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The Bowman Models Miles Magister
The Bowman Models Miles Magister is a scale model of wooden structure with veneered foam wings. The wingspan is 76 inches and it requires a 15cc 2-stroke or 20cc 4-stroke engine and four or five function radio, depending on whether you wish to fit flaps. The weight should be between 7 and 10lb.

The plans as supplied show the full fuselage and tail structure while the pre-assembled foam wing panels require none. There is an excellent instruction sheet. The quality of the foam wing panels and the glassfibre mouldings is excellent, while the standard of wood is high with accurately cut ply parts. Vinyl self-adhesive markings are provided for a Royal Air Force machine, along with a scale 3-view drawing.

bowman models miles magister flying scale model aircraft


The fuselage is built as a sheet balsa rectangular-section box, with a curved planked top decking. The engine is radially mounted inverted under a glassfibre cowling which has sufficient space inside for an internal exhaust system.
A large pair of glassfibre wing root fillets are supplied which are an excellent fit and require minimal trimming.

The wings are easy to build, requiring the addition of balsa leading and trailing edges, the cutting out and finishing of the ailerons and, if required, the flaps, and the installation of the aileron and flap servos. The wing is built in three panels which are then permanently joined with epoxy resin, the joints being reinforced with glasscloth tape. A small piece of lower fuselage is built up from balsa underneath the centre section. The undercarriage has two torsion bar legs fitted into a massive hardwood block running the full span of the centre section. Optional glassfibre wheel spats are provided.
The lower centre section attaches to the fuselage with leading-edge dowels and nylon wing bolts.

The tailplane is built as a 1/8 inch thick flat balsa strip frame onto which outer ribs are glued then shaped to section, while the elevators and rudder use a similar method, with half-ribs applied over a 1/8 inch balsa sheet core. The small fin is solid balsa.

Doped nylon covering is used on the open-structure tail parts. More modern heat-shrink covering materials may be used instead. The sheeted surfaces of the rest of the model are treated with sanding sealer then tissue covered.

There is more than sufficient space for the radio installation, although this is reduced if you decide to have the cockpits fully open. The rudder is driven by closed-loop cables, the rudder horn being linked directly to the servo, while the elevator has a hard balsa pushrod to the servo. The aileron servos fit in cutouts in the outer wing panels using long extension leads, with the flap servo, if required, fitting in the centre section.

Flying the model

This is a moderately fast and stable model. Provided the centre of gravity is in the right place it is undemanding to fly. Take-off is easy, using some rudder to hold it straight. The climb is brisk. Simple aerobatics are straightforward, with all the basic manoeuvres being possible. The model has a fast and flat glide and would benefit from the addition of flaps to slow down and steepen the approach. Altogether a fine flying model.

Structural assessment

The Magister is a plywood and fabric skinned aeroplane, so the choice of balsa sheet and veneered foam wings with a built-up tail is consistent with the desired surface appearance. The design is well thought out and is not over-engineered in any way. The undercarriage mounting block appears to be bulky and heavy, but experience of similar blocks fitted in foam wings leads me to prefer something substantial to mount the undercarriage, so I have no problem with this. The only area for potential weight saving is in the elevators and rudder, which could be made as open built-up units without the balsa cores.

How scale is it?

Comparing the shape of the model with the provided scale drawing and with photographs of the full-size, the outline appears to be commendably accurate. With careful work and attention to the small details this will make an excellent scale model, not just a lookalike. There is space to do a really good job of the cockpits provided you are careful about siting the radio equipment.

The only thing I have reservations about is the undercarriage. Ideally the piano wire legs should be replaced with telescopic sprung units. This is more important if the glassfibre wheel covers are to be used, as the flexing of the legs is likely to result in early damage to the leg covers and underside of the wing. If the covers are not used, then thickening up the legs with dummy oleos may suffice, but it will look funny taxying on grass with the legs wobbling...

Colour schemes

The Magister enjoyed a long career with the pre war Royal Air Force, through wartime and into civilian use post-war, as well as being operated by air forces of other nations. Thus there are a wide variety of colour schemes to choose from. There are at least three examples still flying and several more available for study in museums. A little research is bound to turn up a good colour scheme.

Detailed photo sets of full-size Magisters are now available in our MartinPhotos section:
Click on a picture for further information

Miles Magister N3788

Miles Magister P6382 Set 1

Miles Magister P6382 Set 2

Miles Magister T9707

Miles Magister T9738

Final verdict

This model is certainly easy to build, but challenging to build well. It will benefit from careful research and application of detail which will give you an excellent scale model of a fine aeroplane.

The Magister is manufactured by and available from Anglia Model Centre.
Other people's comments on the Magister kit:

From Malcolm Blake:

I agree with your undercarriage comments and did in fact drill lengthwise through pieces of 12mm dowel, split them and then epoxied them to the piano wire and they look quite reasonable. I hope to make up some 'fork' type legs later.
I bought my kit from Worcester models in 1990 and it was a shambles. Parts had not been included, those that were had not been cut very accurately and the cowling was totally the wrong size (far too small). I think it was from a totally different kit! I was able to get the correct one from Anglia Models, Gorleston, Norfolk (the current manufacturer and distributor - MPW). All this did not endear me with much enthusiasm to complete the build but today (11 Sep 2000) I have just to affix the decals and coat the Solartex with matt varnish.
Tomorrow she is scheduled for her maiden flight - weather conditions permitting. I was pleased to read your comments on flying it and am beginning to wish I had gone for flaps. I have installed an OS 91 Surpass and her taxi trials seemd to indicate she would have plenty of power for flight. It actually weighs 11lb. I did find it necessary to restrict movement of the tail wheel as she had a strong tendency to ground loop with it fully castoring. Two AH pilots are in the offices complete with the safety harness buckled on.

And the next day...

Today saw my maiden flight - successfully. The aircraft lifted her tail within two feet of movement and became airborne in about twelve feet. Initially I had too much aileron movement and reduced this by 50% after which she flew so much more sedately. Both left and right slow rolls were performed maintaining a straight and level axis and she performed a delightfully graceful stall and spin which enabled me to bring her out after the third turn and dead on the direction. I have to agree with you that she floats on landing and I had to approach from way out keeping her low and closing throttle and trim as she crossed the boundary. I am very pleased with her now.

And another day...

I seem to have improved the landings and the 'floating on' problem simply by remounting the engine with 3 degrees of downthrust !!

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