SPECIAL HOBBY


1 /48 Miles M14A Magister


by David Harvey


Introduction

In my continuing search for something different to model I had started to look at the Miles Magister M14A in RAAF colours. A single Magister was taken on by the RAAF for comparison with the Tiger Moth and the CAC Wacket. It arrived in Australia on 18 Feb 1938. This sole representative of its type served with No.1 Flight Training School at Point Cook from May 1940 and was transferred to the Engineering School in July that year. It was converted to components later that same month.The photo on at the right is the only photo I have ever seen of the Magister in RAAF service and was sourced from the Australian War Memorial.

Previously there had been only the Pegasus kit in 1/48 of the Magister available. During 2005, Special Hobby came to the rescue with their rendition of the aircraft during a flurry of releases.

The kit

The kit comes in the usual Special Hobby box with a ? page instruction book. This release is a multimedia kit containing:

  1. 13 pieces of resin,
  2. A number of injected plastic parts,
  3. two small sheets of PE (one coloured, one plain),
  4. one set of vacform covers for the cockpits, and
  5. two clear windscreens.

The resin parts replace a number of the parts also supplied in plastic eg the wheels and the cockpit floor.

1. Plain PE
2. Pre coloured PE
3. Plastic sprue 1
4. Plastic sprue 2
5. Resin parts
6. Remaining parts


The interior

I started off the interior by painting all the required parts in British Interior Green (Humbrol 78). After it dried I gave it a wash of very diluted matt black which, when dried, then recieved drybrushed highlights of lightened Interior green. I use matt white to lighten the green as I feel it looks better than using yellow to lighten it.

Once all was dried I started to build this little bird. The fueslage halves were commenced by inserting the PE. This PE is very fine and diificult to handle, I also had difficulty in trying to work out where each piece went as the instructions were not THAT specific nor were there any locating markers. Image 8 shows where the ejection pin holes are, these are not of a concern as they are hidden by the rear bulkheads and instrument panels. I eventualy put the PE in position then realised that no-one would even see it as it would be hidden in the depths of the two small cockpits behind everything else.

There are a number of areas in this cockpit that need good fitting to avoid problems, they are the cockpit floor and the bulkheads. Before any work is commenced on these parts I fitted them the fueslage and shaved off litle bits of resin all around. The lack of any real position markers slowed this process dow considerably. Even though I did test fit, I know I didn't do a good enough job as it came back to haunt me later.

The cockpit in this aircraft is very simple but the small pieces of PE were the biggest time consumer of all. The rudder pedals each consist of the pedal bar and two tiny little pieces of prepainted PE that have to be fitted to them after bending into the correct shape. I ended up using a small screw driver to get them to that rounded shape. Once the super glue had set the complete assembly was glued into position on the floor and the rest of the cockpit assembly could start.

The prepainted PE for the instrument panels looks very good in this scale and has great detail, much better than I can paint. These parts also require correct placement as there are no markers to indicate where they are located. I ended up having my rear panel on a slight angle that is noticable if you look. The seat belt is also supplied in the pre painted PE and when bent to shape and draped in a realistic position also looks great. Special Hobby also supply two resin compasses which have to be fitted in next to the instrument panel.

Once all inside was together I put it into position on the fueslage half and didn't pick up the bad fitting between the rear cockpit bulkhead and the fueslage (how I don't know). Once all was set I stuck the fueslage halves together.

7. The resin floor
8. The ejection post marks
9. completed interior
10. Prepainted PE seat belts and rudder straps

Exterior

The exterior was as much fun to put together as the interior. Due to the aircraft being in NMF you realy have to get rid of all lines, scratches etc as they show up realy well under NMF paint.I chose to join the fueslage together then add the engine cowling rather fit the cowling half to the relevant fueslage half then join them. The fueslage joint was a poor fit and required a fair amount of filler and filing as can be seen in images 12 and 14. Luckily there was very little detail to be lost on the upper and lower join line so that was easily fixed. The engine cowling also required some fitting and filling as can be seen in images 12 and 13.

