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Plastic modelling

From time to time, I build a static display model from plastic or resin kits. My preferred scale is 1/72 for military aircraft and 1/144 for airliners. Unfortunately, like so many other modellers, I tend to buy more kits than I can build, so now I have a collection of 700+ kits... I'm a member of the scalemates community, so you can find me there

I have approximately 150 finished models in my display cabinets. They can all be found on the same scalemates website.


Fouga plastic scale models

The full size Fouga Magister was designed over 60 years ago and in all that time (up to recently), it could not really inspire plastic scale kit manufacturers.

Heller, a company from France, was interested in the Fouga and made two versions in the sixties, one in 1/40 scale and one in 1/100 scale (Cadet).


Heller 1/40 scale

Heller 1/100 (Cadet)


Also in the sixties, Solido made one in 1/65 scale and Eko one in 1/150 scale.

Halfway through the seventies, both Heller and Airfix released their version in 1/72 scale. In the nineties, two 1/48 versions appeared, one from Koster (vac formed and resin) and one from Fonderie Miniature. None of these models were accurate. Some were really poor...


Heller 1/72

Airfix 1/72 original boxing


It may appear strange that in all those years, no serious effort was done to produce an accurate plastic scale model kit, but there's a good reason for that: no accurate scale line drawings were available. All the line drawings published were of really poor quality...

That is until I published my scale line drawings on this website back in 2011. I didn't make any publicity around these drawings, because they had served mainly to materialize my 1/4.5 scale flying model and to produce the necessary documentation for the competitions. The accuracy of my drawings was appreciated by many viewers. First there was Radu Brinzan who used my line drawings as a basis while adding some details for publication in the book written by Joe Maxwell: Fouga Magister - An Irish Perspective

Following the publication of that book, a much wider public became aware of the existence of my scale line drawings and this created a snowball effect. Suddenly, plastic kit manufacturers saw a window of opportunity and the Fouga craze started...

Later on, I finalised my scale line drawings for publication in the book Fouga Magister by Tine Soetaert and in the book CM 170R Magister in German Services by Gerhard Lang.

Kinetic / Wingman Models

Kinetic was the first to release a highly accurate 1/48 scale model based on my drawings, quickly followed by Wingman Models (reboxing of Kinetic with additional scale detail parts in two versions). The development section of both companies made use of my line drawings to create the model kit and to make the decal placement drawings. My compliments to the people at Wingman Models!


Wingman models 1/48 Israeli version

Wingman models 1/48 German version

Avantgarde Model Kits

This was soon followed by another highly accurate 1/48 scale model based on my drawings by Avantgarde Model Kits (AMK). I also supplied the decal artwork for the MT-35 and MT-48 versions from their kit.

The model is extremely well detailed. My compliments to the people at AMK!


Avantgarde Model Kits 1/48 kit

Avantgarde Model Kits 1/48 decals


Valom released a 1/72 version in 2014. I can't find evidence they used any of my data.


Valom 1/72 Belgian Air Force

Valom 1/72 Austrian Air Force


In 2014, Airfix reboxed their old version. It received a new box top, a new decal sheet and very detailed decal placement diagrams. Definitely an improvement although the plastic inside is still the same as in the seventies...

Airfix 1/72 scale reboxing in 2014

Some things are curious about this reboxing. As mentioned, the plastic is still from the same moulds as the old one with the associated accuracy issues. The assembly instructions use the same poor drawings from the old kit. The decals on the other hand are a vast improvement. But the biggest surprise is the painting guide and the decal placement sheet. As opposed to the totally inadequate drawings from the old kit, you now receive very detailed and accurate line drawings of the full size aircraft (not the model inside unfortunately). Strange that Airfix suddenly goes through all this effort just for a reboxing. Or was this effort not so big and did Airfix find a less tedious way to make a large return on investment? Could it be their art supplier chose an easy route and derived his work from existing drawings? Anyway, it is a fact that their drawings bear an astonishing resemblance to my drawings, including the errors!

When I looked at the Airfix drawings, I recognised my own drawings (as published in Joe Maxwell's book) instantaneously, so I contacted the people at Airfix to ask them if these drawings had been a "source of inspiration" for their art supplier, giving them all the evidence shown below and even more. They replied they were going to investigate... After many update requests from my side, they finally denied any copyright infringement. This was after holding me on a string for 7 months during which time they led me to believe they were indeed investigating the matter by some independent draughtsman (as I had asked). Perhaps they just wanted to avoid an embarrassing confrontation with their regular art supplier, taking the bet I wouldn't take any legal action... For me it's all about giving credit to the author and no so much about seeking financial compensation. In fact, I had offered Airfix the opportunity to settle this matter between gentleman rather than in court. They simply refused...

