In-Box Review
Fouga CM.170 Magister
Fouga CM.170 Magister - the AMK way
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by: Drabslab [ DRABSLAB ]

AMK: Avantgarde Model Kits
Releasing a kit, any kit, under such branding is a bold statement. It raises the clients’ expectations of what is inside the box to high levels. That box, with expensive looking box-art and posh colours, further increases hopes for finding an exclusive, high quality kit.

All that is very nice as long as the plastic inside lives up to that promise. I wonder if I will be able to avoid bias opening that box and not act like a fundamentalist rivet counter by giving this kit a much harder evaluation than usual.

I will in any case not be able to avoid to compare this kit to the Kinetic offering that I reviewed for Aeroscale a few months ago.

The box
The box promises a single unassembled model kit in 1/48 scale with 285 plastic parts, PE Fret, extra metal parts and a translucent fuselage. The box art is very nice, and reveals as well that this kit has been made in China.

It also points to the www.amkhobby.com website where I find a ton of professional pictures of the kit, and a built example made by a renown modeller. Unfortunately, there is very little text, some of it in English, and some of it in Spanish (I think).

While it is very nice to see what miracles a professional modeller can do to a kit (any kit) it does not tell me much about the quality of the Fouga kit itself. I have seen stunning results of the same person on kits that are complete dogs.

The plastic parts
The plastic looks exquisitely moulded with very fine detail. Strangely enough for a new mould, there is some flash left and right, and there are a remarkable number of very visible ejection pin marks. It appears that those marks are very carefully placed where they will become invisible on the finalised model. Checking this be a constant matter for attention when constructing the kit.

Studying the plastic shows that the manufacturer really intended to make an exceptional kit. One can make a standard “closed model” but that would be an enormous pity and a terrible waste of fine plastic.
The kit is designed to build it with as many fuselage plating removed and as many hatches open as one can find on the real thing. Much of the internal fuselage content is also available ranging from gas and oil tanks to electronic bays.

I assembled some of these goodies to see if it all fits and yes, the fit is perfect but pay attention to those pesky ejection pin marks.

This whole kit is just begging for a maintenance diorama.
There are even two fairly detailed engines present. With the engine covers removed this will be a marvellous sight. Unfortunately, (unless I am turning blind) AMK has not added the heat shields that protect the oil and gas tanks in the fuselage from the engine heat. As no maintainer would install an engine without first placing those heat shields, it becomes a bit odd to make those engines visible in the model.

There is no transport stand foreseen in the kit so it is not possible (unless when scratch building it) to portray the engine outside the plane.

Even with all hatches and fuselage parts removed, it will be difficult to view all these nice internal works. That is why the fuselage sprue is also available in transparent plastic. The only negative on those transparent parts is that they also show the same pin marks as the grey plastic parts, and this time it will be very hard, if not impossible, to hide them.

For me personally this transparent plastic does not add too much value. Planes are not transparent! However, I anticipate many sleepless nights for modellers with advanced modellers syndrome trying to decide which fuselage part they will leave transparent, and which one in “normal” painted plastic.

Those plastic parts that are supposed to be transparent, also on the real plane, are of high quality.

The metal
The kit contains a fret with some PE parts like seat belts and air brakes.
It also contains a fancy plastic box with metal parts. The front wheel frame, the machine guns, the landing gear …
If I would not have been convinced of this kits quality, now I am …

Strangely enough, the metal parts are also available in grey plastic as if adding those metal parts was a last minute decision after the moulds were already made.

The decals
Decals are included for a German Flugzeugschule A, a French Patrouille de France, a Belgian “The last of the many”, and a Belgian “Red Devils” model.

The instruction sheet
A 21-page glossy magazine…
Giving a perfect overview of the various building steps and options. The only thing missing is an indication of when to use the long wing tip fuel tank, and when to use the short one.

For such high end kit, I would have expected more information on colours of individual parts.

The Kinetic …
Well, it’s a very different kit. I evaluated it last year as being an excellent kit with the huge bonus that it is offering two complete kits for the price of one. Today, I find the Kinetic for 42 euro in Belgian shops, the AMK is costing around 50 euro. This means that the Kinetic is certainly still in business.
In fact, both kits are catering for different markets. The Kinetic is somewhat simpler and straightforward, the AMK aims at the modeller who wants to make a special maintenance diorama, or a special “see through” model.

