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"Paul's Pet Bird"

Airfix's 1/72 Fouga CM170 Magister

By Caz Dalton


I met Captain Paul Grieshaber at a Hobbyland USA contest in Roanoke, Virginia in April 1995. He approached me and stated that he had just met the person he wanted to build a model of his personal airplane. Captain Grieshaber flies for USAir as a profession, but owns a Fouga Magister as his personal pet airplane and flies out of Livermore, California with three other compadres, who also own Fougas, in airshows mainly in the western states. The planes are painted like those that were flown by Patrouille de France from 1964 through 1978. This was the first aircraft I have built on commission and I hope not the last. Along with this documentation, I also present some photos of the actual aircraft, including some in-flight pictures. My thanks to Paul for the opportunity to build this remarkable little jet.


With exception of cutting out the wingtip tank navigation lights, baffling the jets exhaust area, and scratch building two exhaust nozzles from aluminum tubing, this model was built out-of-the-box. I sanded the surface rivets smooth as they were entirely out of scale, but the kit went together like a charm and the fit was exceptional for an Airfix kit. Although I had a copy of Heller's Magister, I chose the Airfix because of its utter simplicity and the fact that it could be built in the gear-up mode without any reengineering. I wish all kit manufacturers would include the option of building gear up models without having to alter them. The only fault to the simple interior is that the seats are molded into the cockpit tub and are entirely incorrect, but once painted and the pilot figure and seat belts were attached, this was not readily noticed. I drilled out the periscope lenses and added two rear-view mirrors from True Details.


The interior was painted Polly Scale Flat Black, with the seats painted Model Masters Leather. The pilot figure was primed in medium gray and hand painted using various acrylics to match photos of Paul in his flight suit. I constructed a radio mike for the helmet from small gauge copper wire. Seat belts were made from masking tape with the buckles being cut from True Details photo-etched belts. The belts were painted sky blue to match the real items. The fit of this kit was so good that I was able to paint the fuselage, wings, and butterfly tailpieces as subassemblies. This aids greatly in masking the tri-color paint scheme. After attaching the canopy and painting the frame flat black, all subassemblies were primed in flat white. I then sprayed all pieces with Gunze Primary Gloss White. I allowed the white to dry for two days and then masked all areas to remained white and also all areas to be painted blue and applied a coat of Gunze Primary Gloss Red to all unmasked areas. I removed all masking after an hour, but allowed the red to dry for two days before masking all areas not to be painted blue. I then painted all subassemblies Gunze Primary Gloss Blue and again removed the masking after the paint had dried for an hour. Decals came from the Heller kit and the Airfix kit, but I cut the entire fuselage and tip tank stripes from white decal film. The call letters under the butterfly tails are from a MicroScale HO scale Railroad sheet. After the decals had dried, all subassemblies were given a coat of Min-Wax Polycrylic. The fuselage landing light and wing tip tank navigation lights were done with Kristal Kleer.

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Air Intelligence
1999 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/32 Scale Guide $18.00
1/48 Scale Guide $25.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color
Reference Guide $15.00

Please add $3.20 Postage in the US.

TacAir Publications

PO Box 90933
Albuquerque NM

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