Actually, I think I would have a good chance of winning if I were to sue them, so if anyone can give me good advice in this matter, that would be most welcome!

Anyway, you can imagine I didn't appreciate the reply I got from Airfix. I feel that injustice was done to me, so I chose to give the opportunity for other people to have a look and judge for themselves by repeating the evidence sent to Airfix on this page.

First, there is the illustration below. The top drawing is the original Airfix drawing, as published on their website, left untouched. The middle drawing is my original drawing in red lines and the bottom is the two drawings superimposed. Have you ever seen such a good match? Any very slight mismatch is probably due to the hastily executed retracing by the Airfix art supplier or due to the fact that the comparison drawing shows my original scale drawings  (Belgian Air Force version) instead of the scale drawings from the book of Joe Maxwell (IAC version, based on my drawings) which were probably used as a "source of inspiration".

click on drawing to open a PDF file showing more detail

Take a good look at the clear canopy area where no drawing ever succeeded in capturing the subtle combination of curves and straight sections. Isn't it an extraordinary coincidence that it matches my drawings while it doesn't match the kit clear canopy or any other published drawing at all? I used my own measured data for the clear canopy area, as well as for the engine nacelles, the panel lines, the landing gear, the ventral strake, the details etc. These are my personal interpretation and I know that they are not 100% correct (no drawing is ever 100% correct), but all this is copied on the drawing above and also on the decal placement drawings inside the box, including the errors (more details further on). Why on earth would the art supplier go through the time and trouble of getting that area right when there is absolutely no need for a correct clear canopy representation in a colour scheme or in a decal placement drawing? 

It's even more striking to discover that the Airfix drawing does indeed match mine, but it doesn't match the kit parts! Look at the photograph below of the Airfix Fouga drawing and the actual plastic fuselage half from the box.

Airfix Fouga kit fuselage (click on photo to enlarge)

The shape of the kit fuselage doesn't match the drawing, the shape of the engine nacelles doesn't match, the ventral fin doesn't match, the panel lines don't match, the antennae don't match and the footsteps don't. There are rivet lines on the kit fuselage which don't show at all on the drawing, etc...

Also striking is the fact that the Airfix drawing does not match any other drawing published worldwide... 

And we see all this again on the decal placement drawings inside the Airfix box. Again, why does the shape on the Airfix drawings match my drawings almost perfectly but seriously mismatches the kit? Same question for the position of panel lines and details? There are plenty of panel lines and details which are shown on the decal placement drawings but are not visible on the kit parts or mismatch these, while they match my original scale drawings almost perfectly. What could be the reason for that other than they were copied? I have counted over 130 (one hundred thirty) of these, see drawing of the Airfix IAC decal placement sheet below with those details shown in blue.

click on drawing to open a PDF file showing more detail

If even the errors I made on my drawings (and the ones from the additions for the Joe Maxwell book) are copied, how can one not suspect the Airfix artwork supplier to have used my drawings as a base? There are a handful of these errors and they are all there, "faithfully" copiedů Further below is the side view of the Belgian Air Force version (as published on the Airfix website) with all these errors pointed out in blue.

Isn't it also strange that the art supplier is perfectly capable of painstakingly producing an excellent and detailed rendition of the outlines and panel lines, but fails grossly when it comes to reproducing the typical Belgian Air Force version features on that same side view? Again, see the side view below with the inaccuracies pointed out in red. Isn't it again an extraordinary coincidence? I would rather think it proves my case that the drawings from the Joe Maxwell book were used, showing the Irish version of the Fouga...

click on drawing to open a PDF file showing more detail

Why would an artwork supplier retain the old and rather primitive assembly drawings (including a major error), but go through the trouble of providing extremely detailed decal placement drawings which do not match the kit? Could the reason be that it was just an easy task to derive the work from my drawings, offering Airfix the chance of an inexpensive but flashy upgrade to an otherwise outdated kit?

Do you also have the feeling that there are just too many coincidences in this story and that injustice was done to me? Is it obvious what happened here or am I unreasonably suspicious? Thanks for letting me know your opinion ;-)



Philip Avonds Scale Jets

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