by: Drabslab [ ]
IntroductionThree planes determined my childhood, the F-104G Starfighter, the Mirage V, and ... the Fouga Magister. That little thing couldn't compete with either of the other two, not in speed and not in firepower. Still, it looked like "the real thing" to me, bright red, extremely agile and the first fighter jet of which I could sit in the cockpit, being it only on the safe tarmac. It is also the first plane that I could recognise thanks to its distinctive V-shape tail.
Made by the French company Fouga, and based on an earlier design for gliders, the Fouga Magister was mainly a trainer that introduced several generations of pilots (between 1952 and /- 1975) to the world of jet engines.
The selection of the Dassault/DornierAlpha Jet by the French Air Force ended its training carreer but some remained airworthy in the Belgian Air Force until 2007.
Besides being a trainer, the plane was excellently suited for demonstration teams like the famous "Patroulle de France" and the Belgian "Red Devils".
It also showed teeth in various conflicts like the six day war when the Israeli used it as close support aircraft, or during the "Congo crisis" where mercenaries flew it on behalf of the Katangese Airforce.
In total, more or less a thousand were build, including a carrier-based design (CM 175). Today, many of these are still flying. Its characteristics, meaning, fairly simple to maintain, fun to fly, and beautiful, unique lines, make it an attractive visitor at many airshows.
The Kinetic model is the first 1/48 scale model of this magister.
The boxThe box is very informative. In fact, one could write most of this review by looking at the box without even opening it. I quite appreciate this "taking the client seriously" gesture.
One extraordinary thing the box tells me is that there are two planes in the box.
This is probably done because the Fouga is a very small plane and Kinetic wants to give sufficient value for money. It does make me a bit suspicious about what I am going to find inside the box. I am half-expecting to find two 5 pieces planes to snap together.
My worries totally disappear when opening the box. I find 6 transparent bags with plastic parts, two more with transparent parts, some extra with photo-etch, a large decal sheet, a colorful page with paint instructions, and a large instruction sheet.
It looks like Santa is coming very early this years.
The plastic partsEach plane takes 3 sprues. The ejection marks are in places that will become invisible after assembly. Surface detail is very good but there is, strangely enough for a brand new tooling, quite a bit of flash on several parts. The fuselage halves are traditional in the sense that they will give that pesky "difficult to hide" seam in the middle of the plane.
There are a surprising number of small parts that should lead to a fairly detailed cockpit, complete front and main wheel units, and a beautiful engine area. In fact, the parts breakdown seems so logical, that I imagine getting a feeling of how the real thing was designed in the late 1940s.
The 15 transparent parts seem perfect but on one of the sprues a tiny part is missing. This is despite the care taken by Kinetic to make also these parts perfect. The sprue even contains four well placed "bumps" to protect the canopy parts from breaking.
Also, there are two canopies presents, one moulded in one piece, and one broken down so that each canopy can be built in the open position. Kinetic includes also two canopy parts in grey plastic; This is because many Magisters were flying with the last part of the canopy painted white. I am not sure however if this was a consequence of the window glass being tinted, or whether the window was actually replaced by a metal part. There is some research to be done here.
The small set of photo-etched parts are mainly to build the wings airbrakes in the open position. Very nice, as this construction is typical for the glider background of this plane.
The many parts ( /-150 for each plane) give you a world of options. Flaps up or down, airbrakes open or not, canopy open or not...
The decalsThe decals are printed by CARTOGRAPH. This should be sufficient reference to their quality. The decal sheet also proudly states that the decals were designed by WINGMAN. I am not familiar with that company or its work, but the decals look in any case nearly perfect.
There are decals, and an accompanying glossy painting guide, for 5 different models:
(France) Patrouille de France VP 585
(France) Armee de L'Air No 529
(Israel) AF, Squadron 147 (six day war)
(Israel) Flight School
(Belgium) Red Devils MT 15
Choosing the model you want to make is made a bit easier as the box contains two of them. However, the planes themselves may not be identical.
The instruction sheetThe 10 pages instruction sheet starts with the typical short history of the plane and its role in aviation history. On the second page there is a nice paint index giving the colors needed according to Valejo, Model air, Mr. color, Italeri, Humbrol and Tamiya. The index also indicates the RAL and Federal Standard color references where possible. Very complete, very welcome, and a very good example for many other manufacturers.
The various construction steps are clearly drawn on the following pages of the sheet and should lead to an easy assembly.
However, the construction drawings give little detail on the color of individual parts.
Similarly, the instruction sheet provides options but does not explain to which version these options apply. As one example, I am fairly sure that the Belgian Red Devils did not have the machine guns installed, but what about the Patrouille de France?
Overall assessmentI am very excited with this Kinetic offering. This is partly because I have fond memories of the real plane.
However, it is a very nice kit (well, actually you get two for the price of one) of an airplane that did kick above its weight. This kit certainly has what it takes to overcome the "trainer plane models don't sell" prejudice.
However, this can't be an OOB build.
Even being quite familiar with the Fouga watching it fly since my childhood, I will need to do a lot of research to make sure that my model(s) does justice to both the real thing and this excellent Kinetic model.
ConclusionWith this model, Kinetic is bringing a very nice model to the market. The box contains almost anything one can desire, although the spoiled modeller would also want to find pre-cut masks, and much better painting and assembly instructions.
I probably need to re-think my rating scale. The quality that a few years ago was still extraordinary seems to become mainstream, and affordable, even for less common models.
This poses a challenge to the modeller who now needs to upgrade his/her research to match the options available in these higher value kits.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.