… and the AMK

It easily succeeds being an avant-garde model but is missing some elements to be truly perfect.
*A transport stand for the engine
*An option to build the engine without the exhaust tubes
*The heat shields

This is a promising kit that yet again raises the standard for model manufacturers. It also demands for outstanding modelling skills, very good documentation, and the determination to do the kit justice. AMS addicts can combine it with the Kinetic kit for some very special diorama’s, and scenes.
AMK does not hide its ambition to make the highest standard kits around. I sincerely hope they continue on this path. Aiming high however is also opening the door for some (unjustified?) criticism.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: High quality and detail for the diorama builder
Lows: Pricey and demanding kit
Verdict: A MUST have for anyone prepared to take up the glove.
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: 88004
  PUBLISHED: Nov 21, 2015

About Drabslab (drabslab)

I made my first airplane models when I was about 11, a Mistubishi Zero, a Messerschmidt BF 109 and of course, a Spitfire. They were all Airfix and all 1/72. Sounds familiar? I remember I could not even pronounce Mitsubishi, I used to call it Mutsibutsi. I continued building mostly airplanes until...

Copyright ©2021 text by Drabslab [ DRABSLAB ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


A small update on the progress: The secondary tank, right behind the cockpit. In contradiction to the instructions, the plate confronting the cockpit must be black, not white. As this part will be invisible in my configuration of the kit, I experimented with some heavy weathering, I don't like the effect. and there is one tiny part with some flash Just behind the cockpit there is a avionics compartment. The equipment here has changed over time. I have it most certainly wrong for the particular plane I want to build Ejection marks are everywhere, in some cases very nasty. in a normal model where there is always an invisible back side on each part, this would not matter but here, when wanting to build it all open it is an issue: Now I continue with constructing the other inside tanks, and then its time to close this little boy
JAN 11, 2016 - 02:30 AM
Some progress: The main tank: with ejection pin mark removal Inside framing The fit is really perfect and building is easy, something I did not expect putting together the very delicate parts. Nevertheless, it takes an unusual amount of work before reaching that "main" moment when I can close the fuselage but it is fun.
JAN 12, 2016 - 01:25 AM
The nose of many Fouga has two impressive looking large antenna, unfortunately the model I am building does not have this, hence the openings foreseen to position those antenna must be removed: the original: with some Tamiya putty and elbow grease: In the meantime I also airbrushed the inside of the fuselage, and added some red to the outside in a difficult to reach place once the fuselage has been put together.
JAN 13, 2016 - 12:46 AM
Great so far sir. Keep going. How are you finding the fit and details now?
JAN 16, 2016 - 10:08 PM
Fit is just perfect and the detail is exquisite. Your modelling and design department have done an outstanding job. Also the mould manufacturing is just magnificent. I think you need to have a talk with manufacturing shop tough and find a way to reduce those ejection marks
JAN 17, 2016 - 05:10 AM
Hiya, We did and we have reduced them even further on the MiG-31. In producing plastic kits you will never reduce them all but we engineered the kit to put them in places not normally seen, mostly. Sometimes this cannot be helped.
JAN 18, 2016 - 01:04 AM
I know, but like most plastoholics I hate ejection marks, they are just ... "not cool". By the way, I very happily add that the kit is very well designed and very accurate. I think you put a lot of time in ... and have had the help of a specialist in all Fouga matters (from a small EU country perhaps?) And ok, writing a build review with nothing but "perfect fit" and "magnificent detail" remarks would be a bit boring too, isn't it.
JAN 18, 2016 - 02:21 AM
and then, all things fall in their right place: fuselage closed, a main event with any aircraft model:
JAN 18, 2016 - 02:27 AM
Almost ready for the paint shop: and then, two seconds after the previous picture was taken, my office lamp collapses, slams on the table missing the model by a few millimetre. It turns out that the metal part that is holding the LED lights and magnifying glass has broken: pfew, all that hard work almost turned to rubble.
JAN 18, 2016 - 10:48 PM

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