The wings are another of the poor fitting items in this kit. Each pair of wing halves need to be fitted and can use some thinning on the trailing edge as they are quite thick. The wing/fueslage joint is the next drama as there are only lines on the fueslage for locating the wings. Once you have cleaned up the wings and joined them together, the thickness of the wing halves and the poor fitment of each needs work. As can bee seen in images 11 and 14 the wing/fueslage joint needs a fair amount of help. The angle and alignment of the wings was no problems as the joint is sturdy and aligns well.

Moving on, the tail assembly was then attached with no dramas. The RAAF used the smaller of the rudder assemblies provided so the resin rudder goes to the spares box. The wheels are next and here is where the choice of aircraft affects the parts used. Special Hobby provides sufficient parts to do resin or plastic wheels and the undercarriage with or without spats. I went for the spats with resin wheels as this was correct for the RAAF version. These went together easily, but this time there was locating lugs of sorts to place the spats in the correct spot.

After all of the main parts were assembled there was only the small parts to go. There are a number of PE parts that require to be placed underneath the fueslageand wing as well as some horn (?) looking devices. I left the tail wheel off until after painting. Some of these PE items were tricky due to their small size and could be left off till after painting, especialy those under the wings themselves. Once all of these were on I moved onto the paint job.

11. Port wing root
12. Underneath
13. Nose
14. Starboard wing root

Painting

The model was given an undercoat of Humbrol primer followed by two thin coats of Humbrol 27002 for the fueslage and Hu 27001 for the engine cowling and wheel spats. I ran into a problem with masking the fueslage / cowling join as the tape I used ripped some of the silver paint off. I ended up stripping the whole aircraft back again with oven cleaner and starting it all over. I was given a tip which helped me solve this problem, I was told to seal the paint with varnish and then do the nose. I did this and after the varnish dried thoroughly I masked and painted the cowling, it worked perfectly. In retrospect I should have used a different paint for the cowling as it looks totally wrong compared to the picture I have seen of the original aircraft. After all the paints had dried I applied another coat of 'One Go'to seal it all and get a good surface for the decals.

During the stripping of the paint after the first botched paint job I managed to crack the lower seam on the fueslage. I tried to fix it but after a few tries I gave it up as a bad joke with the logic that no-one will ever see it when looking. The seam is in photo 18.

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Decals

I used the kit decals as layed out on the instructions (image 17). The decals are very thin and stick well to the model after a coat of 'One Go' is applied. The only problem I had was the black walkway decal decided to fold together and not come apart. This was easily solved as I simply painted the walkway with Humbrol matt black.

The options for the decals in photo 17 are:

  • Miles M.14 Magister Hawk trainer III, G-AFBS/A1 of No 8 EFTS RAF, Woodley, Berkshire in 1941. It was originaly the civil aircraft of P&PAL flying school. Dark Green / Gark Earth and Yellow scheme.
  • Miles M.14 Magister Mk 1 'early', L8052, 11 RFS, RAF, probably 1938 - 1939. Trainer Yellow / Glossy Aluminium scheme.
  • Miles M.14A Magister Mk 1, No 130, Irish Air Corps, Baldonell 1946. Black fueslage with Alumunium dope wings.
  • Miles M.14A Magister Mk 1, c/n 547, No 1 Flight Training School, Point Cook 1938 - 40. Aluminium dope fueslage and wings with Glossy Aluminium spats and cowling.
17.

Completion

After the top coat of varnish dried I then applied all of the remaining PE, resin and plastic that was too delicate to originaly put on. The majority of it went on well but I had some dramas with the small PE that goes on the wings toward the outer wing underneath. This PE is very small and hard to place as well as glue. My lack of experience came into play with these bits as I stuffed them and managed to lose one of them, and of course there are no spares supplied with the kit. Photo 19 shows one of the fine pieces of PE that are attached to the wing, these look quite good.

In summary this kit is a bit of a frustrating kit in that not all of the parts fit and it requires heaps of fitting, filing and filling. I would recommend that you have some experience under your belt with limited run kits before you tackle this kit.

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This kit was supplied by my wallet for review and is available from NKR.

 

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