simple, interior.
It is indeed a simple kit but it offers many possibilities to the purists amongst us to make some interesting sub-types with little work involved. As far as I am concerned, they may release more types like that.
Keep ‘m building.